Reflections On Lent, Day 2

I began today, the second day of Lent, as I usually begin any Thursday morning.  I groaned as the alarm went off next to my right ear, turned that infernal contraption off, put on my glasses so that I could clearly see how dark the room still was and heaved myself out of bed.  Thursdays are work days, and I knew that this Thursday would be a challenging one.

I turned up the heat and closed the window so that the room would be warm by the time my wife arose from bed long after I had begun to labor at my own work.  I prefer to sleep in the cold. I then stumbled down the hallway toward the kitchen, where I would first take several supplements on an empty stomach and then cook my breakfast.  Today it was four strips of bacon and a pile of collard greens and kale; not the conventional diet for a person seven months after having bypass surgery, but one which my blood tests and blood pressure record confirms is working for me.

But here is where the routine changed.  Normally I would catch up on my Facebook communications, especially a group that I’m part of called “Ranting and Raving”.  This group is composed of very opinionated people of both liberal and conservative persuasions who argue their positions passionately, but with civility.  We may hold diametrically opposed opinions concerning gun control, Obamacare, the Imperial Presidency or liberal bias in the mainstream media, but we will also pray for each other when we share our weaknesses, vulnerabilities, or just the times when life slaps the shit out of us.  I love those people.

But this morning I didn’t check my Facebook.  And since I was not doing media, I did not turn on the BBC News on channel 131 either.  Instead, while my greens were steaming and my bacon was sizzling I wrote in my journal for the first time since November 16 of last year.  It wasn’t much of an entry; mostly I griped about work.  But I also mentioned to myself that I had prayed to and meditated on God the night before.  I enjoyed minimal success at best in this endeavor, but I had at least engaged in it and the next morning reflected upon it, and that hadn’t happened much for a very long time.  I was not aware of that being anything special at the time but I am beginning to believe that God may be doing something worth paying attention to now.  I’ll keep you posted on that.

My day was not at all unlike any other day at work.  Too much to do, too few to get it done.  Nothing new there.  And when I got home to an empty house I settled butt-in-chair to relax after the trying day.  I texted my wife, poured a glass of wine and turned on the television to a channel which often carries stories about World War II.  I scored, and watched a story about the Normandy invasion, a chapter in man’s story that I have studied at length.  When it ended however, the temptation to vegetate in front of the idiot box was resisted and in the eerie silence which filled my house I went to prayer.

I will not share all of the details of this encounter with God but there was one conversation which I feel is worth relating.  My church has begun to open its office space at six in the morning on Tuesdays and Thursdays and offers coffee and conversation to all who would drop in.  Initially, this included only members of my church – those who knew about this event – and that was very pleasant to me.  We like each other a lot and sipping free coffee while we get to know each other even better has proven to be a wonderful thing.  But something hapened two days ago which has thrown this practice into a new and promising direction.

My church meets in an old but functioning theater (have I written of this before?) in the downtown core of a very old city; old for the American Pacific Northwest that is.  Like just about any downtown core of any city in America there are homeless and otherwise marginalized people living there, mostly where we “decent” folk can’t see them.  When a place opens up that gives away free coffee and withholds free judgement, word gets around and so it seems to have happened here.  After getting off of a graveyard shift I drove to the office to spend a few pleasant minutes with good Christian friends.  Instead, I spent time with a guy I’ll call “Joe”.

Joe is homeless and doesn’t mind telling you so.  Joe also, in my opinion, tends to live in a little bit of a fantasy world.  On the other hand, Joe loves music like I love music.  When I told him that I had seen the Beatles and Janis (if you need to know her last name, you wouldn’t really know her anyway) he was as impressed as I was when he told me about meeting Arrowsmith’s front man Steve Tyler.  We both loved history too, and in may ways we were very much alike.

Except for the torn shirt, the stained green sweat pants, and the obvious attention deficit disorder that made it hard for him to keep on any one particular train of thought for any length of time.  I was annoyed by the need to ditch what seemed a promising thread of conversation to change directions and plunge down another interesting and promising rabbit hole, knowing that in a few moments’ time the course of our conversation would change directions on a dime and a great point of debate that I was about to make would be left shipwrecked upon the rocky reef of dementia and I/we would start all over again.

So tonight I was speaking with God and He showed me the picture of Jesus, His Son, walking up a dusty road into a Judean town and being invited to dinner by the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the drunkards, and the other flotsam and jetsam of society.  What Would Jesus Do?  Would He deliver a theological treatise that would make Paul, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Edwards and Joshua Ryan Butler listen with intense devotion and bated breath at Jesus’ feet?  I don’t think so.  I think Jesus would have listened to their broken earthly babble and broken in only when the moment was most promising with whatever nugget that these poor, broken creatures could deal with.

And that made me think of how I had related to “Joe” the other morning, and I don’t think that I did all that badly.  I made no effort to hide my love of Jesus and happiness in my membership in His body on earth, but at the same time I treated Joe’s love of history and music in the same way that I treat my own, and seemed to score my best points (points which I had no interest and design to score at all really) when I mentioned that my favorite rock concerts were viewed while stoned on acid.  I don’t endorse it, but I don’t deny it either.  And it lent to Joe an authenticity that made other things that I said worth listening to by him.

I feel like Jesus was saying “that’s a little bit how it felt to me.”  Jesus, of course, really LOVED the broken people with whom he dined and congregated.  I do not yet share that love.  In fact, Joe’s penchant for bouncing from topic to topic and his steady delivery of fantastic bullshit as he spoke of his musical exploits and historical research were to me more annoying than anything else.  Still Jesus told me that at last I’m getting a glimpse of what He is saying.  Maybe this will be the only insight that I get from Lent.  If it is, it will certainly be worth every minute that I am not chattering on Facebook.

It’s Only Rock and Roll

     I love rock and roll, and while I understand that it is really only rock and roll, nevertheless I like it.  The truth is that I like most music and if possible never miss a chance to hear it live, or as close to live as I can get.  In my twenties, which occurred during the bulk of the seventies, I saw a great many concerts, most of which I remember.  Sort of.  Growing up in the fifties and sixties in San Diego however afforded me and other music lovers a lot fewer opportunities to hear live music but we did the best we could.  This is a tale of my love of music and pursuit of exposing myself to it as much as possible.

     In the 1950s I had two avenues for the above mentioned exposure to music; the AM radio and my father’s record collection.  Dad had big, thick 78s with a variety of classical pieces on them and 45s of mostly Country and Western, singles from movies, and big band stuff.  It’s all I knew then and I loved it.  I can still hear Gogi Grant’s “The Wayward Wind”, Debbie Reynolds’ “Tammy” and all of that Rachmaninoff stuff that came on the thick, black records that were kept in the heavy pressboard boxes.  I mostly listened to what Dad listened to until a guy named Buddy Holly came along.

     The second phase in my life of music appreciation arrived with Buddy and the big Bopper and Bill Haley, et. al., and lasted through the great rivalry between the West Coast Beach Sound and Motown.  Most of the white guys in my neighborhood were solid Beach Sound, but the Latinos and Filipinos and the few black guys preferred Motown.  I came down squarely in both camps.  I loved Smokey and David Ruffin and especially the Four Tops, but I loved the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean and others just as much.  Every night when I wasn’t hanging out with friends at the local recreation center which we just called ‘The Park’ I would be home listening to KCBQ, hearing my favorite two and three minute songs being spun by the legendary disc jockey Happy Hare.

     Then one day I got to see Jan and Dean live.  Concerts were rare in those days, in San Diego at least, and when my friend Ellen Marie and I heard that there was going to be the filming of a television show which would be emceed by Elizabeth Montgomery, the star of the TV show ‘Bewitched’, featuring the surf singing duo, and that they needed members for the audience, we signed up as quickly as we could.  Ellen was one of my best friends in the neighborhood and we could often be seen hanging out together.  We both had braces on our teeth and the other kids joked that if we should get together as a couple we would be the “clash of steel”.  We never did have that kind of relationship, but our friendship was more solid and of longer duration than most of the romantic liaisons in my life.

     On the big day Ellen and I walked up to University Avenue and boarded the Number Five bus that took us directly to downtown.  From the old Horton Plaza it was only a walk of a few blocks to the Spreckles Theater where the show would be filmed.  Ellen and I showed out tickets, bought some popcorn and candy for a buck or two, and found our seats in the auditorium.  We were not too far from the stage and could see everything very clearly.  Ellen and I yammered away with each other until Ms. Montgomery mounted the stage and gave us all instructions on when we were to cheer, when to clap, when to laugh, and so on.  Ellen and I sort of paid attention, but we were too excited about seeing Jan and Dean to care very much about the details.  Finally all of the instructions were delivered and the crew began to film.

     The whole thing seemed a little bit odd to us but we played ball as best we could, clapping and cheering and laughing on cue.  Of course, Ellen and I would frequently laugh at the wrong time because the whole thing seemed silly, and to a couple of kids in their mid teens it was truly silly indeed.  But at last we came to the payoff.  During a break for technical reasons Jan and Dean came out on the stage and the cheering then was genuine.  The stars of the show, as far as we were concerned anyway, waved to the crowd and said a few words to the people in the front row.  

    After a few minutes they disappeared again and it was back to business.  The crowd settled down, Ms. Montgomery began her introduction, and Jan and Dean reentered the stage as their cue was given.  The “cheer” sign went up, but we were already providing that prop, and this time in earnest.  Ms. Montgomery said a bunch of words that nobody paid attention to and then Jan and Dean stepped up to sing.  The “cheer” sign was not up, but as the duo broke into “Surf City” a few of the girls screamed and some of us began to sing along with them.  That was not in the script however and the “cut” sign was given.

     “Please don’t make any noise while the boys are singing” admonished Ms. Montgomery.  “The producers want to hear the singers, not the audience.

     We settled down again as best we could and the introduction was made again, complete with canned and less-than-spontaneous cheering this time.  Jan and Dean burst once more into “Surf City” and this time the audience maintained its cool until the end of the song, at which time we anticipated the “cheer” sign and burst into wild applause.  Jan and Dean’s time was precious, and so their closing act of “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena” came right after that.  Same format, same admonition when our youthful enthusiasm got the best of us, and same sense of awe as the singers produced, right there in front of us, the songs that we heard at least twice per day on the radio.

     After a few more laughs, cheers, and rounds of applause, all delivered on cue, we were excused and filed out of the Spreckles and onto the sidewalk running along Broadway under the brilliant San Diego sun.  As we walked back to Horton Plaza where we would wait with the sailors, the derelicts sleeping on the grass, and the pigeons which flocked around the domed fountain which was a fixture in downtown San Diego as long as I lived there, Ellen and I dissected every word, every movement, and every glance that had undoubtedly been aimed directly at us.  The Number Five finally arrived and we climbed on board, thumbed our dimes into the box by the driver, and rode that bus back to East San Diego and to the park where we could brag about our adventure to all of our friends, who were jealous as could be but insisted that they really preferred James Brown anyway.  And indeed, some of them did.

     All of the Motown and Beach stuff came to a screeching halt in January of 1964 when the American release of the Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand” exploded onto the charts and the English Invasion was under way.  My Navy father wouldn’t let me grow a “mop top” but a lot of my friends did, and we listened faithfully to the radio as sometimes two or three new groups with a totally new sound emerged each week to make a splash.  The Beatles were nearly everybody’s favorites at first, with the Rolling Stones a very close second.  My one and only girlfriend, Rhonda, was much taken with the Stones and I have to admit that I was more than a little jealous of that, so I had to claim some favorite other than them. I chose the Kinks, partly because I really liked their music and partly because they were even uglier than the stones, at least to judge by the bands’ pictures on their album covers.  I don’t know why that mattered, but it did.  

     My relationship with Rhonda ended amicably – no point in being a sore loser – and I was soon in the market for a new girl friend.  That mission was a lot like Ponce de Leon’s search for the fountain of youth.  I was terribly shy and after my first relationship ended I couldn’t muster the courage to try again.  This was a pitiable condition because Teresa Beal, the prettiest girl in the neighborhood by my standards, was unattached.  I was on good terms with Teresa and I dropped more than subtle hints of my interest, but never received any indication of interest in return.  The thought of just coming out and expressing my interest made me nauseous, so I dithered and plotted how i would eventually make my move.

     My opportunity came in May of 1965 when it was announced that the Beatles would perform in Balboa Stadium.  The Beatles were an irresistible draw and I was certain that an invitation to go see them would be irrefutable proof of my ardent and undying love, and Teresa would fall into my arms like Snow White into Prince Charming’s, or something like that.  Tickets were $3.50, $4.50 and $5.50, and all I could afford were the $3.50 variety.  Two tickets added up to $7.00, and that was a lot of scratch for a sixteen year old kid living in East San Diego in 1965.  The tickets were procured and rested in my dresser drawer for days and weeks as I struggled to find the right time and right words to ask Teresa to go with me to see the Beatles.

     The upshot of this tale is that I didn’t have the cojones to pull the trigger.  Beatles or no Beatles, you don’t get a date unless you ask.  I tried as best I could but Teresa and I lived in the same neighborhood; if she turned me down I would be faced with that fact every time I saw here and everybody would know.  That wasn’t going to happen and so I asked my brother if he wanted to go instead, which he did.

     Brad is also an interesting musical tale.  My brother spent two years at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, and had recently returned from the Army.  In Texas Brad learned to like old school Country and Western.  Hank Williams, Carl Smith, and Marty Robbins were his sort of acts.  A few weeks after returning home Brad walked into our bedroom while I was watching either Shindig or Hullabaloo, which were television shows that featured rock and roll acts playing their music.  It was sort of like early videos, only live.  Anyway, that night the Rolling Stones were singing “Satisfaction” when my brother walked into the room and my old fifteen inch black and white television screen was filled with Mick Jaggers’ lips, teeth and tongue.  “What in the hell is that?” asked Brad in stunned amazement.  “Give it a few months” I replied.  “You’ll be borrowing my records.”  And indeed he was, so when I mentioned the concert Brad leapt to the occasion.

     We found our seats and almost had to pay for oxygen, they were so high up.  I had never been to a real concert before and had no idea what to expect.  The opening acts were all pretty good; Cannibal and the Headhunters was my favorite of that bunch, but soon we got to the main event.  Out they came; four tiny figures on a stage down on the fifty yard line who wasted no time in starting the show.  The audience wasted no time either in breaking out in pandemonium.  Girls were screaming and kicking the sheet metal which surrounded the stadium lights.  Guys raced out onto the field only to be tackled by burly security men.  It turned out that Ronald Angulo, a kid from my neighborhood, was one of the first idiots to pull that stunt.  The Beatles sang twelve songs and that was it.  It actually seemed like less than that, but I am assured that we got twelve.  And then it was over and I went home again to crow at the park, although it was hollow because I had wanted to be there with Teresa.

     My love of music grew over the next decade as music became the medium by which  disillusioned youth expressed their feelings to one another and the world.  Music had become a complicated business and revolution filled the air along with the sounds of Hendrix, Cream, The Starship and a million others.  But I’ll never forget the simple love that I had for the music, just the music, of my youth.  No great causes or movements, no subliminal messages, just innocent music.  Yeah, it was only rock and roll, but I liked it then.  I still do.


Hosea Rock Opera Song #10

Gomer has left Hosea to re-experience the gaiety of her old life but finds that it is not as exciting and fun as it once was.  The brash young girl is a little older now and has a more broad experience of life.  The life to which she has returned has proven to be a trap from which she cannot escape.  To dull the pain of daily multiple sexual episodes she now depends upon drugs and alcohol, which her pimp provides at costs which keep her in a status of servitude.  She can never earn enough to be free of her ‘main man’ by her own efforts.  This song is sung in the more bluesy Janice Joplin style.

Sittin’ on this mattress, wonderin’ who’ll come in next.  Yeah I’m sittin’ on this mattress baby, wonderin’ who’s gonna come in next.  One john just looks like another one now, maybe this one will be quick, that’s the best.

This isn’t how I thought it would be, I remembered music, and good times.  This just isn’t how I thought it would be, nah nah nah nah, I remembered music and good times.  Now the only way I can do this, is with cocaine, and with junk, and with red wine.

And now I never, never never planned on this, this was not the way it’s supposed to be.  No there ain’t nobody got any time for this, I’m in hell and I don’t know how to be free.  But Hosea wouldn’t want to touch me now, so it’s my main man I got to please.

Did I say man? Men would be more like it now for me.  This has nothin’ to do with love, I’m nothin’ but a bag of guts that they use for a moment, then they’re tired of me.  I’m thinking only death, only death will ever be able to set me free.

And now I never, never never planned on this, this was not the way it’s supposed to be.  No there ain’t nobody got any time for this, I’m in hell and I don’t know how to be free.  But Hosea wouldn’t want to touch me now, so it’s my main man I have to please.

Here I sit on this mattress, I hear someone at the door.  Thank God it’s just a young kid, he’ll be quick and I’ll see him no more.  I don’t believe how I used to think that this was good, even once was free, but I left it to be a whore. I don’t know about third or fourth chances, but I don’t want to serve this master anymore.

Hosea Rock Opera Song # 9

Hosea is bitten by the blues.  He is sitting on a sofa in front of a TV set with HGTV on and he’s not watching it, as would be natural.  God suddenly materializes in an easy chair at the end of the sofa.  He is sipping an IPA and smoking a good Havana, and He points His finger at the TV set and it turns into a pillar of salt.  Hosea comes out of his reverie and God, who sounds a lot like a hip-hop Bob Dylan sings this song.

Hey! You! sittin’ on the sofa with a big droopy face, couldn’t drop it any lower.  Whatcha gonna do, gonna wallow in the blue thinking that your job is through, well I’m hardly through with you.

Your woman done lef’ you well I told you that would happen, so you sittin’ on the sofa with your long face hangin’ while your baby’s on the streets makin’ money with her thang’n now it’s time to get up, get up on your feet, put leather on the street, better turn up the heat.  I never gave you the option to lay down in defeat.

So what are you waiting for?  What are you waiting for?  The woman that you love is in a world of hurt so you better go out through the door.  You started by obeying rules, but now she’s joined you at your very core, so get back in the game, your bride is lying in pain, Hosea what’re you waiting for?

From the beginnin’ you people been sinnin’ been thinkin’ that you’re winnin’ while my patience was thinnin’, but I never stopped lovin’ you; never gave up on you, even when you did what I told you you should never do. A downside to being God is my pain is perfect and the pain you’ve been given’ me would probably be killing me except for the fact that I can’t die.

So up on your feet, do you need an invitation, I be tired of waitin’ do you need some motivatin’, I could light a fire if that’s what you desire but then you’d be a bleedin’ and you’d still have to go so go, fool, finish that task that’s been given to you now, go, fool, before I start to gettin’ annoyed with you.  I told you that I love you but my anger is risin’ send a message to the people there’ll be chastisin’ ‘less they come to their senses start to mend a few fences or there’ll be flinchin’ and winces and it won’t be a thing that they haven’t got commin’ but they actin’ pretty dumb’n my best hope is that the fools’ll take a message from you.

So what are you waiting for?  What are you waiting for?   The woman you love is in a world of hurt so you better go out through the door.  You started by obeying rules, but now she’s joined you at your very core, so get back in the game, your bride is lying in pain Hosea what’re you waiting for?

So go on out the door but be assured I am with you I would never send you out ‘less I would be there for you.  The bride I made for you is out there waitin’ and her life she’s hatin’ she’s been self-castigatin’ so Hosea go out, ‘cuz your wife needs redeeming and if it’s been seemin’ that you’re doing all the work, just remember that before the story’s all over I’ll be doing everything that I’ve asked of you and even more.

So what are you waiting for?  what are you waiting for?  the woman you need is in a world of hurt so you better go out through the door.  You started by obeying rules but now she’s joined you at your very core, so get back in the game, your bride is lying in pain, Hosea, what’re you waiting for?

Hosea Rock Opera Song #8: Bedtime Story Blues

After stepping out on Hosea even while pregnant with child number three (not Hosea’s at that) Gomer finally returns to the life of a whore.  The point of this story as given to us in the Book of Hosea is that Israel, and us by extension, prefer the life of a whore to the life of a bride of a faithful husband.  Gomer has done nothing that all of us don’t do, and Hosea is grieved by Gomer’s unfaithfulness every bit as much as God is grieved by our own.  Well, maybe not quite as much, but it still hurts deeply.  This song is to be sung in a deep blues style; think BB King foundation with strong notes of Leadbelly, Muddy, Clapton, even a little Stevie Ray.  David Bromberg’s “Not Be Your Fool” is also an inspiration.

It’s time for bed children, if you go nice I’ll tell a story to you.  Come on and get up the stairs, kids.  And I’ll tell a story to you.  Don’t listen too close to the words babes, ’cause the story comes to close to me and you.

There once was a man who loved a woman, not too much at first, but then – all the way.God told the man where to find her, but how it would work out He didn’t say.  So the man went out and found a bride, shed seemed to live him for a little while, but then went away.

[When’s your momma coming home?  She said that it would be in just a little while.  She said that she had important business, maybe it would take more than a little while.  But if you knew how much she really loves yu, it couldn’t help but make you smile.]

Now back to the story kids, that man knew all along she would break his heart.  He knew he would always love her truly, but that she just wouldn’t do her part.  So now he’s just waiting for God’s signal, and then he’ll try to give it all a new start.

[Yes, I know you miss your momma.  I want you to know I miss her too.  I set her place at the table I wash and hang her clothes I call out her name at night!  God in heaven knows I miss her too.  Some day God in His glory will bring her home to us, till then wait and hope is all we an do.]

I’m sorry ’bout this story kids, I’m sorry that your momma’s not here too.  I’m not sorry ’bout the time she was with me, I’m not sorry she gave me the three of you.  I guess we’ll have to go to bed with the blues tonight; tomorrow I’ll tell you ’bout the three bears.

Hosea Rock Opera Song #7

Hosea and Gomer have made a home.  There have been a couple of children born, one of which is Hosea’s, and another is just barely on the way.  Gomer was surprised to find that Hosea is a good man, but in spite of it all she is drawn to her old life, or the idea of it.  Finally one night while Hosea’s working she slips back to the old place and gets sucked back into the darkness.  This is done in a jazzy, soulful Joni Mitchell style.

The bread is rising and the beds are made, I think today I wash and sweep.  Jezreel has a baseball game today, Ruhamah’s been sick for a week.  Hosea’s working late tonight, and I just don’t think it’s right, to be alone.

I can’t say that he’s not been good to me, it hasn’t been like I had thought.  He always comes straight home and hears me speak, and gives me little things that he’s bought.  I never dreamed that I’d be so lame, and my life has become so tame, and I am here alone.

Tonight he’s putting in some overtime, and I’ve heard there’s a party going on.  The kids will all be sleeping, I don’t think they’ll know that I have gone.  I just want to see some old friends.  I’m just bored with the way that it’s been.  I’ll step out just this once and then, never again.

I hear the music and the laughter, the place is rocking out tonight.  The girls are on the stage and dancing, they leap and whirl with all their might.  My old boyfriend says to me “come over here”, and now he’s buying me a tall cold beer.  And he says that he is still my friend, and just maybe we could do it all again, and this time it will be Hosea who’s alone.

One drink, maybe just a line or two.  I really don’t see what harm it would do.  And johnny, I’ve been saving this for you.  Let’s rock this place, rake in some dough.  I’ve still got the touch even though, I’ve been rotting in my house and so, alone.

There is a light on in the window, I’ll bet Hosea’s sitting there, I know he’ll follow me and beg me not to leave.  He’ll beg for me to stay his wife, I guess I will for now, but he can’t make me change my life.  ‘Cause these things that I do feel good, and though I don’t believe I should, pretty soon I will leave him for good.  Then he’ll be alone.

I’m giving him another child but this one’s not his too.  I don’t believe for him there’s anything more I can do.  I’ve tried to be the faithful wife but that’s just not my style, and I might find a better deal if I walk another mile.  I’ll find the life that’s truly mine down the road another mile.  I know I’ll find myself just down that road another mile.

Hosea Rock Opera Song # 6. Hosea brings home a bride.

In this song Hosea has brought home his bride and two neighbors are gossiping over the back fence like neighbors have since there have been neighbors and sin.  They are clearly not happy about the new addition to the neighborhood.  This song is done in a country and western style; neighbor #1 being a lot like Waylon and neighbor #2 a lot like Willie.

Neighbor #1:  I saw that old Hosea brought his wife home yesterday.  The wedding was a short one I am told.  He really must have wanted someone very much indeed, ’cause he found a girl who’s usually bought and sold.

Neighbor #2:  Yes I have heard the same thing and I saw her yesterday.  I must admit the girl was looking good.  But we’re not needing her kind, I’ve got children living here.  If she stays there goes the neighborhood.

Neighbor #1:  Hosea always seemed to be a little off to me, his preaching always gave me one big pain.  And every time we sacrifice a son or two to Baal, on our fine parade he would pray for rain.

Neighbor #2:  I hope her friends don’t come around with all their mess and noise.  I really wish that she would go away.  Hosea says he likes the girl and we can both guess why, So I suppose she probably will stay.  But I’ve been praying to my idols made of stone and wood; if she don’t go there goes the neighborhood.

Neighbor #1:  I think the decent people in our neighborhood should meet and see, if there is something we can do.  This girl is gonna bring some trouble to our quiet street, and we will all be tainted ‘fore it’s through.  Hosea says we’re just like her boy, does he have some nerve?  I’m not like her, I give Baal the respect that he deserves.

Neighbor #2:  Yes I agree we should unite and run that woman out.  We’d all be better off without them both and there’s no doubt.  He’s got no right to criticize me for the god I choose.  And my wife is a proper girl it’s him that’s gonna lose.


We’ll circulate petitions and approach the city boss, maybe we can get them both run off.  We’ll say that he’s a nuisance and he doesn’t mow his lawn.  We’ll say she’s loose and lives in total sloth.  If they would leave the city it would all be for the good.  If they should stay there goes the neighborhood.

Hosea Rock Opera song number 5: Gomer’s acceptance

Hosea has made his proposal to Gomer.  She is surprised, but decides to take him up on his offer.  He’s not too bright and probably boring, but she’s been thinking about getting out of “the business” for a while.  This song is to be done in East Bay funk.  Think Tower of Power, Pablo Cruise, Rick James, Average White Band.  A sassy sax talked back to by an impudent guitar, an indulgent base and butterfly percussion.  Turn your mind on and enjoy.

Somebody tell me if you got a clue, what this dumb john’s trying to sell.  Should I take him for all that he’s worth or just tell him he can go to hell.

I’ve seen losers like Hosea before, but this one’s really not too bright.  and I’ve been had by rotten abusers, in fact I’ve had a few tonight.

Well he may be as dumb as dirt but then he may be playing it straight, and I’ve been thinking of changin’ my gig, and maybe this here cherry’s my gate.

So I’m packin’…Im packin’ my bags, gonna give the straight life a try.  Yeah I’m packin’… I’m packin’ my bags though the girls’ll think I’m probably high.  This guy says he will take me and treat me right, though he knows I am nothing but a whore.  So I’m packin’… I’m packin’ my bags and I’m following that man right out the door.

Hosea just paid my bill with the pimp, I know it ’cause I saw the receipt.  So I’ll say good-bye to this lousy life, gonna write it’s epitaph with my feet.  But the music I’ll miss and a couple of the girls, maybe someday I’ll come back and do some lines, but just right now I’m his girl next door, this gig is gonna suit me just fine.

So I’m packin’… Im packing my bags, gonna give the straight life a try.  Yeah I’m packin’… I’m packin’ my bags, though the girls will all think that I’m high.  This guy says he will take me and treat me right, though he knows I am nothing but a whore.  So I’m packin’…I’m packin’ my bags and I’m following that man right out the door.

(Big, juicy, funky interlude followed by the refrain “I’m Packin’)

Hosea Rock Opera Song 4: Hosea’s Proposal

Hosea follows Gomer down a dingy hallway to her room, where Gomer expects that he is just another john paying for sex.  To her amazement Hosea not only proposes marriage but says that he is ordered by God to do so.  Gomer is no stranger to delusional men and suspects that Hosea is just one more.  Hosea does throw her a curve however which makes her a bit more receptive to his offer of marriage.  To be sung as a ballad in the style of Gordon Lightfoot.

I’ve come to you Gomer ’cause you mean something to me, and I see in you  much more than a whore.

I don’t know your family and I don’t know where you’ve been, I don’t know if you’ve ever loved or even had a friend.

You look at me as a piece of meat, nothing but another paying john, but I came here begin a journey and what I want is for you to come along.

‘Cause I would love you and take you for my wife.

Yes I would love you and stay with you all of my life.

Yes I would make of you my wife, and bend my back for you., I’d hear your words with sympathy and hold you when you’re blue.

I promise I’ll forget your past, it’s no worse than my own, and with you standing next to me we’ll make ourselves a home.

Oh I would love you, and take you for my wife.

Yes I would love you, and stay with you all of my life.

Well I must go it’s getting late and I must get to bed, I’ll bet you have a thing or two that’s running through your head.

My offering is genuine, it comes straight from my heart, if you come with me I swear from you I’ll never part.

So here’s the price for you tonight and now I’m going to leave, the only cost to you my love is that you must believe,

That I would love you, and take you for my wife.

Yes I would love you and be true to you all of my life.

Hosea Rock Opera Song 3, to be done in the style of the great Tina Turner

Hosea has spent a lot of time looking for the prostitute (OK, let’s say it; the whore) that God has told him to marry but hasn’t found her yet.  Tired and a little confused he stops into a bar to have a beer before going home for the night.  Upon entering the bar he hears the singer on the low stage up front.  The singer is barely barely at all and strutting her stuff for the crowd.  Their eyes meet and the connection is instantly made, although Gomer does not yet have any idea what Hosea’s mission is.

Well I see you standing in the back of the room, and I see you near the edge of the stage,

you came in thinking you were cool as the night, but your blood is beginning to rage.

You might have girl at home you might have a wife, maybe have a baby or two,

but just right now you’ve quit thinking ’bout them, and I know what you are wanting to do.

‘Cause I’m hot, I’m hot, I’m just about as hot as they get.

I’m hot, I’m hot, and you know that I could make you sweat.

So if you’re thinking I’m the girl next door that’s just one of the many things I’m not.

I’m bad to the bone and I’ll be wrecking your home and you’ll be loving it boy, ’cause I’m hot.

So come up closer sucker I can make your fanny pucker when i lay on you a motion or two.

You ain’t seen nuthin’ ’till you see this girl a-struttin’ and I’m struttin’ all my sweetness for you.

If you buy into my action I can promise satisfaction you may think it’s love but that’s not what call it.

It’s a business deal that’s gonna make you squeal, and it starts when you open up your wallet.

‘Cause i’m hot, I’m hot, I’m just about as hot as they get.

I’m hot, I’m hot, and you know that I could make you sweat.

So if you’re thinking I’m the girl next door, that’s just one of the many things i’m not.

I’m bad to the bone and I’ll be wrecking your home and you’ll be loving it boy ’cause I’m hot.

Time is a-wastin’ and it’s you I should be tastin’ and my room is at the end of the hall.

I could keep on dancing if the price was right but I can see that you’ve been hearing nature call.

So come on son, you know the evening is young, and all you want is just to spend it with me.

Just come into my room I’ll have you baying at the moon and you’ll be wondering how this pleasure came to be.

‘Cause I’m hot, I’m hot, I’m just about as hot as they get.

I’m hot, I’m hot, and you know that I could make you sweat.

So if you’re thinking I’m the girl next door, that’s just one of the many things I’m not.

I’m bad to the bone and I’ll be wrecking your home and you’ll be loving it boy ’cause I’m hot.