Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Denny Doherty And Friends

Several years ago, I ran into a nearby grocery store for some fresh fruits/vegetables. As I came out, a man approached me, carrying a Bible. He told me he had been looking for work all day and he was hungry. We had a short conversation, I gave him two dollars, and he asked me to pray for him, which I did immediately. As I turned the corner to exit the parking lot, I saw him enter a liquor store, holding the Bible and two dollar bills, a scene eerily similar to the one in the entry below. In my classes, one of our emphasized  memory verse is always Ephesians 2:10 which speaks of the good works God plans for us to do. Sometimes, it isn't easy for us to know what to do. The following is from January 21, 2007.

Denny Doherty died two days ago. The Canadian singer, best known for being a member of the 1960's quartet, The Mamas And The Papas, was sixty-six. Along with Cass Elliot and husband and wife duet, John and Michelle Phillips, Doherty took the pop music world by storm with hits like California Dreamin' and Monday, Monday. Their beautiful harmonies and ultra-chic outfits brought the California music and fashion scene to the rest of the country. But inside the group, the frailties of human nature ate away at the fabric of the foursome. Cass was madly in love with Denny. Unfortunately, Denny was in love with Michelle who inconveniently was married to John. Denny and Michelle carried on an affair for a time until the truth came into the open. In a documentary shown on PBS, John explained how he got his revenge. He wrote the lyrics to a song about infidelity, based on Denny and Michelle's affair, and as the de facto leader of the group, made the guilty parties sing it. Ironically, or perhaps fittingly, the tune became one of their biggest chart successes. The title: I Saw Her Again Last Night. I wonder if Michelle Phillips, the only surviving member of the group, cringes when she hears that song. It can't be easy when the indiscretions of your youth are perpetually blared from the towers of Oldies' stations.

I saw him again last night. I only eat ice cream on the weekends so yesterday qualified. My store of choice for buying ice cream is the Fiesta Super Market a block from my apartment. Walking over, I purchased two pints of Blue Bell along with my breakfast apples and oranges for the week ahead. (FYI. I tried the new flavor, Cake Batter. I doubt I will again.) As I headed home, he stopped me. He had no idea who I was but we had met before. In the Spring of 2000, I was in a video store several miles down the road when I encountered the same guy. He was walking through the aisles with a cell phone and paging Clint Eastwood in a loud voice. Outside, he engaged me in a ten minute conversation and kept taking my picture although I doubted the camera held any film. It struck me enough that I wrote about him in my book. It was him again. He was standing outside a liquor store and he smelled of alcohol. He grabbed my hand and asked my name. I told him Steve and he began referring to me as The Six Million Dollar Man, after Steve Austin in the television show of the same name. As people walked past, they jeered at him but he did not seem offended. He rambled on for several minutes as my ice cream began getting soft. He never asked for money and I have no comprehension of what he was trying to say to me. I left him on the sidewalk to strike up his next conversation. I would guess our paths will cross again.

I'm always at a loss in situations like that. My guess is that he is deranged or an alcoholic/drug addict or a combination of the two. Does he medicate himself because he is mentally challenged or do his emotional problems stem from the substances he has, at least to my perception, ingested? This has always been hard for me to grasp. On one hand, the Scriptures condemn drunkenness and stress the temperate life. On the other hand, Proverbs 31:6,7 condones the use of alcohol for those who are in desperate straits:
"Give beer to those who are perishing,
wine to those who are in anguish;
let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more."
I tell my students that if you start, you don't know whether you can control the alcohol or the alcohol will control you. We have all seen too many cases of families devastated by chemicals. I am glad my folks did not drink and God bless those who have overcome their addictions, whatever form they take. The ones that haven't, they need Jesus, too. The Cross can shatter the bottle or the syringe. If the name of Jesus could drive out evil spirits, it can conquer the demons which plague so many in our world today.

Applicable quote of the day:
"I've seen the needle and the damage done,
A little part of it in everyone,
But every junkie's like a setting sun

Neil Young/ from The Needle And The Damage Done

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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1 comment:

Jon said...

Blue Bell is the best!!!!!