Friday, June 13, 2014

John In Triplicate

(Picture of John Mellencamp taken from
One of the blessings of being a teacher is watching kids grow over a series of years. This is about a young man who definitely falls into that category. This is from September 29, 2007.

John F started coming to our Westbury Christian basketball camp when he was about a second grader. I call him John F because that's what they did in the lower grades to distinguish him from the other Johns, A and G respectively. John F, as well as the other two Johns, is now in eighth grade. He's in my sixth period Bible class and I've seen a tremendous amount of growth in him. Like most young men, it took time for him to mature but John has done so nicely. He is an excellent Bible student and a very polite gentleman. He also faithfully reads these entries and e-mails the author, another huge plus in my (grade)book! Back in the summer as my apartment was facing a renovation, I broke down and cleaned out my desk. I pulled out long-forgotten stuff and cast a vote whether to keep or discard. As I emptied the drawers, I found a curious item. It was a twenty-four times folded piece of paper covered by a note, enclosing a one dollar coin. The short message reads as follows:
Dear Coach Holly,
This coin is for one very special person in Honduras who you think that I would think that would deserve this.
John ''Cougar'' Fehrenkamp

It had been trapped inside my desk for several years. I vaguely remember John entrusting it to me before one on my July trips to Central America. Obviously, I failed to carry out the part of the mission John relied on me to fulfill. In the note, he misspelled my name and his English was not quite flawless...but his sentiments were. He gave me a job to do but if you read the note again, you'll see I gave him something as well. You might notice the way he signed off. When he was at camp, I bestowed a nickname on John. His name was just too close to one of my favorite singers, John ''Cougar'' Mellencamp. Apparently, John remembered, hence his adding a little extra to his signature. Eventually, John Mellencamp dropped the Cougar and I think John F has outgrown it as well but that leaves him without a identifying handle. We talked about a man named Theophilus in John's Bible class today. Theophilus was the recipient of the Gospel of Luke as penned by Luke. The meaning of the name Theophilus is Friend Of God. I think that fits John perfectly. It starts with F and Theophilus obviously doesn't need it any more. John Friend Of God: someone in Honduras will agree with me next summer when I pass along that one dollar coin. I probably should throw in a little interest. The F for me will stand for finally.

Applicable quote of the day:
"The name we give to something shapes our attitude to it."
Katherine Patterson

To hear/see the original John Cougar Mellencamp in one of the best music videos ever, copy and paste the link below to hear, Lonely Ol' Night:

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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1 comment:

S. Etole said...

I really like the quote and the unfolding of your story.