Apple Tree Blues

Just another lyric without a tune

Chorus:
I am an old man
The devil ain’t boss of me
I am an old man
Older than Methuselee

Back in my young years
Adam said to me,
“Don’t you ever eat
Fruit from the apple tree.

Oh, sure the apples
May be a tasty fruit.
I’m here to tell you
God don’t give a hoot.

Eat them apples.
You mess up the Plan.
One thing you’ll get.
The back side of His hand.”

In old Mesopotamie
Throughout that ancient land
All the folks were folks
In apple-eating clans.

They drank them ciders.
Ate all kinds of pies.
But they gave no look
To the clouds in the sky.

Noah was a non-
Apple-eating man.
Never did he taste
Dumplins, fritters or flan

Chorus:
I am an old man
The devil ain’t boss of me
I am an old man
Older than Methuselee

Noah never was
A propheting man
But Noah could tell
God had Himself a Plan.

“Better get ready.
An umbrella won’t do.
Rain’s sure a-coming
To flood me and you.”

It was a Sunday
When he told his wife.
He told her once.
Told her three times thrice.

Noah built himself
A big big boat.
Checked for the leaks,
Made sure boat did float.

Loaded that boat up
With lots of critters.
Two of each they came,
Slow ones, go getters.

It rained real hard,
Pounded forty days.
Noah and his family
Got cabin fever crazed.

Chorus:
I am an old man
The devil ain’t boss of me
I am an old man
Older than Methuselee

Said, “We’re up a creek
Without a paddle.
This boat’s not safe.
Listen to the rattle.”

The boat didn’t sink.
The water went down.
The boat hit a rock.
Noah stepped on to ground.

With seasickness gone
The fam settled in
Raising apple trees
In the way back when.

The Good Lord He looked
Down with godly aim.
“What am I gonna do?
Noah’s more of the same.

Snozzling down cider,
He’s gone apple loose.
Told him not to drink
Any apple juice.”

So God threw up His
Mighty mighty hands.
“I’m outta here; just maybe
Martians will follow the Plan.”

Chorus:
I am an old man
The devil ain’t boss of me
I am an old man
Older than Methuselee

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Did it snow in Eden?

This one sounds like a theology question, doesn’t it? Yet here I am, throwing the question out there. I am here to say that perhaps it did.

Perhaps after all that garden tending and naming names business, the First Couple needed a little vacay. God decided, “Hey, guys, you just won a all expenses paid vacation to the North Slope.” Then He showed the two the resort virtual reality style without the headgear.

Unlike us, Adam and Eve didn’t need longjohns. They didn’t need to bundle up. They didn’t need ear muffs. None of that heavy winter clothes gig. They got the bennies of winter without the suffering through the downers. No heavy duty blizzards to suffer through. And when it came to skiing, they had perfect balance.

There was that time Adam was up on the slopes with Eve. They were in their Hawaiian garb. Shorts and Hawaiian shirts all decked out with flowers. They stood on the slope, skis on their feetsies.

“Shall we?” Adam asked.

“Race you,” Eve said.

So off they went. Faster than a speeding bullet. The snow was all packed down for a good ride. They came to a place where the land dropped fifty feet. Did they stop? Heck, no. Down they went and caught themselves standing. They were having one whissssss of a ride.

Up ahead there were some trees. Adam found that he was heading straight toward the biggest tree of all. It was like one of those Sequoias. Closer, closer, closer he came. He couldn’t stop himself. He made one last effort to turn. Didn’t work. He slammed right into the big galloot. Maybe the biggest Sequoia ever was. Splat!

It was one of those splats you don’t want to hear. Especially if it happens to you. It’s like Wiley Coyote slamming into the side of a mountain. A big ouch. That’s what it was.

Eve pulled up beside Adam. “You okay?” she asked the way she always asked.

“Aw shucks,” Adam said. The only injury he had was those big stars circling his head like they do in cartoons. After a couple of sips of hot toddy he was back on the slopes.

Talk about health insurance. Adam and  Eve had the best medical care that money could not buy. They had God. And God never let them down.

Near 500 words: Post Number 1000

How about that. This is Post Number 1000 for me. Wow! Maybe I should take a bow or something.

That was a couple of bows but I deserve it, don’t you think?

“Just how are we going to get all those animals on board?” Noah asked God after he checked the roster for the ark. There were so many animals, and the ark was so small.

“That’s for me to know and you to find out,” the blue sky answered.

“Ah, c’mon. Don’t do this.”

“Do what?”

“You know?”

“Listen, Noah, you have a problem with how things are going, just speak up. I’m a reasonable God.”

Noah held his words in. He knew arguing with God was not going to get him anywhere. “Okay, here I go again. Just how are You going to get all those animals aboard this ark? Sir?”

“Now that’s better,” God said. Then He spoke the magic words, “Abracadabra supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

“Where did You come up with those two words?”

“Walt Disney,” God chuckled. “Man, could that guy make movies.”

“I think you’re thinking of open sesame,” Noah contradicted his Boss.

“I’m sorry but I’m using abracadabra. It rolls right off the tongue. And supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is from ‘Mary Poppins’.” Then God started singing a little “A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down.” “Man, I love that song.”

“Right,” Noah said, not wishing to contradict God. (But there was a little sarcasm in his voice.) He’d be wasting time. And he didn’t have time to waste. The sky was getting cloudy and it was definitely going to rain.

If he’d learned anything, he’d learned not to argue with God. He could argue with his neighbor. He could argue with his sons. He could argue with his wife. But never ever argue with God. It was just a waste of time and he wasn’t going to win anyway. There was nothing God liked more than a good argument.

“Okay,” Noah said. “When do I say this abracadabra supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?”

“Next Tuesday,” God said.

“Next Tuesday? But I thought—”

“Look. It’s going to take a little time to get all those animals to behave.”

“But You made the heavens and the earth in seven days.”

“What do you think I am?” God asked. “A miracle worker?”

“Well, yeah.”

“Making everything was easy. Saving stuff takes a little more time. After you humans got ahold of things, everything went to hell in a hand basket. Why do you think We’re having a flood?

“I need five days to calm all the animals down. Those elephants are not happy, being bossed around. You can get trampled if you’re not careful. Those lions, man, they bite. And have you tried to clean up all that poop? If I am to dam them up for forty days and forty nights, it’s going to take some time. And I gotta tell you. That dove better be on time after You take off for parts unknown. If the ark doesn’t have a timely landing, the overflow is going to make the flood look like that pond in your back yard.”

Noah sighed. “You’re right, God. And when You’re right, You’re right.”

“Darrn tooting. Now let’s practice.”

“Okay,” Noah said, happy to be back on God’s good side. “Abracadabra supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

“No, not that. This,” then God lit out with the song. “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.”

Noah followed, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.”

Noah’s wife, Mrs. Noah, yelled from the kitchen window. “Would you guys shut up out there? Who do you think you are? Mary Poppins. For God’s sake, you’re no Julie Andrews.”

Next week Noah’s wife gives God a bit of nutritional advice.”You do know that sugar is bad for you.”

Near 500 words: The Mother of All Living

–from the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Florence

One of the most moving statues, for me, is “The Penitent Magdalene” by the Italian artist Donatello. With it, we get the figure of Mary Magdalene after years of wandering in the desert. It’s a statue that I love.

After spending some time gazing at pictures of it, I began to think of Eve. The Genesis story doesn’t give us much after she and Adam left the Garden of Eden. All we know is that Eve had three children.

One, Cain, murdered his younger brother, Abel. After Cain was banished to only God-knows-where, Eve and Adam had a third son. His name was Seth.

It seems to me that something is missing from that story. What was it like to leave the comfort and security of the Garden of Eden and spend their years wandering in a world that was so large and people-less? I began to imagine those two wandering souls and their regret for losing Eden. How they must have felt being cut off from God. The depth of their homesickness. Especially Eve, who gets the brunt of the blame for their banishment.

As I thought about the story, I remembered Psalm 137. This particular Psalm was written while the Jews were exiled in Babylon. It begins, “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.” The Psalmist was speaking for anyone who has been forced from their homeland and cannot return.It’s the story of the African slaves. It’s the story of the Jewish, the Armenian and the Irish diaspora. It’s the story of the Syrian refugees and refugees everywhere.

So I wrote this poem.

“My heart is breaking,” 
Eve told the Earth. 
Then Eve scribbled the words
with the ink of her tears

into the dirt upon the Earth’s back. 
“My son murdered my son, 
and the murderer is a ghost 
haunting the valleys 
and the mountains.” 

Eve sat by a tree 
mourning her first born, 
mourning her second child, 
the blues in her eyes shedding  
seven hundred seventy-seven tears each day  
‘tween the sunrise and the moon. 
“Tree, my heart is bleeding,” 
she sang, her grief rising 
like smoke up to the ears of God. 

Eve went down  
to the church by the river Cry. 
She lit a votive candle 
and prayed the rosary 
one hundred and fifty times 
for the souls of her sons,

one whose life was taken away, 
one who took the life
and a third,
a new beginning. 

Police Brutality

It had been a long night for Jesus. First the Passover meal, then the praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, then a nice stroll around the Garden. Just as He was about to leave the Garden, this cop showed up.

“Gee, I was just out taking a walk,” Jesus said to the Roman cop.

“Don’t you know that this is a white rich guy neighborhood?” the cop said to Jesus.

“Isn’t it a free country?” Jesus said.

“Not for your kind,” the cop said to Jesus. “So are you going to go peacefully or are we going to call in the SWAT team for you and your boys over there?”

“You can’t do this,” Jesus said. “I know my rights.”

“Look, Buddy, the only right you got is to move along. If you don’t, we’re taking you to jail.”

“But—“ Jesus said

“Okay, Buddy,” the cop said and grabbed Jesus’ arm. “It’s jail for you.”

Jesus felt his sandal fall off. He went down to slip it back on. The cop pulled out his revolver and slammed Jesus over the head. “Hey, guys,” the cop shouted. “Resisting arrest.”