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Monday, December 2, 2013

Prophesy And A Minor Miracle Examined

We are entering a season famous for its hierophanies. These are sacred showings that cannot be explained by normal thought. Fortunately, I am unencumbered by this disadvantage and have made some progress toward understanding enigmas. A survey of mental spasms by which I achieved this insight must begin in a nearby town. Twenty or thirty years ago, the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce conducted a contest in hopes of getting a town slogan.

Results were confusing. Unlike other towns like Brandon, South Dakota ("Building A Better Life") or  Burlington, Iowa ("The Loader-Backhoe Capital Of The World"), Elk Grove's new slogan was neither energetically optimistic nor industrially enthusiastic. I don't know that Elk Grove even has any industry or, reckoning by other evidence, overmuch optimism. The winning entry: "Home To A Happy And Contented Herd", got onto a couple rural signs but, since there are no elk in Elk Grove and its cattle ranches became housing tracts, nobody knew what sort of herd was under discussion and the slogan lost civic momentum. A new sign off the interstate reads:
It is a fine sign, historically and geographically accurate, but lacking the panache (except for panache meaning antlers in The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2000 edition) of prophesy --which my own entry contained. It was improvidently passed over by the judges. However, had it been accepted, the sign would now read:
There is some scriptural mention mention (N.T. Luke 13:57) regarding this omission, identifying the gift of prophesy as an inconsistent honor, which brings us to the Bible. I was photographed today while moving a potted olive tree and holding a rope.

This reminded me of something I heard as a kid. Another kid told me the Bible said Abraham tied his ass to a tree and walked into Jerusalem. I opined it must have been a very small tree. Kid went away disappointed. He was joking, but also in search of a minor miracle. He was not alone. Over the years, I've heard this feat attributed to Jesus, Saul, Jacob, Balaam, even Moses --who didn't quite get to Jerusalem City-- but never ran across any mention of it in the Bible.

I tied the pot to my handtruck so the tree wouldn't bounce off and walked it to another part of our garden. This seemed simple, effective and dignified. I am not in the miracle business, especially this long after the scriptural press deadline, but was pleased to have solved this one, at least, in principle.

30 comments:

  1. Has your olive tree fruited yet? I have never grown one, and this post reminds me that I want to.

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    1. Hello! Yes we have one fruiting, but it was planted between 8 and 10 years ago, as is typical for our region. I've heard of olives bearing in half that time but it depends on location and cultivar.

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  2. Ah, but it does say something in the bible about Mary riding Joseph's ass all the way to Bethlehem, doesn't it? (He probably forgot to take the garbage out again.)

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    1. Don't know if it was Joseph's. Could've been a rental ass. Would have to check N.T or Hertz records.

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  3. Pshaw, Geo.! We can always count on erudite tomfoolery from you, and this is a particularly seasonal one. So much commercial puffery and heart-beating religiosity surround us now in the media and in the streets needs more antidotes like this! Thanks!

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  4. Keeping Christmas is certainly my favorite Pagan tradition. Beats Hogmanay, Beltane and other frolics that require dangerous incendiaries and exercise. I've given up Lupercalia altogether.

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  5. Geo, this is brilliantly funny! You had me smiling widely all the way through - - even though I'm still as sick as a dog (or perhaps an elk).
    "The next town you were ever in" is priceless.

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    1. The flu is awful and if I got you to smile, well that's an honor. Get well, Jon, and don't overdo.

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  6. I like the idea of a potted olive plant. :-)

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    1. I like them too --very calm, well-behaved trees.

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  7. Welcome to Elk Grove...don't let the name fool you. Actually, I like your slogan.

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    1. Thanks, Delores. Housing boom caused a lot of towns to pave over what they were named for. EG was one of them.

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  8. You make me smile a lot too Geo. I love to try and decipher what it is you are on about. I get there in the end I think. Well mostly. It is good to have a blog that really needs to be read properly to be appreciated.

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    1. Most kind, John. If you decipher what I'm on about, let me know. I often wonder.

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  9. Your slogan definitely is more honest.

    My hometown of Pittsfield, IL, once was "The Pork/Pig Capital of America" or something. An artistic iron monument was once in the courthouse yard, and Annual Pig Day was held every August. BBQ pork tenderloins were sold on the courtyard grounds. Good times.

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    1. Thanks, Susan. Pittsfield sounds a lot like Elk Grove 40 years ago, population about 4000. Then came the housing boom, speculators, rubber-stamp permit approvals and the population shot up to 150,000. I sure hope Pittsfield doesn't grow that fast. We need calm communities where we can live life to full measure.

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  10. But WHY is it called Elk Grove if there are no elk?

    I love your slogan. Every city should be called that.

    I've been sitting here trying to think if my city has a slogan for 3 or 4 minutes before I remembered I live in Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby.

    I swear, my memory has great big holes in it anymore...

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    1. Well, there USED to be elk, which promptly left the area after being shot at by settlers. There also used to be Maidu Indians in the area who followed suit. As I recall, Louisville's motto is "Industry and punctuality by persevering", which is a fine motto. Punctuality is the only part of it I can't take issue with. Daughter sends me unforgettable photos of her in fantastic hats she wears to the Kentucky Derby, so I'd be partial to "the Derby City".

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  11. I like the ornamentation on your door, especially the elephant. Or is that just a trick of the light? Pretty neat trick if it is!

    This is the last sentence you will have read.

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    1. Thanks Squid! Old door needed bracing some years back so I cut sheet aluminum into useful shapes --2 are indeed elephants. However, now this is the next sentence I'll ever read.

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  12. Dear Geo.,
    this one was a little bit difficult for me. I went to Wikipedia - saw that 'Elk Grove' really exists (I thought: maybe he - you - is starting prophesy even here). Then I read (still at Wiki) 'Sacramento' - and, looking at your olive branch, thought of sacraments. So: something biblical - and my assumption was validated - sort of - by the rest of your story :-) I am not that good at enigmas as you are - being a woman I choose to be one.

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    1. Clearly, a wise choice! The world welcomes enigmas.

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  13. I like the name Elk Grove. It sound like a homey community.

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    1. It wants to be homey but has grown a bit too fast.

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  14. I like your sign a bit more. Besides aren't enigmas what makes the world go around? Thanks for checking in on me. Doing well, actually did a new post and missing my bloggy world.

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    1. Thanks, Tesha! Very glad you're doing well --especially important as February approaches. Will visit your new post!

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  15. I'm laughing my braying ass off....

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    1. Thanks, Geezer. Sometimes mine brays too!

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