catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 13, Num 9 :: 2014.05.02 — 2014.05.15


All people like me

Our daughter, Sharon, asked me to attend a conference in Philadelphia last fall. How nice, I thought. I could spend the weekend with my newly married second-born who now lives three hours away and break out of my usual I-love-to-be-home mentality.

And so, I began to plan. Motel locations, driving routes, traffic patterns, parking possibilities, train schedules, subway lines, phone conversations and internet connections all tumbled and jumbled in my head as I tried to sort out the best plan of action to navigate the event. This sounded like such a good idea. But I found myself a little tentative with so many options and not enough know-how. One restless night, an old childhood nursery rhyme by Beatrice Curtis Brown (1901-1974) edged its way to the top of my thinking. Perhaps you know it, too.


Poor old Jonathan Bing
Went out in his carriage to visit the King,
But everyone pointed and said, “Look at that!
Jonathan Bing has forgotten his hat!”
(He’d forgotten his hat!)

Poor old Jonathan Bing
Went home and put on a new hat for the King,
But by the palace the soldier said, “Hi!
You can’t see the King; you’ve forgotten your tie!”
(He’d forgotten his tie!)

Poor old Jonathan Bing,
He put on a beautiful tie for the King,
But when he arrived, and Archbishop said, “Ho!
You can’t come to court in pajamas, you know!”

Poor old Jonathan Bing
Went home and addressed a short note to the King:
“If you please will excuse me, I won’t come to tea;
For home’s the best place for all people like me!”

I had to smile as I lay in the dark. As much as I hate to admit it and as much as I really don’t want to get to the end of my life without “doing anything,” maybe home is the best place for all people like me — all people like me and Jonathan Bing!

On Friday evening, Sharon and I drove from different directions and met in the Philadelphia suburbs. Early Saturday morning we hopped on a train, found our way to the Broad Street Line, and made it to our seats on the second last row of Section 204A at the Wells Fargo Center, with fifteen minutes to spare. We found coming back a little trickier but rumbled back into the station right on time. Three hours later, I pulled into my very own cozy driveway. Thank you, Lord!

I hope Sharon will ask me to do something with her again. We had a great time together, a memory I will always treasure. I want to spend time with my family, whether it be near or far. I don’t have a bucket list, but neither do I want my apprehensions to keep me glued to what’s most comfortable.

So, if you see me out and about or hear that I’m headed to southeast Pennsylvania or as far away as Lake Michigan, toss a few gold stars my direction, for if truth be told, I’m a lot like Jonathan Bing. “Home’s the best place for all people like me!”

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