Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Tale of Three Joshes

I am luxuriating right now in a little free time.  Really free.  I am at the library in Thief River Falls working on a few personal computer projects.  At least that's what I'm supposed to be doing.  But I got a little sidetracked.  Any surprises there? 

It all started when, as I was setting my laptop and purse, etc, on the library table, I glanced at the magazine rack directly adjacent to it.  No, let me back up.  First, I was looking around at the quilts hanging above the library in the Theif River Falls Quilters Guild's annual quilt show.  I don't get to this library very often, but I'm always pleasantly surprised when I happen upon the quilt show.  These lovely quilts will be on display the entire month of April.  Come and look if you get a chance.

My admiration of the quilts led me to thoughts of appreciation for the TRF library.  Generally I use the Red Lake Falls library, and I love it for many reasons, not the least of which is the friendship I enjoy with the librarian there.  But this morning, I was feeling thankful for the library here in TRF.  So I was glancing around at all the many things they have to offer, and taking time to really notice things.

Brolin as James Hickok
Well, confessions be made, I couldn't help but notice the cover of the current issue of the Wall Street Journal Magazine on which Josh Brolin, one of my current favorite actors, gazes soberly (and yes, handsomely) at all passersby.  I first discovered Brolin while on a recent kick of watching the 1989 television series, The Young Riders, on hulu.  The show is an fun mix of fantasy and historical fiction.  It is set in the wild west, which is an immediate draw for me.  I have plans to feature it in a future post, so I'm not going to let myself get sidetracked talking about it here.  Because I loved the characters in the show so much, and because I had never heard of most of them, I did a bit of research on their lives and work.  And I requested some movies from the library which featured some of these men and women.

It was fun to see Brolin on a magazine cover begging me to pick it up and scan the article.  The article was mostly fluff.  The usual fare of Brolin's "rugged good looks", and the "layers of depth" he manages to bring to his characters.  I'm not discounting either of those things, mind you.  It's just that I've read many articles about Josh Brolin in the last several months and they all say pretty much the same thing.  This article, too, didn't included much new information.   But there was this little quote that lends some further detail to the frequent assertion that he embraces his ranch upbringing; and that he and his wife, actress Diane Lane, attempt to eschew the Hollywood glitz mentality.
...and he [Brolin] chauffeurs himself around in a black Dodge Ram--the latest in a series of pickups.  (This sounds so dumb," he says, "but I really love my truck.") 
I know many people who can appreciate that sentiment.

As I was putting the Wall Street Journal Magazine away, my eyes fell upon a second Josh, one with whose musical talents I've only recently become familiar.  Josh Turner looked out from the cover of Cambria Style with his friendly and somewhat mischievous smile.  So I had to pick that up, too.

I know nothing about Cambria Style.  The only Cambria I know of is a little town in southern Minnesota, along the Minnesota River between New Ulm and Mankato.  That Cambria, incidentally, is famous for the hamburgers served at the local bar and grill.  But I'm pretty sure that they don't have their own magazine.  Perhaps they ought to.

I get the impression that the Cambria Style magazine is about interior decorating.  It seems to feature articles that highlight products made by Cambria, and weave them into human interest type stories.

The particular human interest angle of the article in which Josh Turner takes center stage, celebrates the history the Grand Old Opry, and accounts its restoration after the devastating 2010 flooding in Nashville and its surrounds.  The restoration included Cambria counter-tops in the dressing rooms, hence the inclusion in Cambria Style. 
Josh Turner and the Opry seating
But the Josh Turner angle is what drew me into the article.  Turner credits his December 2001 appearance at the Opry for launching him to stardom.  He sang Long Black Train not once but twice, as he was sent back onstage after a standing ovation to sing it again.  In 2009, at the age of 29, Turner was inducted as a full time member of the Opry, becoming it's youngest member ever. 
"I just love how you can go there and hear a lot of different styles of country music and hear artists from a lot of different eras and get a picture of what country music really is," Turner says. But he also notes that being a member of the Opry is about giving back to the institution and the fans that helped to launch his career. "I was extremely honored to have that bestowed upon me so soon. But I knew then and I still know now that being committed to playing a show like the Opry requires a lot of responsibility."
But I titled this post a Tale of Three Joshes.  The first title that flitted through my head was something about two favorite Joshes.  But I couldn't do that because there is another Josh who is infinitely more dear to my heart than either of the pop cultures stars mentioned above. 

A young man in our church, Josh B., captures the spot of my favorite Josh.  (I did have to think through to make sure none of my many nieces, nephews  or God-children were named Josh before I could make such a claim.  But I'm safe there.  One of my best friends has a son who carries this name.  But I don't see this friend very often.  I have only seen that Josh once in his life, so although I love him vicariously, I can't say he's a true favorite.)

But I've seen Josh B. grow from a little three year old boy, to a fine junior high aged young man.

When we moved to this area ten years ago, Josh B. was one of my daughter, Clara's, first playmates.  He bought a cool cowboy vest at a second hand store once that he through he could use for their wedding.  (Sorry, Josh, I just had to include that little story.)

Josh falls in age almost exactly between two of my girls, Clara and Elsie, so as he got a little older, his friendship shifted to Elsie for a time.  But then the kids grew up even more, and it became uncool for a growing boy to play with girls. 

About the same time as his friendship with my girls began to wane, however, I started teaching Josh's class in Sunday school, so I still had a personal tie to his life.  I think I had the privilege of teaching his class for three years.  One of the great blessings of teaching Sunday school is getting to know the congregation's children more intimately.  The children in Josh's class were all fantastic kids, and I enjoyed each of them them immensely. 

I've been thinking much about Josh lately.  Last fall Josh's oldest brother, Jake, died.  Our congregation is still mourning his loss.  My family is mourning his loss, because among other reasons, he was my son Matt's best friend.  I am amazed at how suddenly the painful thoughts can overtake me.

But I know that the pain and sadness I feel can be nothing compared to that which his immediate and extended family are learning to deal with.  I know and you know that Jake is at home with his Father and his Brother.  But I also know that you still suffer.  I pray for you all continuing healing, and increasing peace. 
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.  (II Corinthians 13:14)

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