Five Blue River Riders

Always Surrender to Love

For three days my good friend, Michael Dundon, and I have been having a most profound Biblical conversation, that began with experiences of Forgiveness. Michael’ brother, James Dundon, was married to my sister, Vicki Presco. They had a son, Shamus, who is in a great crisis because his mother in in assisted living and does not recognize her son, at times. Shamus is also taking care of Drew Benton who has emotional problems that have disabled her. Then, my niece Shannon showed up. She too suffers from mental illness. Shannon wants me to ride on my white horse – to Bullhead City – and perform a healing! What kind of healing she did not say. But, there is a intolerable state of family affairs going down! Oh sure, we Presco say this all time. But, it may be curtains for us. This may be our last rodeo.

After we agreed it was safe to have deep conversations again, I said something that Michael said he was going to record in his Daily Meditation book.

“When I was a boy, I wanted to be the best soldier possible. I was an expert Army Player. I had my platoon ‘The Cheetahs’. Then I wanted to be an architect, and then an artist. I believe I will die a Good General, because………I will always surrender to love!”

I will now inform Michael of the source of this – message!

A week ago my first flame and I talked about her mother bidding me to go to church and to three Billy Graham meetings. I said it was very wrong for a mother to force another mother’s child to go to a church that is contrary to that child’s religious upbringing. I was raised a Catholic. Because of the video I made about disassication, I decided to surrender to the love I will have for M – the rest of my life! If I had it to do all over again, I would have gone down on the field in the Los Angeles Coliseum, fallen to my knees, and as Graham’s ushers put their hands on me, and invoked the name of Jesus, I would move my lips, and speak from my heart……

“I surrender to Marilyn. I surrender to our mutual love! I surrender to – Love!”

If I had done this, then her mother would not have forbid me to see – whom I love- and not have threatened to have me arrested – if I tried. Who knows. We might have gotten married, and had grandchildren.

Two days after my Surrender, Marilyn calls me and tells me Kathy Wilson called her up because she is looking for more Choir singers to be down on the playing field at Autzen stadium and sing along with Garth Brooks!

“I want to be there! Can you get me there. I want to stand next to you!”

“But, you can’t sing!”

“This is true. But, I will mouth the words. I will sing from my heart!”

“You have to go to two rehearsals. There will be 800 hundred singers there!”

“Are you kidding me! I was just posting on Billy Graham’s choir we heard, that was five thousand strong! I need to be there! This will be the end of a epic religious story!”

Bigger Than Ben Hur

In 1988-89 I am trying to become a Christian. I am attending Gary Johnson’s church in highway 126, two hundred yards from the McKenzie River store. Gary is leading the Bible study at Greg Mel’s house, located twenty yards from the vacant store in Blue River that Gino bought. Michael, his wife, and three children, live three miles up the road. Vicki and Jim Dundon built a geodesic dome on John’s property, he the owner of the Log Cabin Inn.

Things are tense between Gary and I. Thirty-one years later, Michael and I talk (tensely) about what was going down. Yesterday Michael agreed. I did have a profound religious experience in the little trailer I lived in on the property he rented. Michaël agreed that God chose me to be His Messenger. I showed my friend and brother what God had shown me – in His Bible. Michael………..surrendered!

I told my kin that I did not arrive at the Truth all by myself. I was opposed, detoured, and defamed. Most of the Bible is about this – DETOUR! Sometime it can take a log time to get around obstacles, and, we often head down the wrong path. Our detours can last a lifetime or, two thousand years! The good news, is…The Historic Jesus has been found! His true mission has been recovered! It got lost! It has arrived!

Next to Gary’s beautiful church, is a wondrous grove of trees with log seats placed in a circle. Gary had mentioned it during a service saying we might hold services there. We walked into the center of God’s Church, and I was in the light!

“Gary! My friend sings in a Gospel choir. I can get this choir – here!”

I looked at Gary expecting to see his face – beaming – but he was wearing a dark frown.

“No! That won’t work. We can’t have that Gospel choir sing here!”

All of a sudden, I owned Gary’s vision. He is beholding fifty black people singing and clapping away in his Sacred Grove. Skin color really mattered! Why? Are you suggesting black folks and redwoods don’t mix? How about cowboys and loggers? All of the above?

I must write a book…………’The Best Unasked Questions In The World’. Marilyn’s choir only had one black person in it. Today, most of them look like the perfectly white church ladies. My question hit Gary like a bolt of lightning on a cloudless day. His hair was standing on end, and he was – smoken! The Lord had sent him a worthy enemy! He could never restore the Serene Scene, that he was reluctant to share with his white parishioners, because, we all missed the mark. None of us were worthy. Only a few were worthy enough to be in Gary’s garage.

If God had a garage, it would be liken to our minister’s other sanctuary. There was a place for everything, and everything was in its place. He made it moron-proof by outlining the tools on the tool board with a black felt pin. Pumps, jacks, compressors, chain saws all had their proper place to be. If you borrowed a tool, Gary made it clear he expected to see it back in their slot. He greeted you with a big grin. He had bright teeth. Gary was proud he had perfect teeth. He was raised right. He could tell, I wasn’t. He zeroed in on that. In those days, Gary never locked his garage doors. No one locked their doors.

I just searched for the name of the rack on the back of the church pew to see if it had a special name. Slot is all found. The Bible was the only tool Gary needed in his slot, his tool belt. He knew – the Bible! Gary went to Bible college.

Then one Sunday morning, Gary went off the rails and we found ourselves on a street car in Sin City. Our Man of God shared with us his desire for a nuclear war with Russia, in hope the Soviet air force would nuke San Francisco – and kill all the gay folks! Whoa – Nelly! It was a beautiful June day. I looked around at my fellow church goers. Not one of them flinched, or wore a confounded or surprised look. They heard Gary’s Wish List before. I took a peek at the Sacred Grove, and realized this is Ground Zero for the coming Battle of Armageddon. God save Gary’s Scared Grove! This was the only pure place on earth – worth saving! We were now in Gary’s Vortex of Divine Protection, where no nuclear warhead could do us harm. Gary was a Cold War Baby.

I discovered that people owned pews, even rented them. There was an alternative underground lifestyle going on in Blue River. The Last of the Hippies made their way here. Gary had to cater to it. This is why he get’s a medal. I just saw a news report on Oregon growers. Pot is legal here. I see pot pews coming to our places of worship. They will be owned by the big growers, and highly decorated!

“Come on in, and chill-out to the word of God!”

Yesterday, I considered the truth that Michael and I should have tried an intervention. Would it take place in his home, or, in Gary’s sacred garage. I surmised he had a pistol in its special place in the garage. But, he would not need a weapon. Gary was six four. He had huge hands. He would have had me and my kinfolk – by our necks – banging our heads together until they were mushy stumps!

I have to say, Gary John was a sober, chemically free Man of God. However, everybody knew it, that the minister was the craziest man on the river.  And there were some crazy people up there. The sheriff never responded to anyone’s call. We were on our own. It was this truth that inspired me to record our story. Why in God’s name would five men in a small town (you can drive thru in two minutes) be taking on such huge Biblical riddles? Why us?

When I got sober in 1987 I read kids from the evangelical church were beating up the kids from Gary’s Christian church. Gary did not preach the Rapture, because it was a new fangled belief that he was not taught at Bible College.  I found only one mention of Gary on google, and it was a piece on the marriage service he performed. A Kathy Wilson was the bride’s maid. He deserves more then this. He was my first and last Minister before I declared myself a Nazarite, and then, submerged myself in the McKenzie River, fifteen miles above Blue River.

I just heard from Dianne Dundon, that Gary did not lose his church. He had it till he died of a heart attack. The person who told me this, led the break-away church. Gary married Dianne and her second husband. I hope I am not demonizing this good man. We had a major conflict that led me to look for answers to questions that jumped out at me from the pages! At Bible study, I asked about the secret in Mark 4. Gary said this to me;

“You went over and over this passage just to trip me up!”

Gary would meet with the good ol boys at the Whitewater Café for breakfast. These men owned old family logging operations. It is allege they had Confederate roots. They did not take to minorities. They chose Gary’s church. They did not want to hear Negro Spirituals coming out of the woods as they drove down 126 in their pickups!

There is this idea going round that Yeehaw Rednecks are keepers of the Lord’s Truth. Small town folks are receiving the – right stuff. Garth Brooks brings sacred messages to these chosen one, via his music and lyrics. We were country. I recall us piling into an old station wagon to go to the food store. we agreed to be quick about it, so we can get the hell out of Springfield. We shopped at a surplus can food place with a giant rainbow on it. We couldn’t stand the bad vibes. There was a healing energy pouring down from the mountain around Blue River. We would peer into these ancient forests and see bears, cougars, and eagles. There was an old gold mine up there. We loved the feelings of being impermanent. There a power greater then ourselves – especially when the stars came out. You could feel the energy of the Milky Way. It rustled you hair a bit, and fortified your soul.

Two of the riders are no longer on this earth. I found forgiveness with Gary. There was trouble in Paradise. That’s how the Good Book begins. After exchanging some pleasant morning lines with Michael. I called him out. I said it took guts for Moses to say he had conversations with God – who showed him His backside! If we aren’t preparing ourselves to meet God – while we are alive – why read The Book! Let’s get on that horse, that only one man managed to ride? After saying this, I realized that this was the horse the Five had mounted. We were – off to see God on the Emerald Highway! This was no cakewalk.

I met Kathy Wilson in Gary’s church. I visited he at her home in Blue River.

Good Intensions Count

An hour ago I got a Big Blue thumb up from Michael when I messaged his this……

“I keep having a vision of us. The Five Horseman of Blue River, riding into the sunset. Gary, Michael, Greg Mel, Me, and Gino. Our best intentions all count. O.K. I will call you!”

Three men out of the five, suffered severely with the disease of alcoholism. Two did not. The two who did not, were deeply concerned about my brothers in AA. Would we make it? Would our sobriety, take? Would we find a Higher Power, and would that power keep us from losing – everything! EVERYTHING! We love our families, who wonder if we will remain alive for very long. This is a tough consideration. This is the road we found ourselves on. Highway 126 above Walterville, is one of the most beautiful roads in the world! I got sober in Paradise.

I just remembered Gary was at my graduation from Serenity Lane. My childhood friend, Nancy Hamren was there. They both spoke well of me. Something went wrong for me, and my sobriety. I should never have gone south, to see my family. It is a miracle I remained sober. I was not happy, and began to isolate. I read my Bible all day, for months. I was enthralled with King David capturing Goliath’s sword. I was there, with Saul on a hill, under a great tree with the Ark of the Covenant. It was like reading Tolkien.

What I discovered about Jesus’s main mission, is he ministered to people born with a disease. At the New Hope program at Serenity Lane, a special speaker lectured us on the disease factor. I looked at the twenty men, and one woman, as they took this message in. We were huddled against the ill wind, that blew hard in our faces, a cruel wind that forever blew us off course. We were a desperate crew of losers, preparing our rusty Clipper to go round the Horn. I have prayed for a……better way!

I see The Five riding into Blue River – to gospel music. We need heroes. We need Generals, who will forever surrender – to Love! This is it! It is -time!

John Presco

Copyright 2019

However, later in the same chapter, Moses requests to see God’s glory, and God replies, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. . . . But . . . you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live” (Exodus 33:19–20). To protect Moses, God put him “in a cleft in the rock” and covered him with His hand as He passed by (verse 22). “Then,” God promised, “I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen” (verse 23).

 

[Verse 1]
From the hills to Kaycee, Wyoming
Where life’s wooly and wild
Came an Air Force brat
In a cowboy hat

And that Copenhagen smile
And from bucking broncs
To honky tonks

He always sang a cowboy’s song
We were much too young
Having too much fun

As we all sang along

[Chorus]
(And we sang) Life’s a highway
There’s only one way
You’re gonna get through it
When she starts to twist
Be more like Chris
Pull your hat down tight
And just LeDoux it

When that whistle blows
And that crowd explodes
And them pickup men are at your side
They tell you good ride cowboy, good ride

[Verse 2]
From gold buckles to gold records
Well, once again he was spinning ’round
Took the whole world on
And he turned us on
To that Western Underground
And from “Bareback Jack”
To “This Cowboy’s Hat”

The songs were stronger than his pain
He would not slow down
From town to town
Like children running through the rain

[Chorus]
(And we sang) Life’s a highway
There’s only one way
You’re gonna get through it
When she starts to twist
Be more like Chris
Pull your hat down tight
And just LeDoux it

When that whistle blows
And that crowd explodes
And them pickup men are at your side
They tell you good ride cowboy, good ride

(And we sang) Life’s a highway
There’s only one way
You’re gonna get through it
When she starts to twist
Be more like Chris
Pull your hat down tight
And just LeDoux it

When that whistle blows
And that crowd explodes
And them pickup men are at your side
They tell you good ride cowboy, good ride

[Outro]
I bet he crossed that river Jordan
With St. Peter on the other side
Singing good ride cowboy, good ride
Good ride cowboy, good ride


 

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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