|Merry Christmas to all of you who venture to this well done web-site...Hope your Christmas was joyous and eventful...I know mine was..Would like to share an article I sent to the local paper on Sunday....
A Christmas Story
For many years now we have seen a figure in our community who pops in and out of the picture from year to year. He is known to many simply as Joe the street preacher.
As human beings we tend to fear the things we cannot see and do not know anything about. I have had many occasions to talk with Joe. Joe's world may not be the same one we all live in but it is not a bad world. You can see him all over town dancing and playing his guitar on the streets for hours at a time dressed in his
sheapard street garb. I have heard many say they are afraid of him and condem him. But how many of who do this have talked to the man. I had one occasion when I saw him playing with some small children and he had no idea anyone was watching him. I like many others back then thought it strange that he would be playing with small children, a man dressed like that. I watched him for more than an hour running around playing hide and seek laughing and playing like a kid himself. He never got to close to the children or made any contact with them and the kids were laughing and playing with him and really enjoyed his friendship.
I am a musician and have played in local bands most of my life. I took the time one year to give Joe a set of strings for his guitar and two days later he sent me a return gift. One year at work we gave Joe a nice leather coat only to find out he had given it away to someone he said needed it more than himself. Joe lives and sleeps outside in all wheather. He has little but gives everything. If you talk to him you may not understand him because his world does not exactly mirror our own. Talk to him long enough and on his own terms he makes sense.
On Saturday I saw Joe standing playing his guitar, which by the way he can play very well, standing by the Montoursville Bridge.
I drove by him hurrying my way home with so many things to do before Christmas when it struck me. What is this season all about? Sharing, giving, caring. But is that reserved for only people we love. Is it not for Joe also. I called my Son and ask him if he had a couple of extra sets of guitar strings that he could give to Joe and I was going to wrap up some cookies for him and slip him some cash if he would take it. When we approached him he did not make eye contact at first thinking we were just some more people who were going to tell him to move on. But I yelled at him and said "Hey brother I got something for you". What we gave to Joe that day he really was not excited at all about. The strings the cookies and the money I gave him meant little to him over us actually taking the time to talk to him and wish him a Merry Christmas. Of course he had to give us something back so he gave us a photo of himself playing with a blues band and showed us a Christian CD they had cut together with a title of "Saints and Sinners" and pointed out the songs he wrote. He sadly said to us that we were the only people who had showed him any hospitality since he came back. How many of you drove by him this Christmas season and yelled at him "Merry Christmas Joe"..How many of you drove by and said "There is that bum again he scares me". Upon saying goodbyes to Joe the street Preacher he gave us some pamphlets about Jesus to read. Before leaving I said "Joe I want you take that money I gave you and get yourself something to eat". His answer to me was "Brother where do you want me to go, they hate me and they want to hang me wearever I go and all I want to do is good for them". He believes in the same God all of us Christians believe in but in his own way he is trying to save souls. How many souls have we saved for God. We all live our Wonderful Lives in our warm homes with Family and Freinds all around us and yet we still search for even more out of life to be happier. I have never seen Joe without a smile on his face. He needs so little to keep him smiling and doing his work for the Lord as he puts it. So this Christmas Season if you see Joe out there doing what Joe does wave to him and wish him a Merry Christmas. Stop and talk to him
and it will make a world of difference in your life and his. If you give him anything he will probably just give it away to someone else cause thats what makes him feel good. Let us not judge him or condem him but welcome him. How many of us would give up our worldly goods and live as Joe does to spread the Word of Our Lord?
Merry Christmas Joe
Monday Christmas Eve Joe was arrested by 2 State Police Officers. They left what little belongings he had under a bridge he was using for shelter from the elements. I am not sure why they arrested him as of this writing. He likes to jump up and down playing a snow shovel and singing out loudly as he is shoveling someones walk for no pay. I am assuming the house he was in front of must have called the Police because it was disturbing for them. Joe is obviously
Mentally I'll in our way of thinking. He talkes about things sometimes that will not make sense but I have never seen him to harm or intend harm to anyone and always Preaches the Word of the Lord...They will lock him up again in an institution I am sure until they again will release him on good behavior and we will see him again doing what he does in his life only to be repeated again and again..
It is somewhat sad that during these Holidays a lot of Folks cant open their hearts instead of their pocketbooks to make someone happy, even if he may be other then normal