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Below you will find the current episode of the series, Tony's Town. Episodes generally appear weekly and when replaced by a new episode, are generally included in the Archives libraryfound on this page.  Additionally, we occasionally rerun an earlier or archived episode on the Tony's Town Reruns section following the Archive library.  We do this if an episode is relevant to a current event, particular to a recognized holiday or universal time of celebration, or if it is requested by our readers. 

If you are new to the series,we suggest you avail yourself of the archived episodes, especially the first four. They will introduce you to the people, places, and themes of the series as they appear. So, to paraphrase someone well known to us;

Welcom to our neighborhood, friend.

Tony's Town



An interesting question ... for everyone ...

THE ORGAN GRINDER’S STUNT MONKEY   

     “Make a ‘hot dog doggie’ for my little sister,” a tiny voice pipes up.  She’s sick and couldn’t come today.”

     Hmmm…a hot dog doggie, that’s a new one. Then again, I guess “dachshund” is a little tough for a five-year-old.  

     The clown beams at the tiny tots surrounding him.  “Tell you what; I’ll make a whole bunch of hot dog doggies, how about that?” he says.

     Squeals of delight echo through the air.

     Hey, you gotta give it to him, the man knows his audience.

 

     Hi, I’m Tony Baggz.  Right now, I’m looking at a six-foot man in a five-foot red polka dot suit, an explosion of curly red hair, size twenty-five shoes, a flower that squirts water, a cowbell and a huge smile.  HoBo the clown is making his famous balloon animals. And the little tykes can’t get enough. Just watching the smiles and the laughter lifts everyone’s spirits.

     It’s a beautiful summer Saturday afternoon. We’re here at the Mt. Nebo Baptist summer penny carnival.  It’s another effort underwritten by the Interfaith Council of Churches … a way to give the kids and their parents a day of fun for a quarter.  Everything costs just one penny.  It’s a day of blue skies, clowns, cotton candy, rides, games, ice cream sundaes, and the famous dunking booth.  I’ll bet every kid under ten on the South side is here.   

     Several of the local clergymen are here, together with Mike “the Russian”, Uncle Joey, “Hammer” Robinson, “Ace” Martinson, and Vito Spinelli. They’re sitting at the next booth, wrapped in wet towels, watching the fun and working on some ice cream sundaes. You see, these guys are the guests of honor at the dunk tank.  An attraction that has gained great popularity since it was introduced and has come to be affectionately known as “Dunk the Monk.”  Uncle Joey has just returned from the tank, and now it’s Reverend Mike Daniels turn as the target du jour.

     The guys love this event … wouldn’t miss it for anything.  Each has been in the tank once, and you can’t’ tell who’s having more fun, the little kids, or the big ones.

     Let’s listen in ….

      Dripping wet, “Uncle” Joey towels himself off.

     “Oops, there goes Mike, John Randall laughs, as a king-sized splash is heard.

      Chuckling at John’s remark, Pastor Swanson hands Joey a soft drink. “So, my friend … baptism by immersion … how’s it feel?”  

     “Great your eminence,” Joey chuckles, popping the top on the can “… gotta be loads of fun in January.”

      Overhearing the comment, Father Bob chuckles and looks at the sea of laughing kids. “You know, Martin, I’ve never seen these kids so happy.  They are the definition of the word, delight. So much laughter and joy in something as simple as an ice cream cone and a balloon animal. Afternoons like this makes you realize what’s really important."

     “As in, 'unless you become like one of these little ones you shall not see God. For such as these is the kingdom of heaven made,'" Mike the Russian says, a mischievous grin on his face.

     “Something like that,” the priest says softly.

     A reflective look ambles across Billy Swanson’s face. “Makes you wonder if, as a little boy, Jesus ever did something like this?”

     Pastor Williams turns to his friend.  “Oh, in some way I’m sure he did. Billy.  Why do you ask?”

     “Well, just last Sunday someone asked me if Jesus ever smiled.  It’s a question I imagine we all hear occasionally.”

     “I get it four or five times a year, myself,” Martin says. "I’ll bet we all do. After all, scripture doesn’t really show you the informal or casual side of Jesus’ existence … what His life was like in those times … what people did for fun or amusement.  I often wish I knew more about that side of our Lord’s life."

     The Pentecostal minister nods his head. “Watching these little ones, I wonder who delighted Jesus most …I mean, besides the obvious … parents, little children, kittens, puppies ….”

     “How about Martha’s sister, Mary,” Vito offers.  “She just wanted to listen.”

     Seems the guys have been listening and decide to chime in with their opinions.

      Shaking his head, Mike the Russian chuckles.  “A woman who just wants to listen? … that’d delight me.” 

     Mike's remark bring a smattering of gentle laughter.

     “Peter,” … comes another reply. “Lazarus … or maybe the one leper who came back,” comes another.  

     “The Good Thief, maybe,” Ace asks?

     Father Bob nods in appreciation. “… all good answers.” Pausing, he looks across the table. “Joey, you’re kinda quiet … any ideas.”   

     A thoughtful look crosses ‘Uncle’ Joey’s’ face as he finishes toweling his hair. Then taking a sip of the drink, he turns and smiles. 

     “Me, I’d say a Roman soldier."

     Reverend Randall raises an eyebrow.  “The Centurion?  The one who asked Jesus to heal his servant?”

     “Right.”

     “Why him, Joey?”

      “Well, because to him, Jesus wasn’t just some sort of celestial vending machine … a cosmic jackpot, if you will.”

     Vito chuckles softly. “… vending machine … you lost me.”

     Joey smiles gently at his friend.

     “Ask yourself Vito, how many people see God as a glorified jackpot.  They put in a request … pull the handle that is a prayer, and if nothing materializes, they quit on God … say He either doesn’t care, or worse, doesn’t exist.  To them, God is little more than a celestial version of Santa Claus, or maybe a slot machine, and their relationship with Him is dependent on what He doles out for them.” 

      "A good many, I’d say," Hammer says, a subdued yet reflective tone is his voice.

     “Right, and from what I’ve read, it was no different back in Jesus’ time. In fact, maybe worse. It was always, show us another sign, jump through the hoops and maybe we’ll believe in you. And make sure to do it on our terms, not yours.” 

     “Good point,”  Billy says softly, nodding in agreement.

     “And then suddenly this man of authority appears. He has a request … heal his servant. Jesus agrees and when the Lord moves to accompany the centurion, he says something our Lord wasn’t expecting.  ‘Don’t trouble yourself … I don’t need to see … I believe … you just say the word.’ Finally, someone who didn’t demand Jesus turn himself into some celestial organ grinder’s stunt monkey, performing for his satisfaction.”

     Laughing, Father Bob shakes his head in amazement.   “Celestial organ grinder’s stunt monkey? Joey … was that what I heard?  And if it is, next Sunday’s sermon just got a lot easier.”

     Joey just winks at his pastor.

     “Does that mean Joey gets a cut of next Sunday’s collection?”  Vito asks, grinning at the priest.

     Shaking his head, Father Bob chuckles and drops his chin to his chest.

     Just then Mike Daniels appears, dripping wet.  “Somebody please hand me a towel.”

     Martin’s booming laughs greets him. “Anybody miss, Mike?”

     “Not one. A couple of those kids ought to pitch for the Yankees … I saw some wicked fastballs.” 

     Sitting down, Reverend Daniels chuckles as Vito’s little girl, Maria, grabs her father’s hand.  “Your turn, Daddy.”

     Tousling her hair, Vito picks her up. “You want daddy to go for a swim?” he asks, as the little one just beams. Walking toward his watery fate, a hearty chorus of “Wade in the Water” breaks out.

     Turning, Vito looks at Billy, laughs and shakes his head …

     …“by immersion, right Rev?”

 

     How many of us treat people based only on how useful they are?  You know, “what have you done for me lately?”  

     How many of us treat God the same way?

      How many of us base our faith and our actions only on what God does for us … if he performs to our satisfaction … how useful he is in our lives?  How many of us pull the handle of prayer, expecting the goodies to appear, and walk away disappointed when we don’t get what we want, when and how we want it?  How many of us fail to show God the same patience He shows us? 

     Or maybe, how many fail to recognize the answer to a prayer, especially when it comes in a manner we don’t expect? We ask for a healing for a dying friend or relative, and when that person lives on maybe six months, then passes on, do we recognize that those six months were the answer?  That God granted, not a cure, but rather time to tie up loose ends, love more deeply, mend fences, and enjoy life even more … like that country song of recent memory says, a chance to live “like we were dying.” 

     How many of us should offer our Creator a little more delight, and maybe demand a lot less proof?

     You … me?

     Thinkaboutit … I’m Tony Baggz

copyright  2018 Tres Angeli Publishing LLC

PREVIOUS WEEK'S EPISODE

While Tony's Town is designed to feature one episode a week, with previous episodes archived, for the next couple months we will be featuring the previous weeks episode here.  As the number of readers grows, we believe this will provide our new readers with a more extensive exposure to the doings of the neighborhood gang.

Wisdom from a teen ... something we all should heed?

DEFINITION 

 

     “Hey, John, you really outdid yourself … spread looks great tonight."

     Pastor Martin Williams and Father John are in the kitchen manning the food table that accompanies every movie night.

     “Thanks Martin, but I can’t take credit. Stephanie did this. She knew I had three important meetings this afternoon, so she said she’d take care of everything.”

     “Generous and responsible; admirable young lady, your daughter.”

      Yes, I’m blessed, and proud of her. It’s funny … at times it’s like pulling teeth to get her to so much as clean up her room. Then just when you figure she doesn’t listen at all; she'll go and do something like this.  Shaking his head, Father John chuckles, “teenagers ... it’s a roller coaster ride.”

     “And then some,” Martin laughs. “But honestly John, it doesn’t surprise me. Stephanie’s always struck me as a very responsible young lady.”

     “Yea ... it’s moments like this that make me understand how right you are. I even asked her if she’d like to join us.”

    “Let me guess …” Martin chuckles, “she looked at you and rolled her eyes at the idea of spending the evening with a bunch of old men watching an old movie.”

     Nodding his head, again the priest chuckles. “Yea, I thought so too …

     … until she said yes.”

 

     Hi, I’m Tony Baggz. It’s movie night and we’re here in the family room of Father John’s house. His teenage daughter, Stephanie, prepared the spread the guys brought. For those of you who might not know, or remember, Father John is a late arrival to the priesthood. He was married for almost fifteen years until he lost his wife to a heart ailment. A former Deacon at St. Kate’s, he has two teenage kids, Matt and Stephanie, and the local bishop rents this house so the kids can live in a traditional family environment.

     Unlike the weekly Council financial meeting, aka the nickel-dime poker game, the guys share in the costs of this evening’s fare. And once again, Carmine Spinelli brought of big pan of my favorite, sausage lasagna.  Joey brought some of Samantha’s homemade bread, Ace brought a big pan of his wife’s brownies, “Mike the Russian” furnished the salads, and Bobby Pretzels bought a plate of his wife’s famous walnut fudge. Yours truly will be a happy camper tonight.

     Tonight’s movie is The Last Castle, starring Robert Redford and James Gandolfini.  It’s about a military prison and in it there is a scene that seems to have resonated with Father John, and he wanted to share it.  Hence, tonight’s feature film.

     Movie’s over, the lights are back up, everyone is getting a drink or refreshing their plate.

     What do you say we grab another piece of fudge, sit back, and listen?  I think tonight’s conversation should be interesting.

 

     “Gandolfini, didn’t he pass away?”

     Carmine nods. “Yea … several years ago. Rest in peace, Tony Soprano.”

     “John, you said the movie had a meaning we might want to take to heart,” Reverend Jacobson asks, sipping his coffee.  How do you see that?”

     A subtle smile crosses the priest’s face. “… right Jake. It was that scene where the General attempts to make the young corporal realize that although he chose a noble and honorable profession – the life of a soldier, a life defending freedom and liberty - he’s now defined himself, not by that life of honor and dignity, but by the worst two minutes of his life.  The ones that got him sent to prison.”

      Jake smiles. “I think I know what you’re getting at.”

     “Father Bob and I were talking about how various influences in the church wrongfully define people,” Father John says. “Especially the kids.”

     “Interesting,” the Presbyterian minister muses.

     “You know, Father, you have a point,” Ace Martinson says.

      “How so?”

      Well, last week, I picked up my youngest boy at pre-school. He evidently did something that annoyed his teacher, and he was in tears. Bobby’s four and in pre-school at St. Kate’s and when I asked what was the matter, he said ‘Mrs. Davis told me I was a bad boy.’ Then he looked up at me and said, ‘I don’t mean to be a bad boy, daddy.’”

      “Well, the look on his face touched me. I sat him down, wiped his tears, and explained to him that, no, he was a good boy, but in this case, he did a bad thing.” 

     “Did it work?”

     “I think so.” 

     “And I think I need to have a word with Mrs. Davis,” Father John says, half to himself.

     Ace smiles. “Thanks Father. All I know is Kristi and I’ll be more careful with our words.  Making sure the kids understand the difference between acting bad and identifying as bad.”

      “The bigger question,” the priest says, shifting in his chair, “is how much that idea extends to how we frame our teaching to our congregations.”

      Setting his coffee cup down, Reverend Williams looks across the table. “How do you mean, John?”

     “Well, we teach man is made in God’s image and likeness, but do those words lose their meaning because we don’t reinforce them enough?”

     “Or maybe don’t give them enough emphasis?” Joey adds, a question in his tone.

     “… because we dwell too much on sin and people’s moral failings?” Reverend Jacobson adds.

     The presbyterian minister sips his drink and continues.

      “Take teens for example. As they grow, the opportunities to make bad choices in difficult situations, increases. That’s the time we need to emphasize the good they are, and they do.  Sure, we need to recognize their failing, but not in the overly heavy-handed manner we too often do.”

      Sitting up abruptly, Stephanie nods and smiles. “Thank you, Reverend Jacobson. I know most of my friends think adults automatically assume because some kids make mistakes and bad decisions, we all do. That somehow, we can’t help ourselves. It’s like their ‘default’ position.”

     “Good point, young lady,” John Randall says after a moment’s pause. “We tell our children to ‘be true to yourself.’  But what does that mean when all they’ve heard is years of ‘instruction’ telling them they’re wicked in God’s eyes? Stephanie’s spot on. Doesn’t that kind of attitude, not to mention, teaching, cause people, and not just teenagers, to define themselves by their faults and their sins?”

     “And leave,” Father John says.

     “Exactly.  When all people hear is their own worthlessness or sinfulness, many turn their backs and walk away,” Mike Daniels adds.

     “And don’t return,” Reverend Jacobson, says.

     Taking a brownie from a tray, ‘Pretzels’, shakes his head. “But can’t that be taken too far? The idea that no matter what we do, we are inherently good, and will ultimately be rewarded regardless of the evil we commit?”

     “On one level I agree,” Martin says. “If that realization isn’t grounded in a proper understanding of God’s expectation of us, it becomes simply a glib rationalization for doing whatever we want.”

     “The old, ‘I don’t need religion; I’m a good person,’ justification?” Carmine asks, sipping his coffee.

     “Precisely.”

     “But, if one has a firm understanding of the goodness inherent in how we are seen by God, wouldn’t it make a person desire not to live in opposition to God’s desire for us,” Ace adds. 

     “Exactly,” Stephanie says, a look of intensity in her eyes. “I was at my friend Olivia’s the other day. Liv adores her dad and he was upset with her for something she did. He didn’t really say anything, but it was the disappointment in his eyes that Liv said hurt the most. ‘I’d rather he ground me for a month than look at me like that,’” she said.  “I know how she felt.”  

     She pauses, as the men say nothing, simply listening.

     “Wouldn’t it then be the same with God? Shouldn’t we be more reluctant to do those things that disappoint Him when we understand and believe He sees us as good, and doesn’t define us by our sins?”

     Father Bob smiles; John Randall shakes his head. “Out of the mouths of babes,” the Lutheran pastor says softly, turning to the priest. Then realizing he might have insulted Stephanie; he looks back at her and starts to apologize.

     “Stephanie, I’m … I’m sorry ... I ... I didn’t mean…”

     “Forget it Reverend, Randall,” Stephanie chuckles.  “I know what you mean.”

     Then, twirling her long auburn hair, a mischievous look lights up her eyes. “Besides, she says …

     …I am a babe.”

     And playful laughter rebounds throughout the room.

 

     One must not define others, nor allow oneself to be defined, by one’s mistakes, one’s failures, one’s sins.  It is not the way God envisioned us at our creation; it is not the way God sees each of us now.

     Yes, God sees the evil, the sin, we commit.  He sees it, but he doesn’t define us by it.  God defines us as made in His image and likeness.  As a loving father sees his child.

     Shouldn’t we do the same?

     Thinkaboutit … I’m Tony Baggz.  

©2019TresAngeliPublishing, LLC


Tony's Town Reruns

Jesus' words; words that unite all man ... of all persuasions

AMISH RACE CAR DRIVERS


     ‘Okay, I’ll bet you Boardwalk and Park Place you can’t put this miniature candy cane in the punchbowl from here.”

   Looking at the Catholic priest in the green and gold Notre Dame yarmulke, Mike Daniels, rector at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, chuckles. “You’re on, John.” Tying the candy cane on the end of the fishing line, Mike flicks his wrist sending the "lure" toward the punchbowl … and bounces it off Tiffany Spinelli’s shoulder eight feet away.

     “And you’ve won how many casting tournaments?” laughs Pastor John Randall.

     Tiffany looks down at the candy cane then up at the embarrassed look on Mike’s face, shakes her head at the three men of the cloth, and whispers …

     “Boys and their toys … some things never change.”

 
     Hi, I’m Tony Baggz.  It’s early in the New Year and we’re here in the back room at Spinelli's. It’s the Sunday holiday party for the Interfaith Council … an all-day event.

     The unofficial kick off for the New Year’s activities, the Council decided to have the Christmas party now since a lot of the gang are busy during December. And today is the feast of the Epiphany, the visit of the Three Wise Men, and their gifts. So, it all fits.

     Santa, a.k.a. Nunzio Spinelli in a red suit, black boots, a pillow for his belly and cotton for the eyebrows and beard, is sitting by the fireplace handing out gifts to the little children.  The excitement on their faces and the delight in their eyes makes the scene doubly festive.

     Small gifts, most of them of the gag variety, are being exchanged among the adults. Father O’Malley got Reverend Daniels a plastic pocket fisherman rig. What’s funny about that is Mike is a master fly fisherman and giving him a ten-dollar plastic pocket rig is like giving Rembrandt a paint by numbers set. 

     John Randall is playing with his miniature horse racing game; Billy Swanson with his three new baseballs, the exploding kind. I doubt he knows that yet. Dave Walsh is admiring his new putter, the one with a hole in the middle - Dave's golf game leaves something to be desired. Father Bob is perusing his King James concordance and Martin Williams is proudly modeling his matching Luke Skywalker toy light sabers. 

     There are camouflage golf balls for Gumshoe, a beginner’s cookbook for “Mike the Russian,” a collection of polka albums for Vinnie “Bullets,” a prank TV remote for Reverend Jacobson, a do-it-yourself witch doctor kit for Doc Rogers, water pistols for Crazy Pat, a game called “Operation” for Tommy McMichael, a book on Irish cuisine for the Spinelli brothers, Sammy “Bagels"’ miniature "basketball game for the vertically challenged" as John Randall called it, and an assortment of whoopee cushions, dribble glasses, and a few things I can’t mention in polite company. After all, some of these guys have a wicked sense of humor.

     Ah, the food is being served. Everything from sausage lasagna, ziti, and stuffed manicotti, to kosher chicken and beef dishes.  And just about everything in between. And the desserts!  I just gained three pounds looking at the dessert table. No one eats before this party, and probably for two days afterward.

     Filling a plate, Tommy heads to a corner table. Sitting down next to Rabbi Green - decked out in his brand-new Fighting Irish football jersey - he shakes his head and chuckles. I can see a question forming on his face. This should be interesting ...

     Let’s listen in …


     "Rabbi, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t get you guys,” Tommy says, a grin on his face, confusion in his eyes. 

     Sipping his coffee, Josh’s eyes light up. “How so?”

     “Well, first off, and please don’t take offense, but why are you and Sammy here?  This is a Christmas party and, well, last time I checked it wasn’t on your official calendar of events.”

     “Because it’s a great party, Tommy. It celebrates the birth of a little Jewish boy,” the Rabbi says, laughing, an impish look in his eyes. “I’ll always celebrate that.”

     Chuckling, Tommy slowly nods his head.  “Okay, I’ll give you that,” he says. “Then maybe what confuses me most is, well, I’ve never been around so many ministers of different denominations who get along so well. Back home clergymen kept to themselves, barely acknowledging each other if they passed on the street. Heck, friendly clergymen were about as common as Amish race car drivers."

     Smiling at Tommy’s dismay, Josh clasps him on the shoulder. "Don’t get the wrong idea, my young friend. To a man we admit we have our differences. But first and foremost we realize we share a common identity."

     “Common identity?”

     "That we are made in the image and likeness of our Creator.”

     “Okaaay …” Tommy says, hesitantly.

     “You see, Tommy, God made a covenant with Abraham; we Jews call it the Covenant. Christians, the Old Covenant, and your Carpenter from Nazareth is your new covenant. Okay, on that point we differ. But on one thing we do agree. It wasn’t God’s first covenant. That was an unspoken one … ‘Let us make man in our image and likeness.’ In that we find common ground."

     "I don't follow … unspoken covenant?"

     "Well, look at it this way.  If someone gives you something precious, doesn't there exist an unspoken agreement, a covenant if you will, that you treasure it, use it wisely?"

    "I guess so."

     "Right, and because, in our creation, the Creator gave us that incredible gift of Himself, we understand we have a responsibility to bring that which we have freely received to others."

     Pausing, Josh nods in the direction of his fellow clergymen and continues. "We all recognize a common call of service and realize together we can accomplish more for others than we can individually."

     Setting his coffee cup down, Reverend Williams joins the conversation.

     "Josh is right, Tommy. And there was another incident that had a profound effect on this group,” Martin says.  One day several us attended an inter-faith meeting and heard a speaker, a priest of Bob’s church, give a talk that made all of us think. It was something very basic most of us had never really heard.” 

     Martin pauses for a moment. “You were there, John ... you tell it?”

     "It was really simple, Tommy,” the Lutheran minister says, leaning forward in his chair. “This priest - I don't remember his name - said if you read the words of Scripture, you must read the punctuation, too. Citing the incident of the young rich man asking Jesus, ‘What must I do to have eternal life,’ Jesus’ answer was simple, ‘obey the commandments.’ 

     John sips his coffee and continues. “And here’s where he got our attention. He asked, what if, at that point, the young man simply said thank you and walked away?  Would Jesus have run after him saying, 'Hey, wait, come back, I have more to say. They're going to write this book and I have a great zinger about a camel and an eye and a needle?’  No, said the speaker. ‘Obey the commandments.’ Period. Jesus simply told that young man the minimum needed to attain eternal life was to obey the Law God gave Moses on Sinai. That talk had a profound effect."

     "You see, Tommy, we get along so well because we respect both the search for truth and the dignity of all,” Martin says, continuing the Rabbi’s earlier thought. “The Ten Commandments can be summed up in one word, respect."

     Setting down his wineglass, Reverend Allen joins the conversation.

    “We all believe that one day, the God we worship will explain everything," he says. "But now our common call is to respect and be of service to others. Worshipping together, that's community.  What we do the rest of the week, that's religion."

     Tommy smiles, understanding in his eyes. "Why do I think you guys said more tonight about what's right with religion with a plastic fishing rod, a football jersey, and a dribble glass than others do with all their words?"

     "Because of the Eleventh Commandment, Tommy," chuckles Father Bob. "Thy actions shall speak louder than thy words."

     Heads nod as Rabbi Josh turns to Tommy, a twinkle in his eye.

     "Now ... about those Amish race car drivers?"

 
     As Reverend Randall said, the Ten Commandments can be boiled down to one word, respect.  You’re probably thinking, “I’d say love.”  Good point, but can love really exist without respect?

     Realizing we are made in God’s image and likeness demands respect for all who hold to a belief in the same God, but honor and worship Him in a manner differing from our own understanding.

     We are called to recognize the dignity of each human being. And to work together to make, or remake, this world in the image and the likeness I imagine the Creator had in mind when He set about His work.  

     Thinkaboutit … I’m Tony Baggz.

Copyright 2012 ©Three Angels Publishing


Tony's Town Archives

Below you will find prior episodes. The have been included here in the order they appeared through the first four episodes; Church and State to Amish Race Car Drivers. Many of the people, places, and themes of the episodes are set in those first four. Also, the Tony's Neighborhood portion found immediately below is a overall view of the people and places you will find in our neighborhood. If you are new to our little neck of the woods, may I suggest you avail yourself of these so as to familiarize yourself with our little world.

Please enjoy.


TONY'S SOUTHSIDE NEIGHBORHOOD  - PEOPLE AND PLACES    Come meet the neighborhood gang and their favorite haunts.

 CHURCH AND STATE    In today's culture, what does structured religion provide society?

NAMES    Get to know many of the neighborhood gang more closely.  And what popular recording artist might need to change his nickname?

THE REPAIR    Sometimes the most trivial work is the most important.  Discover it in a conversation that occurs before, "movie night."

AMISH RACECAR DRIVERS     The 'glue' that holds uncommon relationships together puzzles a young man.  Listen to a rabbi set him straight..  

TWELVE CENTS      Sometimes the very valuable lessons in life, come at little cost.

ROLL TIDE     An prolife episode shows us sometimes those very valuable lessons come from the least likely person you would expect. 

DILEMMA     An unexpected windfall is a challenge to "do the right thing."

BLACK OPAL     Some of God's most beautiful, yet unlikely, creations, speak to us of beauty and depth beyond what's see on the surface.