Today In Former Years

This section of my website traces a day, or related set of days, from my diary over a span of years. Each change to a different year is marked by a yellow highlight. -- jwc

Excerpts From John Cowart’s Journals:

April  1st, 1993 to 2002


John W. Cowart

Thursday, April  1, 1993:

Eve's moving furniture woke me at 12:30 a.m. and I sagged in my office chair sleeping off and on -- mostly off -- for the rest of the night.

After seeing all the girls off to school, I dusted and vacuumed the living room and put on a stew for the family's supper.

Then I felt I should spend time in Bible study for Saturday's lesson at the mission. We approach Mark 7 this week so I did a word study of verses 20-23:

"That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these things come from within and defile the man."

I looked up each key word in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance and checked the Greek root word; then I checked the results with my Webster's dictionary.

I found that evil means worthless, diseased; something that brings sorrow, distress or calamity.

Adulteries is intercourse of a married person with someone not his spouse.

Fornication is intercourse without marriage; idolatry, unlawful lust; the root word means "to sell out".

Covetousness includes fraud, extortion, greediness, selfishness as well as a strong desire for material possessions -- take note John Cowart.

Wickedness, to go beyond reasonable limits; malice, dirtiness, hurtful, degenerate, vicious, guilty.

Deceit, to be false, to trick, to lure or decoy, to act as though something is true when you know it is not! To adulterate as if you watered down the wine.

Lasciviousness has aselgeia as its root. That means "not content". To want more and more of something (usually sex), wanton, out of control, playfully mean, cruel, without check or limit.

Evil in the term "evil eye" includes the same root as wickedness which is poneria or ponos which means anguish and pain.

Blasphemy is insulting, showing contempt for or lack of respect to God; vilification, railing against God.

Pride is to hold yourself above others while regarding them with disdain; inordinate self-esteem; haughty, stuck up.

Evil things has the same root as evil eye, wickedness  and evil thoughts

And these are the things that arise from my heart and defile -- defile means to befoul, besmirch or to make physically unclean; used of boots that have stepped in something nasty -- me.

Dear Lord, Which of the above have I not only done but wallowed in. Thank you that the blood of Christ cleanesth us from all sin! But even so, who am I to teach these poor men?

Tonight as Gin & I drove down Lem Turner Road…, we encountered a huge owl, over a foot tall, standing in the parking lot of the video store. It was beautiful! I've never before seen such a huge owl.

When we returned home, Patricia said the dog had thrown up in the kitchen floor. She pointed to a pool of green glop. "What in the world had you fed her," I asked wondering at the bright green color.... Whereupon, Patricia, the Scamp, started cackling "April Fool!" She'd mixed green food coloring with water and milk to produce the mess!

Thursday, March  31, 1994:

Rode around on the bus all morning taking Curtis' check to the bank and paying the water bill.

Here's an odd cause for praise: Remember how I only have three pairs of pants to my name? Well, two were in the wash and the other was not really suitable for the special  church service tonight... BUT, as Gin was cleaning out Eve's closet, she discovered a pair of navy blue pants which fit me perfectly! I don't recall ever having seen these pants before in my life. I don't suppose that God materialized them there out of no where, but it is odd that I may have put them in Eve's closet (or someone did) and forgot them.

Anyhow, for tonight's service, I dressed as well as I ever do. Thanks be to God.

I had made an appointment with Thad & Patrick to tour their Klutho house -- but they did not show up...

This evening, I had the privilege of washing the feet of the congregation at Good Shepherd, a great experience!

Then I stayed all night in the church praying. I have never enjoyed church more! I prayed all though the Book of Common Prayer using the family prayers in the 1928 version, reading Brother Lawrence's Practice Of The Presence Of God and Henry Drummond's Greatest Thing In The World. Then I prayed through the family prayers in the new prayer book and read I Corinthians in the New English Version...

With all this spiritual input, I imagine that what with staying up all night praying, I'll fight with Ginny, yell at the kids and kick both dogs today!

However, Jennifer, God bless her, gave me $90 this morning, April 1st, and we stopped at a yard sale in Riverside where I squandered $8 on a love gift for Ginny for April Fool's day -- a magnificent statue of two armadillos (???) dancing or fighting; it appears to be a reproduction of a Peruvian fertility image and is so ugly that it is beautiful. She was inordinately pleased and delighted... should I have saved this entry for April 1st? it's all one day to me.

Good Friday, April  1, 1994:

In the joy and light of last night's activities, I slept most of the day.

Jennifer loaned us the car and Gin picked up Eve and Donald from college to spend Easter weekend with us.

Thursday, April 1, 1999:

Spent the day cleaning up the yard extra good for Easter.

I was up on a ladder trimming vines with the electric hedge trimmer and smoking my pipe at the same time. To reach a difficult place, I started to put my pipe away and stretched down to tap it out on the heel of my left boot, a habitual practice.

A ladder is not the best place to do this.

 I missed my own heel.

As I knocked my pipe out, the dottle, the lump of red hot charcoal left in the bottom of the bowl as a residue of burning tobacco, fell into the top of my boot. It was still as hot as a charcoal briquette. Intense pain.

Of course, I was wearing high top boots instead of my usual canvas slip-ons as a safety measure because I planned to be running the lawnmower; so it took me a while to cut off the power trimmer, climb down from the ladder, unlace the boot, pull it off and crush out the burning coal.

My sock had caught fire!

Horrible pain.

It burned a hole the size of a quarter in the side of my ankle, burned it right down to raw flesh. I think I could see the surface of my ankle bone in there. I nearly fainted. I believe I went into shock. Intense pain

Thank God that Ginny caught a ride home from work and I did not have to walk to meet her this afternoon.

The comment of my sympathetic, compassionate wife as she bandaged my wound this evening:… “Oh well, John, the Surgeon General has warned you that smoking can be hazardous to your health”.

My brother David called excited about his new computer internet link. He plans to come to visit by way of Gainesville on the 8th. He wants to go fishing and to visit many people in our extended family.

Friday, April 2, 1999:

I did stagger around and finish mowing the lawn today and our yard looks beautiful for Easter.

The pain from burning my foot remains intense. Ginny uncovered some salve from the First Aid Kit and anointed the wound this evening.

Since walking presents a bit of a problem for me, we did not go out on our usual Friday night date but she brought in Blue Boy's sandwiches for our supper…

Saturday, April 3, 1999:

We enjoyed breakfast on our deck admiring our yard's profusion of flowers. Then we talked for a couple of hours, just general pleasant conversation. We'd intended to get an early start garage sale-ing but we felt so laid back … that we just cruised. We bought a light fixture for the front of the house.

And Ginny bought me a plastic sword -- the blade lights up! Wow!

One of the pleasures of going to sales is that I can buy, for a quarter, toys that I was never able to afford as a kid.

We made a second trip out to buy some groceries. We have been eating up the hurricane supplies that we bought last season and when we can afford to, we plan to replenish the stock.

Dipped in the pool and relaxed talking and pittering with plants.

EASTER Sunday, April 4, 1999:

We did not to go to church today -- Hey, it's a religious holiday.

We spent the morning moving plants and clearing the flower bed at our front door. I removed loads of trash from the storage shed and Ginny transplanted a bed of marigolds. Great fun with frequent brakes to sip coffee and chat.

Eve was to have come over at noon but she slept late and did not arrive till three (time changed today from Eastern Standard to Daylight Savings). We enjoyed a pleasant visit with her and as we were eating dinner, Jennifer and Pat (they had not called) showed up at the door and we shared our left-overs with them. They brought me a delightful foam rubber rat from Mexico; it works the same, and on a larger scale, as the spool tractors boys made when I was a scout. Great fun.

After the kids left, Gin and I cleaned up debris and gained our distance from intimacy by doing small chores in different rooms. We watched tv's X-Files and showered and got ready for the new work week.

One of our discussions over the weekend involved whether or not I should continue beating my head against the wall with this will of God book; Gin suggests that I table it and work on something altogether different for a while. For several weeks, I've toyed with resuming the novel about Fresca, the Georgia town where all residents steal from the railroad. Last week and over the weekend, I've begun my 4 a.m. days in the office by searching for the files I've already written on that project. Can't find them.

Saturday, April 1, 2000:

Ginny and I took an enormously long walk this morning. We strolled down McDuff Avenue to Trinity Lutheran Church for their yard sale, then cut across Park Street to a secluded park which we'd never noticed before, a park established by a garden club in 1933 featuring native area plants.

We visited several individual yard sales; at one I bought an incense burner from Arabia. We paused for a while in Boone Park, then shopped at Trinity Methodist Church for their sale. We hiked further afield down to St Johns Avenue and across Fishwier Creek to the Publix Grocery Store on Roosevelt Blvd. Back down Roosevelt to the Woody's B-B-Q for lunch then on to Florida Community College, Kent Campus, where we caught a bus for the stop closest to home.

As we strolled we talked about houses and flowers and trees. We saw a turtle in a roadside pond and we enjoyed clouds and people and all the wonders you never see from a car.

The walk would have been perfect if we had not bought so many heavy books at the first sale we stopped at and had to lug them all those miles.

Back home we studied Job till late in the evening. (Time changed tonight so we set all the clocks ahead one hour.)

Sunday, April 2, 2000:

Sore from yesterday's trek, we hobbled to church to teach Job. I'd assigned chapters 16 & 17; the class was to read and mark anything in the text that reminded them of Jesus and to locate a New Testament reference paralleling the verses they found in Job.

 Great participation.

 I used two visuals: a coffee mug with a black space covered by the words "He's Here!" -- the black space turns white revealing a little man when you add HOT WATER to the mug. Sometimes God remains invisible in our lives until we are in hot water.

I also used a board covered with nail studs on which class members place numbered wooden strips to spell out the name JESUS in hidden lettering; this gimmick refers to John 5 where Jesus said, Search the scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life and they are what testify to me.

Fifteen people in class today.

After we walked home we read our library books ignoring each other in quite companionship.

Sunday, April 1, 2001:

Back before Christmas at a yard sale I bought a fool's cap. It sports three points ending in tassels with bells and it's made of metallic cloth colored red, gold and green.

Ginny had never seen this wonderful hat.

To wake her for April Fools Day, I climbed back into bed with her, naked except for this cap, and tickled her nose with my belled tassels...

She was less than thrilled.

Oh well.

What will please the woman?

She felt out of sorts all day, so we avoided eachother, working in separate areas of the yard all day.

Jennifer had promised to take us grocery shopping today but when I called her she had made other plans and put us off till Monday. Since we'd planned our menu through yesterday, we had little to eat in the house so we took a bus down to King street and ate super at Panda House.

Then we walked home to watch an English program called Robot Wars on television; people spend thousands of dollars to build fighting robot powered by lawnmower motors or wheelchair motors, etc. and use weapons on these machines to destroy the engines built by other people. Great fun for all. We'd never seen anything like it.

This was not our best weekend. 

Monday,  April 1  2002

Back to work on my new computer.

Wes Basset called to take me to lunch at Kosta’s and we talked church and theology. This evening Gin and I played computer a good bit ... We were not quite synchronized but it was pleasant nevertheless.

Tuesday,  April 2,  2002

A frustrating day on the computer. After I hammered a template for book manuscripts into shape all day, just before I walked to meet Gin’s bus, the whole day’s work disappeared into the ether!  L

So&so called saying his wife was taken off the respirator this morning and is now breathing on her own. I felt he tried to guilt me into feeling bad because I did not rush up to Savannah to help or send them money; he kept talking about how much her children did.

Good for them.

I was not asked for anything and I did not volunteer anything this time round.

Last time this happened, Gin and I gave up the money we’d saved for Christmas shopping and took it Savannah to So&so  – who used it to go Christmas shopping that same day for their step-children.

Crap! I know that when we give, we ought to let go, but hey, we could have used that money for our own Christmas shopping but I thought they were in very bad shape and we were giving up our money to help them survive.

The Lord loveth a cheerful giver – where does that leave me?

 Once bit, twice shy.

I can’t tell what is a real emergency for these people and what is normal day to day living with sickness. And I don’t know what, if anything, I’m to do to help. I wish them well, but So&so has always had a way of enmeshing me in his schemes so I’m leery of anything involving him or Betty Jean.

Lord, forgive me my trespasses as I forgive … So&so.

But, does forgiving mean to set myself up as a patsy again and again?


Lead me, Lord. I’m willing to do whatever and be whatever, even a repeat patsy in Your service. Help me be harmless and gentle as a dove, yet wily as a snake .

This evening I played with Varga girls for my matchbox covers. Great fun.

Tuesday, April 1, 2003

Eve came over this morning, telling me about her trip to Atlanta and being a bridesmaid for Marcie. She took photos of various flowers in our yard, especially the bed of amaryllis lilies at our front door:

I spent most of the day reading novels and feeling guilty about not working.

At Gin’s work today she started accepting applications for summer camper-ships; She had close to 700 parents come into her office to apply on this first day of the program.

For several days now I have thought about L*****, whom I have not seen in over a year,  and I felt an inclination to call her.

So tonight I did.

Her mother father died recently and she wanted to talk about the experience. I don’t know if I will ever see that family again, but the call tonight was the right thing to do.

I wanted to tell L****** about my web site and impress her but it really did not seem appropriate.

War and SARS fill the news still.

 But TV has managed to make war boring.


I still struggle, but not hard, with depression.

 Am I ever going to come out of this?

Wednesday, April 2, 2003

Spent most of today dabbling in the garden and reading Philip Yancey’s Reaching For The Invisible God. The book contains lines which inspire me toward renewing my own dedication to Christ.

Again. I have fallen so often and so far that I despair of ever being Christian. Yancey points out that my falling disappoints my own expectations of my own piety. He says the world is good; the world is fallen; and the world is redeemable. That’s what Christ does.

SARS has appeared in three cases in Florida but the State Board of Health refuses to day where. They want  “to protect the patients’ privacy”. To me that says Orlando and they want tourist to come to Walt’s World in spite of the risk, so long as they spend money before they die.

Can Christ redeem my cynical attitude?

One news station says our army has “destroyed” Iraqi Republican Guard units; the other stations say the guard has withdrawn into Baghdad getting ready to ambush our guys in house to house fighting where they have the advantage since our guys are not supposed to kill the civilians the Iraqis use as human shields, and our air superiority is of limited use.

So goes the world.


Thank you for visiting  
I welcome your comments at John’s Blog!
You can E-mail me at
Return to John’s Home Page
              You can view my published works at