Thursday, June 02, 2005

Dig Hay Zoose

The title of this article will make more sense later, but for now, you just need to know that it's the name of one of the oddest bands I admire. Their album "Magentamantalovetree" is an epic blend of art rock & punk (one website calls it "funk-punk/alternative-metal"), filtered through a deep love for Jesus Christ. Their cover of Steve Taylor's "I Wanna Be A Clone" was so good that Steve himself co-opted their arrangement for his live shows. And word on the street says they're getting back together, which means more weird music for Mark's CD collection!

But a cool & too long defunct Christian band is NOT what I'm writing about today. It's actually a vacation story.

Shari, Braeden, Collin & I packed up Monday morning (Memorial Day) and headed out to Monterey. (OK, Collin didn't do much packing.) After a stop at Casa de Fruta (which is Spanish for "tourist trap with yummy food"), we got into Monterey and promptly headed for the beach. Braeden & Shari splashed in the waves while Collin & I chatted up some folks on the beach. (OK, Collin didn't do much chatting.)

Dinner on Monday night was at this great place called The Fish Hopper down on Cannery Row, where Shari & I split Macadamia Halibut & Coconut Prawn, served on sweet potato with a citrus sauce. It was one of the best meals I've ever eaten. (And Shari, noted seafood hater, actually loved it, too. Of course, I got both the prawns, which was fine by me!)

We then headed back to the minivan, loading up the boys & driving down the coast a few miles to Lover's Point in Pacific Grove. It's a big rock outcropping that was just screaming for Braeden & I to go rock-climbing on. I got Braeden out while Shari got ready to feed Collin a bottle. And then she said, "Where'd you put the diaper bag?"

Well, I'd put the bag behind her on the sidewalk when she was loading up Collin... and told her it was there, but she was legitimately distracted. After a quick check of the car, we realized we'd left the bag behind. I almost threw Braeden back into his car seat & we took off down the winding streets back to Cannery Row.

But it wasn't JUST a diaper bag - Shari had also put her car keys & wallet (do girls call it a wallet?) with ID and credit cards in the bag. So now we were facing not only the inconvenience of losing Collin's diaper bag, but also the total crash of our vacation, as we would have to cancel our credit & debit cards.

This is going to sound a lot more spiritual than I meant it at the time, but I asked Shari to pray as I drove. (Here's the not-so-spiritual part: it really wasn't about finding the bag but keeping me from being a rear end and blaming my wife for not picking up the bag... prayer's still a good idea, but my motives were less than pure.) Shari asked Jesus to intervene, to protect our belongings, to keep us safe...

When we got back to our parking space, not more than 15 minutes since we'd left it, the bag was gone. I ran into a restaurant and a store nearby, but no one had turned in a diaper bag. The lady in the candy store even called up the closest parking garage, but they hadn't found it, either. (She also let me know that Cannery Row has a lot of homeless people, and she wouldn't be surprised if one of them picked it up.)

Through all of this, Braeden kept saying things like "Don't give up"... which was cool but a little weird. Shari & I both found ourselves listening to him - later both realizing we felt like God was speaking through him.

Anyway, Braeden's encouragement caused Shari to stop a guy trying to get into the Edgewater Packing Company (which was closed) to ask him about the bag. No luck there, but as she stood next to the van, a couple ran up to tell her their odd story. The woman had overheard me in the candy store asking about a diaper bag, but hadn't thought much about it. Meanwhile, her husband was loading their child (and stroller) into the car when a guy in a black truck pulled up and asked if they'd lost a diaper bag. When she returned from the store and her husband told her about the guy in the black Ford truck, she put two & two together and made a beeline for us.

We gave her our cell number (in case she saw him again) and then began to cruise around Cannery Row, looking for a black Ford pickup. Which, now that I think about it, is kind of funny, as I couldn't pick a Ford pickup out of a line of trucks. After 10 minutes of this fruitless search, we headed back to the hotel. I was convinced I was getting ready to spend the rest of the night talking to credit card companies.

When we arrived, I checked our cell phone messages (nothing there) and then called our home answering machine. In classic Jackson family fashion (we forget to check the answering machine sometimes), there were 11 messages. I waded through each one, finally getting to #11.

"Hi, this call is for Shari... my name is Jesus."

Only, when he said, it sounded like Hay Zoose (which explains, finally, the title of this article).

Turns out, Hay Zoose managed the Edgewater Packing Co building (which we'd parked next to) and on his way out from work had found the diaper bag. He'd tried to find out who had left it behind, but he was tired and headed home... and on his way home, he'd used information to find our home number and let us know he had the bag.

As well, Hay Zoose had had to fight with his cousin (recently out of lockup) who wanted to ransack the bag for cash & credit cards... while we were praying, Hay Zoose/Jesus was protecting our stuff. Wow.

I drove out to Salinas that night to pick up the bag... meeting Hay Zoose and getting to talk to him for a minute. I'm not sure how many times I told him that he was an answer to prayer. Before I left, I let him know that I was a follower of Christ, and that I appreciated what he'd done. He told me that he also believed in Jesus, but that he was, well, "sidetracked." So I asked him if I could pray for him... and we stood in the middle of the street & I got to talk to God on his behalf. Very cool.

Shari's still laughing about trying to write this up in her journal... "Thank you God for sending Jesus" - which has a serious double meaning in this situation.

We'd like you to pray for Hay Zoose - that God could use this crazy little incident where he did the right thing to draw him back to Christ.

Anyway, I dig Hay Zoose. And Jesus. Not necessarily in that order. :-)

This article originally appeared in the 6/2/05 edition of "the Grapevine", the e-newsletter of NewLife Community Church.


Anonymous said...

Great story Mark. I share your appreciation for DigHayZoose. Their debut album was a favorite among my college friends. But weird music is normal for someone who appreciates the likes of Daniel Amos, the Swirling Eddies, and Michael Knott. ;-)

Keep on rocking!

Anonymous said...

good story. I'm sure it was pretty stressful at times, but I'm glad it turned out great in the end. It's funny how God often uses our stressful times to speak to us or even through us.

As far as Dig Hay Zoose, I also loved MagentaMantaLoveTree, but I liked their first CD much better. It was a masterpiece.


pregador27 said...

I found this looking for the band, but the story was totally worth stopping for! Praise God for His faithfulness!

Dani In NC said...

Great story. I like to think I'm a tough old bird, but my eyes welled up a bit. Thanks for adding it to your third anniversary list of great posts.