Bean Jam Recap!
First off, I have 100 blogs to write. My last update was a shout-out to Predators making their way to the shelves at Walgreens. It looks like folks are enjoying the Predator packouts. I love this line, I say this about every line but of course they're all my babies. I dare not cast any one line into the shallows, they are all precious, my precious (hint). A ton has passed since the last update – plans, trains, planes, automobiles, Bean Jam, Game Stop Expo, Sanrio Jam, Japan Jam, deals, forecasts, production, huge deliveries, licensor approvals, marketing plans, Comic Con plans, tradeshow plans, boats, trucks, Ghostbusters, contracts, new retail exclusives for end of year, and retail exclusives for 2020…wow, my head is spinning, like I’m in one of those wind chambers (as seen on TV) with all the dollar bills blowing around, trying to grab a few, but it's not money I’m taking stabs at, it’s just getting level, on the level (another hint), caught up with work but the work is like a vine, its course its own, dominion over everything….the never ending term paper, a captain to Oceana, through seas of all sorts, of all temperaments. “I have a blog for that” (my new t-shirt trending slogan), just need to sit and write. Fitting this political season – “I have a plan for that”, well, “I have a blog for that!”
I was telling my partner today – TLS, my work, our collective work is meaningless without deep connections; i.e. we need to connect, we need to communicate with people on a deep, and meaningful level. Selling “stuff” is irrelevant. Wanting to be rich is irrelevant. Celebrating oneself is irrelevant. Making all experiences about one’s self is irrelevant. You can have it all, and if your legacy is fulfilling your whims, and “dining for one” then what’s it all for? We have a shot to do good, to communicate with folks on a deep, meaningful level, to learn, to listen, to evolve…I’m going to take that shot, I’m going to express my gratitude that I get the opportunity every day to serve folks who choose to have a happy, meaningful, mutually creative, and fun experience with TLS. That’s where my joy comes from. Of course, I own a small business, challenges galore, it’s not only the creative engine that drives me, it's the opportunity to connect, to do better, to meet people at a sincere, genuine, deep, and meaningful place, where we can all share our passions and joy. That’s why I wake up, grab the lunch pale, and hit the quarry each and every day. We’re all giving it our all, we’re all building something special, a once in a lifetime opportunity to communicate with each other on some cosmic plane, sharing our creative sprit, our like-mindedness, and sense of community, to build each other up. That’s where it’s at!
Bean Jam is all that and a bag of chips. Bean Jam is the definition of love, acceptance, like-mindedness, shared values, and yes, “friendship is magic.” The laws of attraction – it took little more than one of the most positive guys I’ve had the opportunity of knowing to pull a Los Angeles Company to Nashville so we can celebrate, with that positive connective tissue, on our shared passions for pop culture. It's as simple as that. Positivity begets positivity. I would do it all over the world, I’m like that plus end of a battery, if I feel the energy, I’m there! I have a creative vision, I’m wanting to express my creativity with folks who are tapped into the same energy stream: that’s meaning, that’s power, that’s alignment of good natured energy, the reason we all found each other, the reason I will continue to go out to Nashville each year so I can party with my pals!
Recap of Bean Jam: Jason did an eloquent job, I would hesitate to trample on his poetic recollection of the fantastic night we all enjoyed. I’ll keep it short. We played a ton of games, we shared hugs, hand shakes, a cheers or two together, some good eats, some ripping guitar player busting Stevie Ray Vaughn licks in the other room, I had the mic turned off on me by the BB King’s staff mid speech (lol), a ton of killer prototypes were handed out, quite a few killer Action Vinyls were handed out, folks busted out some insane customs, people flexed their imaginations, showed off their artistry, new friendships were forged, folks had on some killer costumes, Prince Adam, He-Man, and Retsuko showed up…in short, the night was epic, and won by all!
Bean Jam has allowed me the opportunity to connect to my roots. I’ve spoke on this before, there’s a town outside Columbia, Tennessee called Cathey’s Creek. I’ve heard about this town since I was kid. My father, grandmother, and grandfather all mentioning it through the years. No specifics, just a mention. My father has never been, maybe when he was a small child but nothing in the way of his recollection. I’ve only heard of this place, that’s it. Last year, I drove out with Caitlin, it was right before dusk, we reached the road plated with the Cathey name at the time the sun was retiring, I stopped, took a picture, fire flies lighting their lamps, speaking in Morse code hovering above the small field by the road side. Like a scene lifted from a Mark Twain adventure. We pressed on, although there wasn’t a streetlight, and the road look to wind its way through a small forest of trees flanking both sides, of nothing more than a two-lane country road. We reached a Church, head lamps on, in hindsight probably an unsettling sight for church goers in a rural community, seeing a stranger press on in front of the church doors with head lamps, like two imposing eyes. A lady walked out of the church, met the car half distance from the church door and the front fender of my rental, and she said, “Can I help you?”, in the most congenial southern continuation. I said, “Yes, my name is Jonathan Cathey, this church looks to be named after my family.” The church, if you recall from my past acknowledgment of this encounter, aptly named “Cathey’s Creek Church (Episcopalean)”. She, hardly impressed, replied “There’s a few of you buried out back.” We turned around, headed on back the way we came. It was dark by then.
My Grandparents, even my father had always represented themselves as Episcopalian. As a kid I was like, “Episco-who?” I had no idea what it meant, what the intentions were, what they practiced, what they believed, what they did in general. They Episcopalian’ed as far as I knew, and what on earth that meant, I hadn’t a clue. Now, I understand.
This year, I decided once more, to drive out, compelled by some unfulfilled quest, a need to go back to this church. The lady had mentioned there were Catheys buried out back. I wasn’t sure what that meant, if it was a large cemetery, a small cemetery, or nothing at all? My father was an only child, my grandparents always longing for the South but somewhat, and tragically captured by distances between their new home in California, and the arduous trips to a land that once was in their recollections, a “once was” of paradise lost from their nostalgic heart keeps. Perhaps my grandfather had a fear of flying, whatever the reason my grandparents’ omphalic connection to their roots was eroding over time, so was our history as Tennessee took a permanent shape into California. All that was left, a family tree outlined by a cousin, and mentions of Cathey’s Creek on occasions of get together, like Thanksgiving, or Chritsmas Eve. Never a detail, just the name. I found it incumbent to my own soul’s curiosity to see what this “Cathey’s Creek” was all about, and look no further than visiting the church once more.
I took the same drive, and oddly familiar with the place I had traced with an original attempt in the twilight of dusk’s domain just one year before. Again, I found myself at the intersection of nowhere and “Cathey’s Creek Road”. Onward to the Church. This time it was day, not long to dusk but just enough daylight to take in the whole soak. What a beautiful country, and sure enough, a creek gurgled it’s way, carving a path along side the road, eventually demanding a bridge for those seeking to pass over its persistent current, a patient pace. On the other side of the bridge was the Church. This time, in the quiet of the late afternoon. The cicadas were serenading. A meadow lay bare. The church quiet. I walked with Caitlin and a friend down to the creek; there we spotted a tapestry of butterflies, and in the creek small minnows of some species, of some sort, fighting their way through the current snacking on bits of moss. After some reflection we walked back to the Church. Caitlin urged to see the cemetery, assuming there would be one since the lady from the year before mentioned in passing, so we started up past the church, up a gravel path, and sure enough behind the church was a small gate with two leveled planes stepped one above the next. The cemetery. We entered the grounds cautiously, walking past old headstones, some from recent, some as old as the 1700’s. It was peaceful. After searching the lower level, I remarked, “No Cathey’s yet.” As our exploratory committee moved on like librarians through a shuffle of cards locating the destinations for certain books I heard, “I found one! Actually, I found a bunch!” On the upper level there were gravestones, grave markers, and such, all with the name “Cathey”. A prominent gravestone stood out, the head stone read “James Dickey Cathey, and Martha Galloway”. A husband/wife laid to rest side by side. Why this is important, let me tell you – I had grown up knowing my Grandfather’s dad was named James Dickey Cathey, Dickey, as custom of the time, the maiden name for his mother, and as is the custom would become his middle name.
I found my great grandfather, and my great grandmother.
I was given zero direction for a quest that wasn’t a quest, just a feeling, a curiosity, and something pulling me inside that I needed to connect to roots, to family which I hadn’t before, and here I stood on a late summer’s eve in a small township in rural Tennessee at the foot of my great grandparent’s grave, something my own father hadn't done. Emotions came in waves, it was hard not to shed a tear of joy for finding someone I hadn't known but in relation was so close to me, was in part, me. Next to my great grandparents lay my grandfather’s baby brother who had died as an infant, by relation, my great uncle. And more Cathey’s, laid to rest as far back as the 1700’s. It was hard to grasp the magnitude of the day, here I am without a map, and in the needles and pins hiding in haystacks around this beautiful globe I found my way to my great grandparents’ graves, in which I told them I loved them, and thanked them for the life I had been given, and the link to our chain that I am proud to ferry.
Energy begets energy.
I’ll be peppering more stories, more updates in the next week – the next 10 year anniversary release, T-Shirts finally available on our website, the unveiling of our new website, my recap of Japan with Sanrio, Ghostbusters, MHA retail availability dates, Aggretsuko retail availability dates, and more! Stay tuned! Just for the sake of sakes, here’s me opening Star Wars toys for my birthday, probably Empire Strikes Back era (1980), plus some BMX air action! Last pictures in the picture sets below.
PS Thank you to Steve Johnson. These events are great in a large part to his efforts. Same with Justin Albion, Brian Johnson, and all the great folks who helped set up, and who cared to make Bean Jam a special event, and that it was! Thank you Jason Bean for being a positive force in everyone's lives.