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Pow wow Time

June Newsletter, 2015  Rick McPherson

In a recent YouTube video I talked about the Pow wows in our city, state and country.  For Native Americans, the Pow wow is a very special event.  Wikipedia describes them like this:

“A pow wow (also powwow, pow-wow or pau wau) is a gathering of some of North America’s Native people.  The word derives from the Narragansett word powwau, meaning “spiritual leader”.  A similar gathering by Californian Native Peoples usually in the fall is called a Big Time.  A modern pow wow is a specific type of event for Native American/First Nations people to meet and dance, sing, socialize, and honor their cultures.  Pow wows may be private or public.  There is generally a dancing competition, often with significant prize money awarded.  Pow wows vary in length from a one-day event, to major pow wows called for a special occasion which can be up one week long.”

Over the past several years we have participated in one of the largest pow wows in the country, Crow Fair in Crow Agency, Montana.  Our friend and pastor of the local church, Ken Pretty-On-Top,  has hosted us and together we have delivered truckloads of groceries, boots and household supplies to thousands of Native Americans.  To capture the beauty of this pow wow, do a Google search for “Crow Fair” and you will see the regalia, parades, rodeo and tipi city that make it the largest Native American gathering.  It is very encouraging to hear the reports from Pastor Ken and know that men, women and children are accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior at the church in Crow Agency. 

Another pow wow that we support is in Turner, Oregon and is presented by Wiconi International.  This pow wow also includes a camp-meeting and is the result of the ministry of Richard Twiss.  Native Americans from the Pacific Northwest and California attend this week-end event for all the traditional Native activities plus worship, praise music and the preaching of God’s Word. 

And in our own back-yard,  we provide a prayer tent, Bibles, literature and bottled water for the pow wow at Delta Park in north Portland.  Last year we saw hundreds of Native Americans stop by for shade, a cold bottle of water, encouraging words and prayer for specific needs.  It is a beautiful example of cross-cultural ministry set in the trees and green grass at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. 

Allow me to finish this newsletter with two specific requests.  They are vital for our ministry.  First, please pray for us.  Include us in your prayer journal, Sunday church bulletin or small group.   Second, help us financially.  I don’t need to remind you that these ministries all cost money, but I will.    When you send a financial gift it enables us to keep on telling the story of God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.  Thank you for praying and giving. 

If you’ve never attended a pow wow before, make you plans to do so.  Hopefully we’ll bump into each other. 

*******************

 

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Repetition Is a Good Thing

May Newsletter, 2015  Rick McPherson

Both of our grandsons are playing Little League baseball this year.   They have uniforms and gloves, batting helmets and cleats, aluminum bats and sunflower seeds.  They have everything you need to play the game …except for one thing, experience.  They’re beginners.  In order for them to improve and play well they have to practice the same thing, over and over.  Hitting, hitting with power, running, catching and throwing all are achieved the same way, practice.    You must do the same thing hundreds and then thousands of times to become good.  Repetition is the key ingredient.  Repetition is a good thing! 

When you think about it, repetition affects everything we do.  And, the most important things in life, the words that we speak, need to be repeated constantly.  Words like, “I love you,” “I forgive you,” and “I appreciate you.”

With that in mind, I want to repeat myself in this newsletter.   Allow me to say again what I have said before.  These are statistics about the people that we serve in this ministry, “the forgotten people,” Native Americans. They are as important as any people-group or culture on planet earth, yet they experience conditions every day that are unbelievable.   For example:

*The infant mortality rate among Native people is about 300 percent higher than the national average.

*Nearly 10 percent of all Native American families are homeless.  The rate of Native homes without electricity is about 10 times the national average and 20 percent of Native homes have no running water.

*Native Americans have the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the United States.  The poverty rate is 25 percent.

*From 1999 to 2004, Native males from 15-24 years had the highest suicide rate compared to males of any other racial group. 

 I could also tell you about alcoholism, drug addiction, gang violence, domestic abuse and abominable activities that are common place on the Reservations and in Native communities.  But, my point is to remind you that there is still work to be done.  Ministry is not stopped because the statistics are overwhelming.  In fact the message of God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness is even more meaningful than ever. 

When John the Baptist had heard in prison of the works of Christ, he sent his disciples to ask, “Are you the Coming One , or do we look for another?”

Jesus said, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.  And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”  St. Matthew 11:4-6

In this incredible list of miracles, authenticating His ministry, Jesus includes the fact that the Gospel is being preached to the poor!  That bears repeating, the Gospel is being preached to the poor.  The needs are great, the statistics are staggering, the suffering is overwhelming but the message of God’s love is being delivered. 

So, let’s keep doing it.   Let’s keep repeating ourselves.  Let’s tell the story of Jesus.  Let’s tell of His mercy, grace, patience, kindness, joy, peace, gentleness and goodness.  Keep saying it.  Keep singing it.  Keep praying it.  Keep repeating it.

After all, repetition is a good thing!

PS  Thank you…for repeating your support of this ministry.  Your gift, whether large or small, enables us to continue this work.  No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.  God bless you!

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Old Pickups and Blackberry Bushes

April Newsletter, 2015  Rick McPherson

A lady called me the other day and asked if we still accept vehicle donations for the Mission.  “Sure do,” I said. 

I asked where she lived and what kind of vehicle it was and if she had the title.

“Oh, it’s way out in the county and it’s a one ton truck that my late husband used to haul his horse trailer and yes I have the title,” she answered. 

After calling in a few favors I headed out with two friends, one of our own trucks with a trailer and winch and found the truck in the blackberry bushes in the rain.  She was right; it was way out in the country.  But we prevailed and finally had the truck on the trailer and headed home.  It was an adventure, so to speak. 

Not all of our vehicle donations are quite as challenging.  But all of them are important to us.  You see, when people donate a vehicle to us; and it can be a truck, car, motorcycle, boat, airplane, moped, jet-ski, motorhome or trailer, it helps us greatly.  In fact, if it has a title we can accept it.  And, as a 501 (c) (3) corporation we can provide a tax receipt for the donation. 

Some of the vehicles that are donated are given to needy individuals on Reservations.  Depending on the type of vehicle, like four-wheel drive trucks and Jeeps, some are well-suited for the rough terrain that we often experience on the Rez.  Others are sold at auction and the proceeds are used for the work of the Mission.  Either way, the vehicle’s value really helps us! 

You may have a vehicle right now that’s in your driveway or just in the way and you’re wondering what to do with it.  We can help!  You can donate it to the Mission and we’ll arrange to have it towed and solve your problem.  Or, you may have a vehicle in the carport or shed or barn or just sitting under a tree with a wind-blown tarp covering it.  Once again, we can help!  And your donation will help us as we help you.  To coin a phrase, “it’s a win-win situation!”

In today’s economy, we watch every penny so that we can continue doing this ministry.  We also are direct in asking people to help us financially.   By donating that vehicle you will be helping us as we help Native Americans.  Take a moment today and call me, (503) 492-0904 and let’s put that old vehicle to use again.  Or, you may want to use the enclosed envelope and make a donation by writing a check.  Whatever the amount, whether large or small, your gift will be appreciated and used in this ministry helping families and children know more about God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness. 

You may also have friends or relatives who are wondering what do with that old Chevy parked by the barn, or the Honda with the bad paint job.  We’ll gladly receive them and use them for this ministry.  Tell your buddies at work about what we do and help us get the word out…WE ACCEPT VEHICLE DONATIONS. 

I’m not expecting every vehicle retrieval to be an adventure that ends up in the blackberry bushes, but if that’s what it takes … so be it!  I’m all in. 

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Water, Water Everywhere!

March Newsletter, 2015  Rick McPherson

As I looked through the windshield of the Freightliner I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the scenery and the weather.   The Columbia River Gorge on a good day is about as spectacular as any place you can name.  And when you combine the view with bright sunshine and perfect blue skies, it is very impressive.  

The big Detroit diesel was pulling at 1,400 RPM and I had a good load on the 48’ trailer for the Nez Perce Reservation in Lapwai, Idaho.  I would be there late in the afternoon and unload first thing in the morning.  It was one of those “ten” days when everything was right.  Even the farmers in Eastern Washington were taking advantage of the beautiful spring weather and were working their fields in Dayton, Pomeroy and Walla Walla with massive tractors and equipment. 

One of our donors had given us water.  Lots of water!  Twenty-two pallets of bottled water, to be exact.    Think of a wooden pallet, four feet by four feet loaded five feet high with water and then multiply that by twenty-two.  Even though it’s overwhelming, it’s also a real blessing.  Especially on the Reservation. 

We loaded a large portion of the water on the trailer and then added groceries, boots, clothes, household supplies and even some fresh bread and vegetables and called the N.A.M.E.  (Native American Missionary Evangelistic) Church and said we were on our way. 

As I drove I did not miss the symbolism of the water.  Practically, it was a gift that would bless Native Americans during the Pow Wows and camp meetings to come, but more importantly it represented the life that Jesus gives.  I remembered the story when Jesus met a woman at a water well in Samaria and asked for a drink.  Her response was confused and wrapped in history, politics and culture.  His was pointed when He said,

“Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.  But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  John 4:13

That’s what this ministry is all about, everlasting life.  Telling the story.  Delivering the message.  Giving the goods.  Loving the people.  Doing the work. 

And without people like you, we could not do this work.  Your financial gifts help make this ministry successful.  Will you take a moment and use the enclosed envelope to send your gift at this time?   Or, you can use our secure Pay Pal link on our website: pacificnwoutreach.org.    Any amount, large or small will make a difference.  And, it will help give the water that brings everlasting life.

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Boots on the Ground

February Newsletter, 2015  Rick McPherson

I was in the Produce department at Costco when my phone rang.  It was Chuck Coble from the Quinault Reservation.

“Hey Rick do you have any boots?” he asked.

“Chuck, I’ve got nothing for you.  The shelves are bare.  But as soon as I get some, you’re number one on my list,” I said. 

The Quinault Reservation is on the Pacific Coast, north of Aberdeen, a sleepy little fishing village in Washington State.  It’s in the Olympic Rain Forest where they measure the annual rainfall in feet, not inches.  For generations the area has relied on fishing and timber to sustain itself but the recent downturns in economy have resulted in poverty and hardship.  When you add the reality of illegal aliens and drug trafficking the outlook is bleak. 

In the middle of it all is the Church at Quinault where Gary and Carmen West have served as pastors for over 40 years.  And preceding the Wests were the Gilberts who also totaled 40 years.  John Gilbert is often seen operating the fork-lift when we unload our trucks and trailers.  Imagine over 80 years of ministry with two faithful pastors and their wives.  I had the privilege of speaking at the church not long ago and it’s impressive to see 125-150 people gather on Sunday mornings for Bible classes, singing praise and worship songs and the preaching of God’s Word. 

Now, they’re asking for boots.  Not groceries, boots.  A pair of insulated, water-proof boots are cherished on the Reservation.  And although you can’t eat them I wonder if they wouldn’t choose them everytime over the food.  Especially when they’re free!  Who gives away free boots?  We do.  In fact everything we take to the Reservation is free.  The groceries, the household supplies, linens, pillows, blankets, hats, gloves, winter jackets…it’s all free.  We never take an offering or require payment from the Native Americans.   So, if a Native is hungry, we feed him.  If he’s cold, we clothe him.  If he needs boots, we get them.

I made my calls to get the boots and prayed and waited.

Then the call came, “Hey Rick, got some boots for you, come and get ‘em.”

We loaded the truck and headed for the Rez.  When you fill up the pantry with groceries, household supplies, bottled water and the prized boots it brings great joy.   Heaven only knows how many Native Americans have been helped by the free gifts and ministry supplied through the Church at Quinault.  And because of people like you who help us do this work. 

We all know there’s no such thing as a “free lunch.”  It costs money to do ministry.  It always has.  Although we talk about “free”, money comes from somewhere to make it free.  Today, I’m asking you for your financial help. 

Will you take a moment and use the enclosed envelope to send your financial gift today?  Anything you give whether small or great will be appreciated.  You can be a part of this ministry as we continue to put boots on the ground. 

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Just A Pile of Ashes

January Newsletter, 2015  Rick McPherson

“It burned down last weekend,” Babe said.

“Some people from the reservation broke in to the trailer and to keep warm they built a fire and it burned to the ground,” she continued. 

It wasn’t what I was expecting to see or hear, but it was true and only a few days before Christmas.  We would do the best that we could with a bad situation.  The boots, groceries, hats, gloves and household supplies were unloaded and trucked away to a storage shed.  The gifts, toys and candy were cherished.  The trailer that had been ear-marked to store the load was now just a pile of ashes.   It was a reminder, again, that life on the rez is hard.  Sometimes, it’s unbearable. 

Included in this newsletter are the photos of three of the four different Christmas trips this year.  We set a lofty goal to serve four reservations and we succeeded.  The Nez Perce in Idaho, the Quinault in Washington and the Yakama at White Swan and Celilo Falls all received trucks and trailers loaded with groceries, gifts, toys, boots and clothes.   Each outreach trip was made possible by people like you who help us with prayer and money to do this ministry.  Thank you for your compassion and generous heart. 

Now, a brand new year lies ahead.  It will be filled with good and bad, laughter and tears, victories and defeats, mountain tops and valleys.  It will be life!  And, it will be ministry to Native Americans, both physically and spiritually.    We will do our best and God will help us.  At the end of 2015 there will be new names in Heaven’s Book because of our efforts.  And, just like the Angels, who rejoice when one person repents and is saved, we do too! 

As you consider your plans for this year, would you pray about helping this ministry on a monthly basis with a financial gift?    Your help will make a difference and give hope, when life seems hard and unbearable. 

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December Newsletter, 2014

December Newsletter, 2014  Rick McPherson

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Rueben’s Toy Boat

November Newsletter, 2014  Rick McPherson

A couple of years ago we met Rueben on the Nez Perce Reservation in Lapwai, Idaho.  Attached to this newsletter is the article describing our experience.  What I didn’t know was that Don, one of our team members, promised Rueben that he would get him a remote-controlled toy boat.  His promise was fulfilled last week when I delivered an eighteen wheeler load of groceries and household supplies to the Reservation for Christmas.  You will see in the pictures that Pastor Antonio Smith is holding the boat to be given to Rueben.  Don had remembered his promise to the little boy and made sure that the toy boat was in the cab of the Freightliner before I left.  Of all the things that I’ve delivered through the years, Rueben’s toy boat is the best!

The pictures tell the story.  You can see the pallets of fresh onions, groceries and boxes of household supplies with pillows, blankets and towels lining the sidewalk before being stored away in the Food Pantry.  We even had a couple of mattresses and a bed frame on the trailer.  You can also see large bags of flour and potato flakes and a full tote of pet food!  One of the highlights was a large box of hand-knit hats and scarves that our friend, Dixie, has been supplying for years.  The ladies exclaimed, “We love these hats and scarves.  They are so warm.  And, the colors are so nice and bright!”

Christmas in November?  You bet!  And, we’re not done yet.  We have three more trips that are scheduled.   With God’s help, we’ll be serving the Quinault and Yakama (two locations) Tribes before the Holidays.   And, you can help us, too!

Your financial gift at this time will really make a difference.   The costs of truck expenses, diesel fuel, insurance and maintenance all add up.  But the impact of this ministry helping Native Americans, both physically and spiritually is well worth it. 

Would you take a moment and ask the Lord how you can help?  Your gift of $10.00 or $100.00 will go a long way.  Thank you, sincerely!

Who knows, you may meet Rueben one of these days.  When other “children are nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads”, Rueben will be the one with the remote-controlled toy boat and the huge smile. 

July Newsletter, 2012  Rick McPherson

It’s just no fun when the other kids pick on you.  You want to play and have fun and run and jump and laugh and be one of the gang.  And have friends.  You want to belong.  But when the other kids laugh at you and tease and punch and spit on you, life is no fun at all.  You want to go somewhere and cry. 

Little did we know when we arrived on the Nez Perce Reservation in Lapwai, Idaho, for a week long outreach with Vacation Bible School, community services in the park every night, a truck-load of groceries for the Food Pantry and a work crew to rebuild a handi-capped ramp and hand-rail would we meet a little ten year old boy, named, Rueben. 

He was just there.  When we set up in the park for the first time, Rueben was there.    He wanted to do the crafts, sing the songs, listen to the Bible stories, play in the water and eat the snacks.  After VBS, he didn’t leave.  He just hung around and was stuck to our workers like glue.  As the week wore on, Rueben was there with us.  First thing in the morning he stopped by the church for cereal with the team, hung around until VBS started at noon then stayed through the evening meal for sloppy-joes or tacos. 

It’s no secret that we get attached to people on the reservation.  Relationship building is one of our goals and sometimes it takes a lot of effort and time.  Not so, with Rueben.  It was an instant friendship. How could anyone not love this little guy?   So, it came as a surprise when one of the pastors  told us that no child in the town  was as bullied as Rueben.  Other kids regularly picked on him.  It’s not that Rueben was different, nor small, nor handi-capped.  He was just the one that got picked on.  He was bullied.  And all he really wanted, was to belong.

Then it hit me.  God was giving us a vivid picture of the truth of His love, acceptance and forgiveness  that I had been speaking about every evening in the park.  You see, all of us are Ruebens.  All of us have been laughed at, cursed at, spit on and bullied.  Life has a way of   doing that to us.  It has a way of being mean.    And none of us escape the meanness.  It hurts to be bullied.  To be rejected.  To be abandoned.  To be forgotten.  To be picked on.   It really hurts.  It hurts to be Rueben. 

But God’s great message to us, is this.  I will never hurt  you!  What I will do  is love you, accept you and forgive you.  I will never forsake you.    I will never bully you.  Never.   In the midst of the meanness I will protect you.  Nothing will ever separate you from my love. 

As I climbed behind the wheel of the Freightliner for the trip home, I thought about Rueben.  I thanked God for his life and the joy that he brought us through the week.  I thanked Him for the experiences of the week of ministry and the eternal results that would only be fully known in Heaven.   And,  I asked that He would send a couple of really big Angels to protect Rueben,  from the bullies. 

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

October Newsletter, 2014  Rick McPherson

I know that it’s October but I can’t get this tune out of my head.  You can sing it, hum it or whistle it if you like, but there’s no doubt, it’s a classic.  Written in 1951 by Meredith Wilson while staying at the Yarmouth, Grand Hotel in Nova Scotia it was recorded by Perry Como and The Fontane Sisters with the Mitchell Ayres Orchestra.  Even Bing Crosby got in on the act and he too, made it famous. 

But here at Pacific NW Outreach, our holiday season starts early.  In order to get our Christmas loads of groceries, boots, jackets, gifts and toys to the Reservations, we have to start now.   In fact, I’ve been talking about it on our radio broadcasts for the past month.   It’s not too early to get started. 

This year we’ve been selected (again) as one of the charitable, non-profits to receive toys from the KPTV 12 – LES SCHWAB toy drive.  We are very thankful for the help and the honor of being chosen.  However, we are planning to serve four Reservations, including; Quinault, Yakama, (White Swan & Celilo Falls) and the Nez Perce.  We will distribute a lot of toys, gifts and groceries to these locations and that’s where you come in.

You can help us.  You can make this Christmas memorable, not only for yourself, but also for Native Americans who will be blessed by your gift.  The toy may be an action hero or pretty doll.  The gift may be a knit hat or insulated gloves.  The box may be filled with groceries or personal hygiene supplies.  The container may hold a foam pillow or warm blanket.  Whatever it is…it will be valued. 

We’re reaching out to all of our friends now and asking for your special financial gift to make this Christmas wonderful for our Native American brothers and sisters.  Every child and family that we bless this Christmas will know that there is a God in Heaven, Who loves them, accepts them and forgives them.  What a message.  And, you can be a part of this ministry. 

Will you take a moment and ask the Lord what you can do?   Your gift of $10.00 to $100.00 will make a big difference.   It takes money to buy diesel fuel for the trucks, do maintenance to keep the big rigs running, buy insurance and pay the bill to go down the road and reach the remote Reservations.  But the result of making the delivery and seeing the joy that comes from groceries, household supplies, warm hats and jackets, boots and blankets is priceless.  Will you join us and help with this ministry?

Some of you may want to do a special project with your family, or church, or small group and collect toys and gifts and coordinate with us for delivery to the Reservation.  That would be great.  We’d love to have your help in this way.  Others may want to do some extra shopping and buy a sweatshirt or jacket or socks and drop them to our store and have us deliver them.  That’s a great idea, too.

However the Lord leads you, please be attentive and get involved.  None of us can do everything, but all of us can do something.  Together with our love and gifts we can make a difference in the lives of Native Americans who need our help, particularly at Christmas.   And while you’re making your plans, maybe you could pull up this classic Christmas song on Pandora or Sirius radio and sing along… or, just whistle! 

*****

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Eldon Called This Morning

September Newsletter, 2014  Rick McPherson

Eldon has been a friend of the mission for a long time.  Through the years he has donated various things to us and has always been friendly and helpful.  I remember a few years ago picking up a refrigerator and being impressed with his neat and orderly garage and home.  Not only was everything organized, it was also labeled.  He was my kind of guy!

Well, the phone rang a few weeks ago and it was Eldon.  He was selling his home and moving into an assisted-living residence for seniors.  He said he didn’t think he was quite old enough to qualify because he just had his 90th birthday.  But, the reason he called was to ask if we would like to have the contents of his home.  He wanted to give everything to the mission. 

I must admit it’s not every day that someone gives a whole houseful of stuff.  Eldon wanted us to have it all.  He donated furniture, appliances, silverware, china, tools, clothing, linens, computers, tools and books.  He even included a varsity, letterman’s jacket.  You know the kind with the leather sleeves and Melton wool body?  “Jerry” was embroidered on the right chest. 

It took a whole team of people and three trucks to pack and load his gift to this ministry.  What a gift!  What a blessing!  What a day!

Driving home I prayed for Eldon.   I was thanking the Lord for Eldon’s generosity and thoughtfulness when I was reminded of this verse in Proverbs.  It was Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, who said, “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer…” (11:24) What a truth!  Eldon is richer than ever.  And his riches have an eternal value.  The “things” that he gave are temporal.  The “souls” that we will reach are eternal.     He transferred this world’s value for that which will last forever.  I can’t think of anything more valuable.

You may not have a houseful to donate to this ministry.   But if you do, I know a team of people with trucks that can help!    What you do have is an opportunity to help us, as we help Native Americans on reservations throughout the eleven western states.  You know the conditions are dreadful.  The needs are great.  Poverty is overwhelming.  Addictions are rampant.  Suicides are sky-rocketing.  Hopelessness is epidemic. 

The message we deliver is God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness.  It’s delivered in a variety of ways.  Sometimes it’s a load of groceries and supplies.  Sometimes it’s a pair of water-proof, leather boots.  Sometimes it’s a Christmas gift or toy.  Sometimes it’s a winter jacket or warm wool blanket.  Sometimes it’s a kind word.

Sometimes it’s a simple message spoken in a city park or while sitting on the tail-gate of a pickup truck. 

You can help us deliver the message.    Your gift of $10.00 or $100.00 will make a big difference.     Whatever the amount, you can rest assured that you will transfer what is temporary into that which is eternal.  What an investment!

In the meantime some lucky soul will be slipping that letterman’s jacket on with “Jerry” embroidered on the chest.