Ol' Dutch is a-not-so-willing member of the church choir.
This came about quite by accident due to Mother's Day rolling around unexpectedly five years ago and discovering en route to my mom’s house that I had no gift, so I had to improvise. I promised her a summer of church choir singing and now I am stuck like the proverbial pig in a mud hole, but not nearly as happy.
She is the director of said group which can be likened to the person who runs the torture chamber in a castle dungeon. It's a tad like the old man who told me at work that the “unwilling were leading the unable.”
My mom is a highly trained musical wonder and of course, having such abilities makes her a bit touchy when trying to make a “silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
Practice is Wednesday at 6 p.m., which is also known as “no fishing evening.” I do my best to get there and on time too and I always have a happy smile on my face. Well, my face is there anyway.
My mother tries to get our attention which takes most of the practice as we understand the scripture “forsake not the assembling of yourselves together” to mean we need to talk to our fellow choir members.
Finally after about an hour on the torture rack we are released and it looks like kids leaving for recess as we all run for the door.
The choir meets again Sunday mornings at the ungodly hour of 8:15 – which really means any time between 8:00 and 9:00 for our choir members.
Ol' Dutch, though, rises early with a smile on his face and bounces out of bed in expectation of the early morning practice. Trixie just reminded me I should not lie about church so let’s just say I usually make it there in time for practice even though I am sure the sun isn't even up yet.
If you have ever heard a fifth grade band warm up or had an old car that refuses to start even with long periods of cranking, you might have an idea of how it is getting our all of our old vocal chords working at that hour.
Miracles do occur and somehow we find ourselves singing God’s praises. Well, we make a somewhat joyful noise at least.
On a typical Sunday, the choir is asked to come up DURING the Lord's Prayer. Ol' Dutch calls this “getting it over with” which brings a jab to my ribs from the normally docile Trixie. Coming up during the prayer was our recently retired pastor’s method of shaving off a minute from the service thereby giving him more time for his long-winded prayers.
I suggested the pastor cut back on the prayers as God already knows almost everything by now if for no other reason that he, being omnipotent and omnipresent, has been around the proverbial block more than a few times, but to no avail.
Plus, given that my own father has been a pastor now for more than 65 years, I have heard my share of sermons and know that in spite of my “Dutchisms” God still loves me. So any further lengthy discussions about my failings or shortcomings is probably not going to make much of a difference this late in life.
Back to the choir and giving up every Wednesday night and early Sunday morning, there is one great benefit: our annual pie party. Now that is a pie-pie-pie everywhere kind of night.
So if you are a cobbler-eating, canary-voiced Valley personage who wants to sing in the Mayberry choir, give my mom the gift that keeps on giving and join the choir. She has been known to dance a step or two when we hit a right note, which in itself is a rare occurrence and sometimes even worth the weekly torture.