The big white church on the corner is now offices for computer developers. But when I was small, it was the big white church on the corner. There I was raised on hymns and more.
As a young child, I found it difficult to sit still on the hard wooden pews while men talked and sometimes yelled. Some Sundays, I would entertain myself by trying to chew through the elastic that mercilessly held the little white and purple round hat on my head.
And I’ll always remember the Sunday evening when my youngest sister began blowing up my mother’s brown leather gloves. She would have hyperventilated had my mother not intervened. But my other sister and I had already seen how the brown glove rapidly expanded to the shape of a cow udder then, in an instant, it collapse into a mass of wrinkled brown as my sister sucked the air out of it. We laughed and giggled uncontrollably for the remainder of the service to the rhythm of my mother’s uapproving looks.
Eventually I sang in the church choir. Not because I wanted to but because it gave my grandfather a great delight to see me in the choir.
When I learned to play the clarinet in high school, I became part of the church band. My clarinet was instrumental one hot summer Sunday evening. The big white church had an unfathomable attic. In that attic lived bats that ventured out occasionally during a service. It was my clarinet that waved over my head that evening, protecting us from the swooping bats who sported little white fangs that would (had it not been for my wildly waving clarinet) have been caught in our hair.
Don’t worry. Not all was lost on me in church. You are only hearing of a few choice musical memories. Overall, I have very fond memories of singing gospel and praise songs. The exposure to so many hymns through my youth has made it a joy now to recall them.
Fast forward to a love for the ukulele and Native American flute. I enjoy learning the hymns on these instruments — new chords, new fingerings and sharing the venture with you.