How To Take Over A Church Meeting

I’ve waited a long, long time before I’ve dared write this story, or someone moved out of State, or . . . and I’m not telling . . . but  died, but now the needed event has passed, and I’m brave.

My friend, an accomplished pianist, was asked to play a Beethoven piece at an LDS meeting, and, figuring an hour or two in church wouldn’t hurt me, I said yes, when asked to go along.

You know how those meetings go. A little girl sang, a young lad said a few words; both taking no more than five minutes and then my friend was introduced. But I soon felt edgy, for I knew the piece he had chosen was no five minute piece, but more like 45 minutes.

But I decided he’d stop at the end of the first movement, but no, no, no. He passed by that coda as if not there, and one glance at his face told me, he was going to play Beethoven to the last note, and to heck with any time limits or rules.

I felt nervous, but I noted that the man in charge was doubly so, for he soon began fidgeting and glancing toward my friend. I tried to tell myself that the problem, the pianist and the leader’s nerves had nothing to do with me. But every nerve in me was standing at attention.

After about 15 minutes the man in charge was about to ‘have a cow’ as the kids say. Sweat was pouring from his face and he motioned for a young lad to come to the podium. They had some whispered words and I saw the kid’s face go white in horror. But the leader nodded firmly and the child, like a lamb to the slaughter, edged toward the piano.

He glanced back for mercy, but the leader was firm, and all the child could do was try to tell my friend to stop playing. And every person in the congregation was watching in fascination as my friend brushed off any message like some bothersome fly and the wonderful music continued.

Somehow I felt that I was part of the problem but also, I was fighting an almost uncontrollable urge to laugh. In fact I gave a couple of chortles, (disguised as coughs) and wondered if I had better leave the chapel. But I didn’t. And by then the entire congregation was watching in horror/fascination/humor/indignation. They realized this was very different from the usual Sacrament Meeting. But most were watching the battle to see whether Beethoven or the leader would win.

Well, I didn’t wonder, for I knew darn well that, short of whipping his music from the piano, my friend was going to play to the final note. But the man in charge didn’t give up easily, for then he walked to the piano and whispered in my friend’s ear.

I watched in fascination because I knew my friend and that he bowed to no one’s whispers. If he had been invited to play Beethoven, he was going to play Beethoven, whisper all they wanted. And he did.

Well, by then the congregation was split into thirds. One third closed their eyes and with smiles on their faces enjoyed the unexpected concert. The second group, like me, wanted to laugh and were grinning unabashedly at the tug of war going on. And the final group was angry.

They began looking daggers at me and I felt like standing up and explaining that I had nothing to do with it. I was an innocent bystander, too.

Well, eventually the concert ended (almost 45 minutes) and my friend rose in proud righteous indignation, and walked over and sat beside me. And no one was happier than I when the last prayer was said and we could get in the car and laugh.

But for heaven’s sake, there was no laughter, for my friend didn’t think it was funny and I spent the rest of the day listening to his indignation. By the time I got home, I was too tired to laugh. But the next day I shared the event with a couple of people who also like music and then the three of us laughed and laughed and laughed.

And the congregation that had gone to hear a routine meeting, instead heard a Beethoven concert they’d have paid big bucks in the concrt hall. Forty five minutes of solid enjoyment but to this day I think of it as the funniest time I’ve ever spent in church.

Do Doctors Ever Really Listen?

Make them hear you . . .

I sat down in the Doctor’s office chair, without even a ‘Hello’ she smiled and said,  “I’ve enrolled you in a weekly class on Controlling Chronic Pain.”  And  went on to tell me where they were held, who was in charge  and what to expect from them.

I thought she had me mixed up with some other patient and shaking my head and told her that ‘No, that’s not for me.  I don’t have chronic pain.’  She went on as if I hadn’t even spoken.

But as she called me by my name I knew she had the right folder, and, as if reading from a book, went on with what was to be expected for one in my age group and I sat there as if I were an inanimate object, hearing her but wondering when she’d get around to asking exactly why I had called for an appointment.

She never did, and I knew then that she had studied at some medical School where their major primers were books on what to expect at various age groups.  She very nicely went down the list of ‘taking blood samples’; asking what medication I was taking, vitamins and such, and soon my designated 15 minutes were over and that was that.  Oh, yes, there were queries as to whether I ate and slept well, and then that was that.

The first thing I did upon getting home was to call and cancel the Chronic Pain Clinic classes, and making a note to not let anyone assign me to that medic for my next appointment.  They (whoever ‘they’ are) have what’s wrong with us all figured out and I, somehow, just don’t fit in with their book for my age.

When you reach your Fifties there must be a well-read book on what illnesses and problems that age group will have.  Then there is a book for the Sixties (your age, not the date) and they’ve studied well the problems that age group will have.  Oh, and here is where Living Wills are insisted upon.  They’ve got it all down pat and a copy of such books are in every medic’s desk.

It continues right along in the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties, only by then the books tell about Care Centers, and ask how to contact your children to tell them what you need. They take it for granted that you are no longer capable of  hearing, answering or planning.  You don’t think so? Wait and see.

What’s funny, and I don’t mean ha–ha funny, is that all kinds of businesses read the same books.  At Fifty my mail changed and I began to get letters and pamphlets from well known clinics sent by high-powered medical universities, insurance companies, and investment firms, all eager to tell me about my own body and how marvelously they can handle my financial business.

When you reach each next decade ‘someone’ re-sets the switch and a new set of instructions and sale’s pitches come to  your mail box. This time they’re from the same schools or companies, but, the content changes into more dire diseases and horrors.  Now they begin hinting at care centers (Oh, so much fun), cemeteries, trusts and wills, and all such ilk and when you reach your Seventies, Eighties, and Egad, your Nineties???  ‘They’ become more blatant and you know that, with ‘them’, you are a naught but a statistic.  Out of the game. So why bother.  Period.

There are no (at least I’ve never found one) books on the people in those growing decades, and the numbers are growing by leaps and bounds, who are healthy, sane, capable and all the rest of the stuff we’ve been doing during the early part of our lives.

Someone, and of all groups, you’d think it would be the medical world, would be the first to realize that our parents, at 45 and 50 were medically where we are at 80.  We’re healthy and not to be medically treated by some book that without even a question, just knows  that you should be enrolled in a Chronic Pain Clinic. They are using statistics from half a century ago and glued them upon us.  And unless things change, that means you, and you, and you, too.

If I Could Do It All Over Again

We were talking the other night, about what we’d do if we could turn back the calendar and ‘do it all over again’, and once the joking got out of the way, it set me to some fairly seriously thinking.

What would I do? Well, presupposing I could retain whatever bits of wisdom and smarts I’ve picked up along the way . . . I’d begin at a far younger age to do what I want, rather than what others wanted me to do

The trouble is, it’s not only hard to unearth such things, but much pain, guilt, resentment . . . and forgiveness . . . must come before we can live our lives as we want, and not forever be trying to please another. No matter how loved or even how long dead. Which is often the most difficult of the two

I wouldn’t smoke. It was thought cool to do so when I was a certain age, and it took me some time to realize that, in the first place, I didn’t like to smoke, and secondly, I found that those who did smoke, weren’t cool anyway. So I stopped.

I wouldn’t be so serious the second time round, would have more fun along the way, and I’d remember that I wasn’t responsible for the actions of anyone else, bur me. And, again, it didn’t matter how much I loved them, either.

I’d go barefoot in the grass and sand more often, and I’d never again wear a firmly set of hair style, but let it fly freely in the wind. And, I’d wear long flowing skirts which would whirl as I turned, and I’d turn a lot.

And when children arrived, I’d take more time to be a kid with them. Yes, there comes a time when that’s all over with, but until that time, I’d prowl the fields and pasture with them, getting down on my knees to discover the toads, frogs, bees and all the other things they once found and brought home to me.

I’d have more picnics . . . if only peanut butter and jam sandwiches . . and listen to the birds, crickets, and other sounds we only hear when we really listen.

I’d love a lot more and let more people know that I love them. And if you think I”m talking about sex here, well , you’ve got an awful lot to learn, but we’ll go into that some other day.

I’d be more open to changes that come with life, and not spend months, sometimes years, trying to make everything be ‘like it used to be’ . For, if changes didn’t come, I’d still be . . . well,   enuf of that, I’m just glad changes came.

Oh, and I hope I’d remember that the teen years are simply a phase and not the end of the world. I’d remember that there are always a few golden youths at that age that we all wanted to be like, yet . . . we found out later the golden aura didn’t always carry over into adult hood, and I wouldn’t change my life for a million.

I wouldn’t take marriage so seriously. Now, I don’t mean I’d be out on the town, but I’d remember that marriage is simply two people who happen to like each other a lot, and are trying to live together in very close quarters. It’s the only ‘war’ where you sleep with the ‘enemy’ and a little laughter and light hearted banter helps a whole lot.

I’d quit worrying over ‘what others might think’. What do I care what they think?   That’s their problem and, I’ve found, as I have gone ahead in my own way, others have found it to be not a bad way , either.

I ‘d remember that every situation, good or bad, that comes with my karma, and it’s my reaction to those situations, (what I do, how I act), that is putting my next set of karma in place.

I’d grow more flowers and fewer vegetables. Oh, I know we must have food, (and I like it, too) but the soul needs food, too and so I’d have a lot more flowers and would take the time to smell them as well.

And I’d remember, oh, I hope I’d remember, how once Ann and Jack Larkin and Brad and I, happily and light heartily sat on the deep curb up in Jackson Hole, along with a couple of others, and watched a big slice of the world go by. And next time, by golly, I’d sit on more curbs and . . . perhaps ‘d be lucky and have Ann, Jack and Brad there with me.

Yes, there are quite a few things I’d like to do over again. Oh, me, oh me, oh my . Wanna join me???????