Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hazel Mary

Let me introduce you to my new "girl friend" Hazel Mary. She is a dynamic 86 year old who for years played the pipe organ at our church until arthritis in her fingers sidelined (sort of) her. She is now our substitute organist and is in every way full of vim and vigger.

We have admired her from afar since we first met dainty, trim and healthy looking. Aleene remarked about her sense of humor and wit several times as she debriefed from Bible Study over the past two years. And when I sing she goes out of her way to compliment me. So I seek her out to complement her on her appearance and when she plays (grandly, I might add) the organ.

Several of us mustered smartly at the church at 8:30 today to remove the pews on one side of the sanctuary so that an electrician could get a man-lift in to replace some wiring on the overhead lights. The church is 38 years old and is showing its dated wiring, etc. These pews were moved here from the old church and have been moved several times before for carpet changes and other repairs. While they look nice, there are age flaws in them.

Hazel Mary practices (or is it that she does therapy on) the organ every Wednesday before Bible study. Today was no different. I was hoping that she would be there...and she was...quite early. Smiling she played while the six of us used our electric drills to back out the screws that mount the pews to the floor and then load each one on four wheeled dollies to get them out of the way. It didn't take us long...and she kept playing. I sat with two of the other guys just to listen.

There she was with her perfectly trimmed steel gray hair, small frame and tiny feet dancing on the pedals and across the organ bench. She stopped only once when we were nearly done to tell us laughingly, "I played Holy, Holy, Holy while you were working hard to give you energy."

She is a dear. Her choice of music this morning was right what I needed to bring me to tears. The sounds of Bach, and Wesley and others just overloaded my memories of First Church in New Castle and Edwin Lewis and the music legacy that was passed on to me. I only recently realized how much I cherish the sound of a pipe organ playing the traditional hymns, preludes and postludes. (Our current organist is top notch as well.)

Hazel Mary told me Sunday that she had a friend with her at the Oregon Symphony concert Friday (which we attended at Fox) who had recently lost a family member. I had consulted her on how she enjoyed the music. "I brought her along to give her something else to think about. I take her swimming with me know I swim every week to take care of my 'bod'," she said with a twinkle in her eye as she swooped her hand down her side and flared it out at her hips. What a stitch.

That is Hazel Mary...and she did something for my 'bod' today too....

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