Saturday, October 28, 2006

Bells . . .

What is your response when someone says the word "bells?"

I think sometimes it depends on the season. "Jingle Bells" is definitely a popular song for fall and winter from Thanksgiving through the Christmas season. . .It is a song for young and old alike. Does that make it an all generational song?

I remember learning it at an early age because others sang it in my family. BUT when I think about the song, it is the words of "dashing through the snow" that bring me the best memories. . . Sleigh Hill in Pocatello, Idaho; tobogganing down the apple orchard at St Gertrude's Academy in high school --in the panhandle of Idaho; the blizzard in eastern upstate New York in 71 . Yes, sleigh bells are one thing that comes to my mind when someone says "bells."

Wedding bells might be a close tie for first place in most people's lives. . . my marriage only lasted ten years but I will never forget that special day. I still have the beautiful white linen A-line dress. . . heavy lace on the edges of the sleeves with a linen bow to complete it. I look at it today and wonder how I ever fit into that tiny dress. I guess the best memory from that dress/those bells are trifold. . . my three children.

There are other bells. . . bells for church services; bells on doors that alerts the shopowner to someone's presence; school bells; and others that I have probably forgotten at the moment.

The bells I want to write about to end this essay are bell choir bells. Our church purchased their first octave of bells through member donations. For years now, they have found a way to get more octaves and now we also have several octaves of chimes to play alongside the bells. Most of us that donate our time to this service aren't professional musicians but we enjoy playing and trying. Since we are all volunteers, sometimes members of our group don't take it as seriously as we should and don't show up for practice. We were supposed to play chimes this Sunday but it got cancelled because we aren't ready because of the missing members. That announcement was melancholy to me. . . I was ready to play and yet, know some of the newer members aren't . . . so maybe it is a blessing in disguise. Oh well, something to look forward to the next time.

I made a small banner for our bell playing during Easter time. I am seriously thinking of making one for Christmas season. We also have one that has ribbons hanging from the bottom with bells hanging from each ribbon. I only made the lettering and arranged it for that one. Making banners is another hobby I have--many of our church banners were partially made by me.

We will be participating in the Bell Concert in Medford. Oregon in May. It is the last one they are sponsoring so it will leave melancholy memories. We will once again get to play with other bell choirs and be directed by a very talented musician/director. We will get to take some classes and have a nice lunch together. It will end with a concert for the whole town on Sunday afternoon. Yes, bells are a part of my life and I am glad I had the opportunity to participate.


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