Friday, December 21, 2007

Flying Under the Radar

It's good to be home and to spend time again with my home ward at church. There are more and more people each Christmas I don't recognize, but it's good to catch up with old friends. Joy and I spent a an enjoyable couple hours last night with a couple I knew as high school sweethearts, now married, graduated, employed, with two cute kids.

The funny thing about coming home is how easily everyone forgets I'm a visitor. In our church we have three meetings on Sunday, to which anyone is happily invited to come: the main Sacrament meeting most Christians would recognize as "church," Sunday School where we discuss the scriptures, and then a third hour (Priesthood/Relief Society) where we discuss teachings of modern church leaders, coordinate service projects, and so on. During both Sunday School and P/RS they look around to identify visitors and invite them to introduce themselves. It has always been very amusing, how I manage to avoid being recognized as a visitor even the first week I'm in town.

You see, I used to be the organist and choir accompanist around here. By some strange coincidence, whenever I would come home for Christmas or at random points during a summer vacation, the regular organist would learn I was in town and decide to leave town for a vacation, or a wedding, or for illness knowing I would be more than happy to fill in. I've also regularly filled in at a moment's notice for the choir's Christmas performance, and for 9 of the last 11 years, I've gotten to play Handel's Hallelujah Chorus for them. (That at least is always planned.)

So the long-time members of the ward, and there are still many, are rather accustomed to seeing me at the organ. This year was no different, and this time I even had advance notice that I would also be accompanying the choir for a performance, so I was able to practice the music ahead of time. The fellow who plays for priesthood also grabbed me my first week back to ask if I could fill in for him. So after playing for Sacrament and priesthood, they looked around to see if there were any visitors, and decided that no, we didn't have any.

Sometimes, the best way to fly under the radar is to sit on the antenna.

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