Monday, January 03, 2011

Under Pressure

When it comes to tennis, the answer to the question "Who's counting?" is "Me". I got in over 250 sets, almost all of them doubles, in 2010. The winning percentage was .52. If I was an NBA team, that kind of record gets you into the playoffs - where you're expected to lose in the first round. Play in 2011 starts today.

Just for fun, I ordered up some old episodes of "The Twilight Zone" from Netflix and watched them last week. TV sure has changed in the almost 50 years since these little gems first hit the screen in the 1960's, and not just because the original "Zones" were done in black and white. I knew people smoked more then, but was still amazed to see one scene that had actors lighting up in a hospital!

Last week had lots of semi-big events: visiting with family members, including a daughter who lives in Ohio, visiting San Francisco and marking our beloved Iowa win vs. the ranked Missouri Tigers in the Insight Bowl. We also marked 38 years of wedded bliss, though mainly by driving back and forth from the Bay area, five hours plus each way.
But, really, the biggest test of the week came yesterday in church. Everyone who serves there is a volunteer, but inevitably the assignments change, and new folks get the old assignments. Our congregation has had the same organist for many years, a very capable woman. Her new assignment, however, means that we need a new organist.We knew it was a possibility, but the wife finally was asked (on Friday evening!) to fill in at yesterday's (Sunday) meeting.
Being a capable organist is one of many things that are harder than they first appear, and the wife knew this already. She was understandably reluctant to be under pressure, even with a congregation coming up short of a hundred people. You see, she has plenty of piano experience, but almost none on the organ.
With one day to put it together, we went to an empty church on Saturday to practice. She worked on the music, since we finally had the hymn numbers for the next day, while I tried to give advice on things like volume and which of the organ stops to use or avoid.
We even went early on Sunday morning to put in a little more practice. She's calculating the chances of a complete rookie organist meltdown while I'm trying to remember the advice Rocky's trainer Mickey gave him before the fight against Mr. T.
There was the prelude (before the meeting), three hymns in the meeting itself, then a short postlude after the final "amen" before scurrying off to her regular assignment playing the piano for the under-12 set. Over all things went...pretty well. She might have hit a clinker or two along the way, but not enough for anyone to notice. We don't know if they will ask her to take on the job every week, but she was smiling all through the rest of the day, so I did, too.


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