Summerband and the living is easy…

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I was supposed to do something tomorrow, June 24th 2020, that I’ve never done before. I like doing new things and I think that I would have liked doing this.

I was asked, back before COVID controlled the world, back when we thought that summer would find us doing our usual things, to be the Master of Ceremonies at an Amazing Worthington City Band concert at historic Chautauqua Park on the banks of Lake Okabena here in Worthington, Minnesota.

Kinda makes me think of Harold Hill and The Music Man, though actually I wouldn’t have been directing – heaven help the band – I’d just be introducing the songs, talking a little, giving the band time to pull up their music for the next song.

Sadly, all of the band concerts have been cancelled for June, but happily the ones scheduled for July are still on! Summer band concerts have been a big part of our lives, given that two of our kids have played in the band for several years now and we’ve attended concerts since we moved to Worthington in 1997. (It helped that we lived across the street from the park for 8 years!)

(I don’t know why this video looks sideways, but it will play just fine!)

I truly have missed the concerts these past few weeks. Something in the air one evening last week – a scent or a sound, I’m not sure which – made me suddenly think of the band and I felt a little bit sad and a little bit nostalgic and a little bit cross with this COVID world, all at once.

Which is a lot of emotions to handle in 5 seconds!

Another aspect of the weekly (for June and July) concerts is that it’s a great time to hang out with friends, see people you don’t see very often, and meet new people – or at least identify them from afar.

Example: “Oh, the MC is so-and-so tonight. I’ve never realized that’s who that is!”

Or this:

Me: “Oh, I see that the intermission entertainment is Rolly Polly and his Dancing Dogs! I hope the dogs don’t leap into the audience and bite anyone this time like that did that other time.”

Friend: “Oh, I kinda hope they do. That was entertaining!”

(Just kidding. That never happened. But the microphone did misbehave badly once or twice, causing one or two headaches for the friendly neighborhood sound guy.)

One particularly cool thing about the band is that it is 127 years old! It began in 1893 and the bandshell itself, built from 1941-1942, is on the National Register of Historic Places. To top off the coolness, Chautauqua Park is so named because the Reverend Billy Sunday, professional baseball player of the 1880’s turned itinerant evangelist, preached there in his heyday, a fact which made this seminary graduate smile as suddenly her Church History class actually intersected with her real life.

I like it when that happens. When the things I learned in Seminary or in Sunday School or from sermons interconnect with reality. When the Bible applies to everyday life.

Which, of course, it does all the time. I just don’t always realize it.

That’s kind of my Disheveled Theologian mantra, actually. Or, rather, my prayer. That by telling my stories of everyday life, and showing how God and His Word applies in each of those situations, people will see God more in their own lives. In other words, I pray that when I open my eyes to see God in my life, you too, will open your eyes to see Him in yours.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3 NIV

P.S.: In light of the fact that I’m pining away for summer band concerts, I dug up a couple videos to entertain you! The first one (above) is a band classic, a patriotic tune we can all enjoy. The second (below) is a fun one that clearly entertained the audience!


Again, why this looks sideways I don’t know. I am no expert. I’m certain that someone can tell me rather easily, but I don’t know exactly who that someone is. I’m just glad that it will play correctly for you! 🙂

Taken for granted

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You might not think that getting one’s Wisdom Teeth pulled would be a terribly significant moment in one’s life but, like learning to ride a bike and high school graduation ceremonies, it’s kind of one of those things that everyone has done.

Or at least they did, pre-COVID19. Now many things that we took for granted have become giant hassles; but judging from the photo at the top of this post, we’ve proven that graduation ceremonies can be flexible!

Just as with commencement, it’s even possible to get Wisdom Teeth removed in this new era, though it is a bit more of an adventure including having temperatures taken and waiting out in the parking lot in 95 degrees instead of in the nicely air-conditioned waiting room.

Our middle child, Katie, had her Wisdom Teeth removed last week. Yep, a week after the rite of passage of graduation, she experienced the rite of passage of Wisdom Tooth removal. Four others of her friends, as it turns out, either got theirs pulled last week or will this week or next.

It’s the thing all the cool kids are doing right now.

Katie’s recovery has gone well and all of the ice cream, pudding, Jello and applesauce that she bought (note to self: give your kid a budget next time you send them out ((the day before their surgery)) for post-Wisdom-Tooth grocery shopping) has proven itself useful. In fact, I think that all of us have partaken of at least a pudding or two.

The last time that Katie had any sort of tooth situation, she’d fallen off of her bike, age 9, and chipped not just one but both of her permanent front teeth. The drama of this current dental situation was much lower – though also much more expensive – than that one. This drama was limited to the drive home afterwards and the wait in the pharmacy parking lot, when she asked us, “Why did they put a cardboard box in my mouth?” and then asked, “Isn’t it over? Why can’t I take it out now?”

She also was quite concerned about her spit.

“When do I get my spit back?” she asked. “My spit’s playing hide and seek. Did they replace it with glue? That’s super mean. I want my old spit back, please. Did they charge you extra for the glue spit?”

There was no break in this conversation. Just one thought after the next. And then, when I told her I wasn’t sure about the charge for the glue spit, she replied, “Let’s ask Dad. Oh, here he comes,” she said then, seeing him outside the car window as he approached from the pharmacy. “Maybe he has my spit injections.”

Her spit injections came in the form of a bottle of water – yay, Dad the hero! She dutifully took her medicine, tipped back in the passenger seat, and fell asleep for the hour-long drive home.

“Cardboard-box-mouth” notwithstanding, she came through the surgery well, and it was a relief to get home, relinquish the couch to Katie, and know that we’ll only have to go through this one more time with her little sister.

I remember when I had my Wisdom Teeth removed, in tenth grade. My doctor’s name was Dr. Shock. That’s a hard name to forget, for a doctor. My husband had his out a couple of years after we got married. Our son had his out three years ago. Like I said, it’s just a thing you do. A thing you take for granted.

But in this COVID19 world, nothing can be taken for granted any longer and that brings me to my point. Our church is opening this week. After three months, we can go to church! We’ll socially distance ourselves, we’ll bring masks, we won’t being singing, but we’ll be there. Together.

It is true that the church is not a building. It is God’s people. And I will be happy, indeed, to see those people again.

I pray that I won’t, in six months, or six years, take the opportunity to attend church for granted. I probably will. But I hope that I won’t. I hope that I will appreciate all that going to church gives me. And that, when I walk in its doors this Sunday morning, I will thank God, as never before, for the gift of my church family.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20,21 NIV