Monday, November 8, 2010

Musical Memory

Frank and I were treated to a marvelous gift on Saturday evening. A young man in our church gave us tickets for an event called "Symphony and Sunset" held at Bok Tower and Gardens in Lake Wales.

Hundreds of people annually converge on this beautiful garden spot bringing all their favorite picnic items. They then enjoy a fabulous concert presentation by the Orlando Symphony with the added bonus of music performed on the Bok Tower Carillon. An absolutely resplendent event!

This was our first time to attend and I hope it won't be our last. We packed a lovely dinner in our special Longaberger picnic basket. (A gift from the choir I directed in Smithfield, NC.) Frank wisely packed a blanket and some sweatshirts because he was a boy scout and thinks of these things. He even made sure we had a thermos of hot tea and each of our favorite china cups! (Collective "Awwww!")

Because it is so cold in FL right now (not that anyone is complaining, mind you) it ended up being a great night to pull our lawn chairs close together, snuggle under the blanket, hold hands and listen to fabulous music! (Maybe I should have saved the collective awwww for here.) (And what's up with all these parenthesis side notes today?! Smile.)

However, the concert wasn't my main thought for today. Actually, several pieces of music performed Saturday night were ones Mom had introduced to me - she loved all sorts of music. When they played the theme from "Love Story," it brought back a very funny memory.

While I was growing up, our particular church group frowned on attending movies of any sort. This was kind of rough on Mom because her childhood had revolved around attending the new releases every single Saturday in downtown Pensacola. She knew all the great actors, actresses, their spouses, their children, their top roles.........

She always cooperated with the unwritten policy but once in a while it caused a real struggle in her heart - like this time:

When the highly acclaimed movie "Love Story" finally was to be shown on television, Mom was terribly disappointed to discover that it would be shown on a Sunday night not on Friday night. We always had church on Sunday night. So even though she had waited patiently for it to come to TV, she was still going to miss it because what pastor's wife can skip service just to watch television?! AGGGHHHH!!!

I was fourteen at the time and pleaded with her to let me stay home just this once so I could experience the wonder of learning why "love means never having to say you're sorry!" (For all you young readers, that's a quote from the movie.)

Finally, Mom looked at me with her big brown eyes that knew all things, "Are you telling me you don't feel well?"

"No Ma'am. I feel okay. I just want to stay home and watch the movie, Puh-leeeeaaase!"

She leveled her gaze at me again and slowly repeated, "Sheri, aren't you telling me you need to stay home because you don't feel so good?!!!"

Finally the light dawned!

"Oh! Oh, yeah! Yes ma'am, I would like to stay home because I don't feel so good." Wink. Wink.

Mom continued, "Alright. I'll let you stay home this time. And I hope you don't get scared here. All alone! By yourself! With no one around; at all!!"

My eyes grew wide. "Mom, if I did get scared what would you want me to do?"

She pondered this for all of a split second. "I suppose that if you really got frightened, you could always call the church and ask the usher to come get me. Then I would have to come home to see about you."

All my family left for church and I was home alone. Surprisingly, at about the same time the ushers would have gone to the church office to count offering, our dogs started barking at some noise. I felt it best to call and ask that Mom come home right away. Which she did.

You know the rest.

Mom and I snuggled on the old couch in the den, ate popcorn, giggled about our "wicked scheme" and prayed fervently that service would run long so we wouldn't miss the end of the movie! (Was that a conflict of interest?! Smile.)

And even at fourteen I knew the really big deal wasn't the movie, it was the memory Mom and I were making that mattered. (I seldom ever hear that theme music without thinking back to that night and smiling to myself.)

Just as the final credits began to roll, we saw headlights turning in the drive. I dashed to my bedroom to avoid any questions; Mom flipped off the TV and headed to the kitchen to make a sandwich for Dad. Food was always a great distraction.

Yep, that was my mama. I told you she was a wild one! Smile.


  1. Oh I love it! Your momma sounds like she was an awesome woman.

  2. I love that story about you and your Mom! What a precious memory. Your musical night with husband? Awwwwwwwww....another memory made!

  3. That sounds like a story for a magazine. I wanted to stand up and cheer for your mom, not letting the fact that you were a pastor's family get in the way of a special (sneaky) night together.

    It made me smile!