All of us had experienced life's little surprises. My knee jerk reaction when those horrific, embarrassing moments come my way is to turn beet red from the neck up, twirl my hair with my index finger, and pray for the floor to open up, swallow me, and then for all those who witnessed the episode to experience a sudden wave of retrograde amnesia. But none of those things ever happen and I am forced to deal with the humiliation head on and chalk it up to another of those life lessons I'd rather not have to learn. And, by the way, what did I learn from it anyway?
Having said that, this story is NOT about me. When I was a little girl my family attended a small, country church in the middle of nowhere in rural Central Arkansas. My mother was the music director and my dad the chairman of the board of deacons. When mother took over the music, she inherited a trio of women who thought themselves right up there with Johnny Cash's wife, June and her family. The ladies had the elements of a good sound, a soprano, alto and tenor, but, I must confess when mother would share with the family that these women were providing the special music at church a little part of me cringed and silently geared myself up to sit through "bluegrass church", as I called it. You see, to make matters worse, not only was this group hard on the ears, but the pastor's wife was the accompaniest and she played ragtime, so it felt like we were in a country bar somewhere instead of the Lord House.
One Sunday when these ladies were to sing, I had given myself a real talking to about my attitude towards them and readied myself for what was to come. All right, I told myself, here we go.
The threesome made their way to the pulpit and placed their music on the stand. Ragtime music begins. (REALLY?!?!?) First verse and chorus. Not too bad. Second verse and chorus. Doable. Then it happened. The soprano took a deep breath and opened her mouth to begin the third verse and her dentures fell out. Yeppers! Right there on the pulpit. Her facial expression never changed. She picked them up and put her hand over her mouth and just stood there while the alto and tenor continued on, not seeming to realize what had happened.
As is with most churches where the mood is typically somber and respectful, people were acting a bit uncomfortable and I was having a terrible time not giggling. But then my deacon daddy let loose a guffaw and it was over. Everybody in the church started laughing, except the three women. The soprano still stood there, teeth in hand, and the other two continued singing their duet, but without a melody line. It was hysterical.
When it all was finished, Soprano sauntered down the center aisle and out the back door to the ladies room in the vestibule. The other two sat down, not really sure what had happened. The pastor never gained control of the service after that. Try as he may, he took his handkerchief from his coat pocket many, many times to wipe his eyes and had to stop speaking to control the quiver in his voice.
What was the lesson? Church can be a hoot? That's all I ever learned from it. Except still, to this day, some 40 years later, it still makes me laugh. Those ladies will forever be the Bluegrass Ragtime Denture Trio to me.
This must be the story they objected to at CB?! Well, there isn't any particular spiritual application that they could see in this tale. I will say this much:
Singing in church is for God's ears, first and foremost. True, we also build up others with the musical worship, but the idea is that, good or bad, we sing to please God. However, some try soooo hard to please or impress other members. That's wrong, and as you've said, can be "ugly" as well!