My pastor, Jim Bentley, unintentionally unleashed an old repressed memory of mine. It wasn't a painful memory - just a crappy experience I had as a young teenager. Jim had mentioned Ralph Carmichael's 'Good News' during the service yesterday. His youth group sang it back in the late sixties. The kids at Bellevue United Methodist Church sang it in the mid-seventies.
Our choir director/youth pastor was all about pulling the kids together and hitting the road. My mother talked me into by using Brooky as bait. She said that I would like being part of this because Brook was going to be playing guitar with the youth choir. Everyone would go on a tour and sing - then all go to Disney World afterward. Now, like any red blooded American kid, I liked the idea of Disney World. The reason I signed on was because Brooky was going to be going too. No way did I like the idea of having all my Sunday nights taken up with choir practice. Brook was there for some of the practices, but pulled out of the choir just prior to the purchase of the choir's matching polyester outfits.
Talk about adding insult to injury. The outfits were not only tacky, but terribly uncomfortable. White and cobalt blue checkered pants, purchased from Owens Men's Wear in East Gadsden. The pants felt like you were wearing Slinky's on each leg. Touring around in those blue pants in the middle of Summer made me aware of every drop of sweat beading out of my poor body. The inseam of at polyester nightmare wore a kid's crotch raw. I wanted to pull out like Brook did, but it was too late. The outfits were already purchased and I HAD TO GO.
We drove all around the pan-handle of Florida singing at various Methodist churches in that yellow non-air conditioned school bus that had been painted up to look like the Partridge Family 's bus. It was a miserable trip. Sing somewhere and then get back into that yellow cattle car and drive and drive down that road in that damn child broiler. Hours upon hours in that insufferable heat with no way to sleep in those upright school bus seats. I remember stretching out beneath the bench seats on the rubber mat that was the flooring. The vibration kept the naps from being very long.
The only upside to that trip was losing 25 pounds of weight in the two weeks during that trip. With the heat and the loss of appetite for fast food at virtually every stop. By the last shows on the trip, I was bowing out. I was sick of the outfits, sick of the music, sick of the cheesy Christian faux joy. SICK I TELL YOU! I can still hear the music in my head all those long decades afterward. I swore off musicals and choirs after that venture. I wasn't going to get lured into one again.
Well...a few years later my sister and brother in-law were over the Central United Methodist youth. I wasn't going to get in their musical, 'Naphtali' by John Fisher. Like an idiot, I let Jennie persuade me to 'help them' with this musical. Well, shame on me, it was truly the last time I was suckered into a choir/musical.