I have been connected to the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses since they baptized me in 1998. That means I bought in, at least temporarily, into the whole notion of knocking on doors to hand out magazines touting the “Truth of God’s Word the Bible”. I accepted that they don’t believe in celebrating birthdays… or worldly holidays… especially Christmas because it is celebrated as Jesus’ birthday. But, here’s the thing that will eventually get me disfellowshipped; I don’t believe that failing to accept whole the beliefs and practices of the religion deprives you of everlasting life on a paradise Earth. A loving God does not condemn someone to oblivion simply because they say the wrong thing or think the wrong thoughts. A murderer can be saved by repenting and accepting the “Truth”, but anyone who looks at the scientific evidence and concludes that the “Theory of Evolution” is probably correct with about 95% certainty is doomed? That’s really no better than the Baptists who condemn you to eternal suffering in Hell for the same thing. I have more to say about this religion thing for another day. But never-the-less, I was the only one able to take the Princess to perform in her band’s Christmas concert because the rest of the family still believes, and the Princess’ band were planning to commit the horrible sin of playing Christmas music.
God, in his wisdom, of course, decided to punish me for my error.
My daughter, the Princess, plays the Tooty Leather Pole… er, the clarinet in the Long Middle School band. She has caught the band bug from her eldest brother who pulled me kicking and screaming into the world of being a band parent five years ago. She has the rule down where, “You must be early to band events! Being on time is the same as being late!” So we were at the auditorium at 6:30, fifteen minutes before the stated deadline. I delivered her to the Newman Smith Band Hall and found a seat in the auditorium to watch the result. I put my phone on vibrate.
Fifteen minutes later, I feel the phone vibrate in my pocket. A new text message from the Princess. “Sorry, tell you later,” was all it said.
Ten minutes after that, a frantic phone call.
“Dad, I think I left my band notebook in the car. It has my music in it for the concert. Can you get it for me and bring it to the band hall door?”
I stumped my way with my trusty cane and two arthritic legs down the auditorium stairs, down the exit stairs, and finally out across the parking lot to where I parked. I rifled through the back seat of the car, the front passenger seat, under the seat… and I had to text her.
“It isn’t in the car.”
“Do I have to go home and get it?”
So, I hop in the car and tear out for home and the missing notebook. Of course, I have sinned against God and must bear with eternal heckfire. Every one of the six traffic lights turned red just as I got to them. And every one of them, it seemed, had a Texas Bubba in a red Chevy pickup truck gunning his engine, ready to kill me for trying to cross on a red light.
I found the notebook on her bed in her room, right where she had been practicing and totally forgot it. I snatched it up and raced (as fast as you can race on arthritic legs) back to the car and back to the auditorium. Sitting at the next red light listening to Bubbas rev their engines, I get another text. “Can you get it to the band hall door by 7:00, please?” That text arrives on my phone while I am still two red lights away at 6:59.
Wheezing and panting I arrive at the auditorium at 7:09. The eighth graders are headed into the auditorium. I quickly stump back up the stairs into the auditorium just in time to walk up to the stage and hand it to her as she is taking her seat on stage. Silently she mouths a thank you. I drag myself up the stairs to row 15, the first available seat, and throw myself down into it, having obviously sacrificed my life for the benefit of my daughter’s passion for music. Veteran band parents all around are snickering at me. Especially the McCauly-Martinez clan, proud band parents of at least 47 past and present school band members. I know I deserve it, but Holy Heckfire is apparently a real thing. No sin goes unpunished. No good deed either.
Still, the music was worth it. I could barely hear over the noise of my lousy lungs working like bellows at the forge to give me enough air to live. But the rendition of Slay Ride was enthralling. Excuse me, I mean Sleigh Ride. Viking Christmas songs are another post idea entirely. It is possible that condemning myself to eternal destruction by choosing to support a Christmas concert is worth it after all.