Revive - A Quarterly Fly Fishing Journal (Volume 1. Issue 4. Spring 2014) - Page 62

I could never remember the exact first moment, but I can remember it when I was younger. Memories, not of a specific instance, but of a certain thing, a certain way. I couldn’t have been more than seven, standing between my parents in our usual place in the back-right section. The pews were light red fabric over dark red wood. Not expensive wood. I only held the hymnal because everyone else did, to look like everyone else did. The words and the notes and bars on the page didn’t much matter, within the first bar barreling from the organ I knew what was coming; I knew every word aside from the very last few verses. Baptists never get to the very last few verses. And so as the organ hummed and the man in front of the choir waved his arms I would begin to emit the words in the correct tune, but in a tone that would be concealed by all the voices around me. I pronounced all the words, all of the seldom used words about surrender and dark colors of red and words with R’s with apostrophes preceding. And now, nearly 20 years later I heard this Hymn again as I walked across a bridge in a small town on a tributary about a half mile upstream of Lake Erie. There were small houses and a white church with a tower and bells. I crossed the bridge and stepped into the cold water and began walking upstream as the church bells rang and the notes of the hymn reverberated across the small town, bouncing off the houses and the bridge, following me. I listened to the bells as I walked and remembered the words about surrender and His crimson blood and the pow’r.