Chapter 35 The Gong Show Act 1
Very early on Saturday morning Jimmy and Harry walked to the Willowbranch Baptist Church and arrived before Mr. Mac got there. Since Jimmy was allowed to practice on the organ he had a key to the building, so they were able to get in. They sat down to wait. It was very quiet and shadowy in the sanctuary. The deep blues, purples, and reds of a certain stained glass window seemed to hold him spell bound.
Jimmy was suddenly aware of how much time had passed since he and Harry had crashed through that opened window and met Mr. Edwin. He had been a teacher and a friend to both of them for ten years. This seemed like a very long time to Jimmy.
“It doesn't seem like it should be ten years does it?”
“No, but it's been wonderful, hasn't it?” Harry replied.
“Yes, mostly it has. Except for the times that my dad and I haven't gotten along. And especially the time when Mrs. Edwin got so sick and died.” reminisced Jimmy.
“That was sad, she was a nice person. But isn't it strange how Mr. Edwin and Zee-zee met again after all those years? Imagine finding a long lost sweetheart after almost fifty years and to discover that she'd become a famous person as well! It was good he could be there for her when Mr. Lynnsehn died. What a way to go, with your favorite music playing on an organ you had personally designed.” Harry paused, deep in thought, “It was sad to me, though, that he never got to play that organ.”
Jimmy said, “Yes. Wasn't it strange that Mr. Edwin played just the right piece at just the right time? Zee-zee said Mr. Edwin was sent by God, and that God worked his mysterious way to have us in the boat at just the right time, and then He protected us from Lars' gunshots. If all that hadn't happened Zee-zee says that she never would have met us and we would never have brought Mr. Mac to Azavilla to fix the organ or Mr. Edwin to play it!
Harry seemed to be lost in the colors of that same stained glass window. Then he said, “You know, Mr. Edwin had a tough time leaving Zee zee for his trip. He's been to visit at Azavilla almost every day since the funeral. I think he would have called off the trip if it hadn't been planned for so long, Anyway, Zee-zee insisted that he should go. Do you think those two, Mr. Edwin and Zee-zee, will get together someday maybe? ”
“Good question! After he gets back we'll see. Whatever happens they'll always be good friends, I think. I do hope Mr. Edwin is enjoying Tampa.” Jimmy continued, “He was so excited about seeing his sister and her kids. You knew that one of his former students is now the organist at the Tampa Theatre? I'm sure he'll be thrilled to see and hear him play!”
“Y'know, I believe that Mr. Edwin might have lost his mind if he had not had his students to teach. Poor fellow, he really loves kids, it's too bad he never had any of his own.” said Harry.
“Yes, and it's too bad that Mr. Edwin isn't a little younger. I think he would have made a great picture show organist. He got a kick out of all the toycounter things on the Floridian Theatre organ.” Jimmy smiled to himself. “Oh I don't mean the train whistles 'n stuff, I think he liked the traps. He told me about hearing E.H. Lemare play at his college once. He said he always thought it would be interesting to see what an organist like him could do if he had things like a cymbal or a bass drum or even a gong on a concert organ to use in orchestral transcriptions `n such. You know how delighted he was when he discovered the gong and the cymbal on Mr. Lynnsehn's organ, and how much fun he's had using it for dramatic effects when he plays it.”
There was a moment of silence. The boys found themselves looking at each other with grins on their faces. Jimmy looked up at the console of the organ and back to Harry.
Harry saw the twinkle in Jimmy's eye. “Jimbo, are you thinking about a certain extra gong which Mr. Mac gave to us?”
“Now, Harry, it would be real satisfying to do something nice for Mr. Edwin. Wouldn't it? I mean, he's done so much for us! Hasn't he? We could make it our little surprise for when he gets back.”
“Do you think we could do it ourselves?”
“Why not? We helped Mr. Mac with the one in the Floridian Theatre organ. Let's think about and keep it a secret!”
From the back of the sanctuary came Mr. Mac's hearty “Good morning, gentlemen! We've got a lot to do but I think we can finish before noon, if we try!”
Mr. Mac and the boys did work hard. At about twelve o'clock Mrs. Killman, who had walked one block over from her house, came to fetch the boys and Mr. Mac for dinner.
Mr. Mac, as always, gratefully accepted her invitation and said “We're all but finished. There is only one rank of pipes to tune and one tremulant to regulate and we'll be through - in here. We've still a good bit to do, though. When we get to your house, if it's all right, Mrs. Killman, I'll use the telephone to tell Melody that I'll have to take her to the beach another day.”
Harry spoke up “Oh Mr. Mac there's no need for that! Jimmy and I can finish up the tuning and regulating for you!”
“You go on to the beach with Miss Mel.” urged Jimmy. “There won't be too many more pretty days like this one.” He winked at Harry.
Mr. Mac hesitated as he thought a moment. “No, no, I can't go. I've got to clean out that room the church let us use for a workshop. It's got some wire and tools and wind line parts in there that I need to load in the truck. I'd like to get that cleared out today.”
“It's not a problem.” Harry said “Jimmy and I can do that, too.”
“Sure!” Jimmy said “You were going to take Miss Mel's Chevrolet to the beach, anyway, weren't you? She could pick you up at Harry's house after dinner, and we could take your truck back to your house and take the street car home.”
“She won't need to pick you up, Keith.” this from Mrs. Killman. “As I was about to tell you,” she shot a grin at Harry “before my son chimed in, she's having dinner with us! She'll be there anyway.”
Mr. Mac laughed, “OK, OK! I know when I'm licked! It's settled then. I'll leave the truck here with you fellows. I'm hungry! Let's go get some of Mrs. Killman's good food!”
The boys finished the tuning and regulating just as Mr. Mac had taught them to do. Jimmy gave the organ a thorough playing to make sure that everything was in order. They then got the truck, went to Jimmy's house, and brought the gong and it's striker action to the church.
As they cleared out the work room they assembled the tools and materials they needed to install the gong in the Great chamber. In no time the work room was spotless, the truck was loaded, and the gong was installed.
They made the gong playable from a button to the left and below the Choir manual keys, and from a toe stud which they mounted right next to the Tutti toe stud. Next was a discussion as to how, or if, to label the new controls.
Harry said “Should we just leave them unlabeled?”
Jimmy replied “Well, we don't really have much of a choice `cause it's getting late and we don't have any label plates, anyway. We'll get Mr. Mac to help us do that Monday or Tuesday, he's better with the engraver, anyway. Let's go to supper!