Roots in Ripon
28 March 2016
A Perfect Evening
Every once in a while I like to plan something and then tell Isaura about it, but always well in advance just in case it doesn’t fit her schedule. A recent Thursday night was just one of those planned events.
Some weeks ago, I received an email from the Marines’ Memorial Club and Hotel in San Francisco announcing a special event. The Naval Academy (a.k.a., Annapolis) Men’s Glee Club was going to be performing on March 18th in the evening, followed by an “Afterglow” at the Marines’ Memorial Club. The performance was to be held at Grace Cathedral, an Episcopal Church sitting atop a hill on California Street.
By the way, in case you are not familiar with the term “Afterglow,” it refers to “the comfortable feeling following a pleasant experience.” Those of us who sing barbershop harmony are all too familiar with this term, in particular because after we have a barbershop concert we always adjourn to a special place to enjoy more singing by the chorus and/or quartets that performed in the actual show. The atmosphere is relaxed, and allows folks to have personal interaction with the performers. Such, then, was the case with the Naval Academy Men’s Glee Club.
My wife and I have a particular fondness for this musical group because our nephew, Joshua Roots, sang with the Glee Club when he attended Annapolis. So we were really looking forward to this evening of musical entertainment.
Isaura suggested we plan to take our friend, Pat Martin, to which I readily agreed. Pat has been a wonderful friend from the time I first took over as senior pastor of the Ripon Free Methodist Church in 1998.
So the three of us headed to San Francisco for a memorable evening. Our first stop was in the East Bay for dinner at an Applebee’s. We allotted for this time in our plans, which still allowed us to get to the Grace Cathedral in time for the concert by the Glee Club. Traffic was more troublesome than expected so we rolled into the church parking garage right at 7:00 PM. Signs pointed to the church entrance making it very easy to enter the church right from the garage. But the moment we entered the hallway of the church I knew something wasn’t right. We saw no other people, nor did we hear any music, either instruments or voices. A map showing the layout of the church showed us where we were and where we needed to go. Fully confident we were in the wrong part of this large church, I headed us down another hallway. A janitor looked up in surprise, quickly commenting that the church was closed.
Well, I was not to be put off so easily. So I used my most officious voice to inform him that we were there for the Naval Academy Glee Club performance. He slowly shook his head back and forth, stating, “Not tonight it isn’t.” I’m sure he was amused by my perplexed look. He said, “I can show you on my calendar of events, if you like.” Certain that I was right I asked him if I could see it. He produced the document. Aha! There it was! I pointed it out on the sheet, to which he said, “Yes sir, but that’s tomorrow night.”
I stood there speechless. The realization hit me that I had entered the information for this evening’s events on the wrong date in my calendar. Sheepishly, I thanked the man. Then Isaura, Pat and I walked back into the garage. Once in the car, Isaura said, “That’s not like you.” I know she meant it as a positive, but I was thinking, “I must be getting old!” I had been on the phone with the Marines’ Memorial Club so many times over the past several weeks discussing the events of the evening, yet I totally missed the now glaring fact that I was on the wrong date!
There was only one way to assuage my bruised spirit and that was to stop somewhere for ice cream! We drove from the top of the hill on California Street down to Fisherman’s Wharf and the iconic Pier 39, making our way over to the Oakland/Bay Bridge, departing the scene of my faux pas and with my proverbial tail between my legs. Plus we were certainly going to get home much earlier than planned.
And as for the ice cream, we stopped at Cold Stone where I ordered my favorite. Make mine a serving of Sweet Cream ice cream with a healthy scoop of chocolate chips and an additional scoop of roasted almonds every time. Perfect! I was already beginning to forget about my evening’s blunder. After all, I was spending this time with my bride of nearly 40 years, and with our friend, Pat, topped off with ice cream! All of which makes for a marvelous evening.
About this point you’re wondering: “Well, did you go back for the concert and afterglow the next night?” Are you kidding? “No!” There’s only so much of San Francisco and the snarly Bay Area traffic I can endure. The ladies agreed.
I’m certain it was a great concert and all. But I’m equally certain the janitor at Grace Cathedral had another story to tell around the church! I’m sure he would have enjoyed knowing I am a retired pastor of the Free Methodist Church.
Phew! At least I dodged that bullet!