Please visit my blog as I write my first book, the authorized biography of Leonard Pennario.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
The bell of the ball
Today I went to church and something amazing happened to me. I was asked to help ring the bells.
I had never rung the bells! I had no idea how to do it. Sometimes I would come up in the morning and these guys would be ringing the bells. I never saw a woman ringing the bells, for whatever it is worth. I guess there is no law against it, because there I was today, ringing the bells. But it had never been done in my experience.
When I got up to the organ loft this one gentleman named Lou, who helps keep the choir together, he drafted me to help him.
I had to ring the little bell. That is St. Emmerich. Lou was ringing the bigger bell that was St. Stephen.
St. Emmerich started first. You had to tug the rope but not too hard, and then let the bell ring.
"Feel the bell," Lou instructed me. "Let gravity work. Feel the bell. Let the rope slide through your hands."
I was under-slept as usual on Sundays. Today I actually fell asleep during the sermon! That is how underslept I was. You could call me a dead ringer, hahaha! But I tried to do as he said.
And suddenly there it was, this bell, sounding over downtown. This one little bell. St. Emmerich. It rang by itself for a few minutes, me trying to get the rope motion right. It is an interesting experience, ringing these bells. You feel the weight of the bell, pulling the ropes. At the same time you feel it is not a huge bell. It is like learning to work a hula hoop. The motion is not as big as you are thinking it will be. As I was ringing it I noticed a printout instructing bell ringers. It said, "St. Emmerich is a small bell and does not require a lot of effort."
After I rang St. Emmerich for a few minutes St. Stephen chimed in. Now we have two bells going. Lou was operating St. Stephen. Finally the big bell began to ring. We do not know what the big bell's name is. I got emotional thinking about Pennario, about how this was his church when he was little. He heard these bells.
Our cat at Big Blue across Niagara Square was hearing these bells! So were the workers setting up for the second day of Taste of Buffalo. Everyone hearing these bells that have been heard for a century.
On the printout there is this protocol that tells you how to stop ringing the bells. My bell, St. Emmerich, stops first. Then the middle bell stops. Finally the big bell stops.
It was a thrill, ringing the bells of St. Anthony of Padua Church! I am afraid the rest of the week will not measure up.