Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Sunday, June 09, 2013

The Bell Ringers

Imagine a group of young bell ringers, dressed in black pants and pleated tuxedo shirts with red bow ties and cummerbunds. The one young woman is dressed like the young men, except that she has on a black skirt. They have the requisite white gloves and gleaming instruments, a bell to each hand. One of them, Andrew, is very eager, and when he is listening, his face is intent and mobile. 

They are distinctly short. A mad, impertinent wish that the members of the bell choir be dressed as hobbits passes through your mind, tugs off their shoes, and drapes them in vests and coats. Merry and Pippin with bells! You shake your head, the idea flying off. 

Then they play the Gaelic tune "Bunessan" ("Morning is Broken") and the Shaker tune "Simple Gifts," and you clap like mad, tears in your eyes. Bells are heavenly, aren't they? Several of the young men seem over-flowing with pep, and when you finally get to talk with them, you find them merry and sweet and endearing, wonderfully polite. 

They are the bell ringers from Pathfinder Village, a home where children and adults "with Down syndrome and other disabilities discover their own value and talents, and share these gifts with others." Yes, you have received a gift. You say, "Thank you." You say, "I loved it very much."

4 comments:

  1. Sounds like a lovely performance. Where was the performance? Church?

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  2. Yes, they travel around to churches as ambassadors for Pathfinder Village. It was sweet.

    I had forgotten till I saw her note that Beth Adams is a bell ringer...

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  3. i do love this sweet report, and listening and watching bell ringing.

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  4. I'm glad, zephyr--zephyrs ought to love bells, since they often set them ringing!

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.