April, that month of fools, is indeed upon us and my one and only attempt at giving in to the irresistible urge to see a fellow human being come a cropper as they succumb to some childish prank or other has not resulted in the hoped for outcome, at least not from my perspective.
While I would not wish to make too strong a link with myself and St John and his Patmosian revelation, it would not be too far off the mark to suggest that the idea that somewhat impishly popped into my head whilst in the final stages of setting the communion table was a wondrous inspiration indeed.
April 1st, Sunday morning services and old Mrs Higginbottom’s name on the organ roster are probably as rare a convergence as any solar eclipse and, in that respect, far too good an opportunity to pass up.
In but a trice an ample quantity of superfluous communion wafers were whisked away for summary re-housing within the darkened depths of St Cliff’s trusty old pipe organ to await a terrifyingly discordant and turbulent fate.
Pride, as they say, comes before the a fall and the smug expression that was working its way unstoppably across my face in eager anticipation of the fruitful culmination of my mischievous master plan was, unbeknownst to me, already packing its bags and preparing to leave.
My downfall lay squarely in my fateful choice of first hymn.
Whilst ‘Guide me O thou Great Jehovah’ is as good a stirring an anthem as any to get the circulation flowing through the veins of St Cliff’s comatose faithful, its hearty refrain could not have been employed on much worse a day.
Such bad timing as you could ever have wished for was only compounded by the very first usage of the wafer-stuffed pipes coinciding in unfortunate synchronicity with the singing of the lines, ‘Bread of heaven’.
The raucous cacophany of Mrs Higginbottom’s failed attempt to do this old favourite justice was only outdone by the ensuing stampede as the congregation, en masse, thrust forward to catch the apparent miraculous supply of manna that cascaded earthward.
My futile efforts to come clean and to put the record straight that I was to blame for this ‘miracle’ were simply seen as unbelief on my part and not worthy of someone of my calling.
To make matters worse, (if that were at all possible) some bright spark suggested that we should forsake our Sunday lunches and instead wait upon the Lord for a complementary supply of quail to be visited upon us.
We would probably still be sitting there waiting with unabated hunger had not Mrs Higginbottom seen fit to pass the time by inflicting on the captive audience her reminiscent-of-Les Dawson version of ‘The Entertainer’.
Her painful rendition had the effect of dislodging a lagging communion wafer thus revealing my folly and saving our ears from the ravages of death by organ recital.
Such was the gratitude of the congregation for their timely salvation from the latter that they were more than magnanimous in letting me off the hook, just this once.
Onward and upward