Hello Dolly and God

 When I was young we drove from New York to Western Pennsylvania every summer and spent weeks at my grandparent's house. They lived in a big old house in a small Allegheny forest town. We picked huckleberries for pies and caught crayfish in the creek. It smelled like tar, the ozone after thunder storms, and the oiled roads. But it sounded like church. There was a  church bell that rang on the hour and there was a carillon in the tower that played the angelus  morning and evening, and heavy hymns before mealtimes and late, before bedtime. You could hear it on a a porch in a rainstorm during a Monopoly game, or through the screened window at dawn. I just woke up to the carillon at Alaska Pacific University. I listened through my dorm window as it played the angelus over the sleeping campus and for a minute I was not sure where I was. The other night, late, I couldn't sleep because of the northern light, and the noise of the city, and I was missing home, when I heard the same bells playing Hello Dolly. If they had been playing Simple Gifts I might have cried, but Hello Dolly changed everything. I wonder who is playing those bells? When I was at my grandparent's house I used to think it was God. It is nice for a minute to think that's still true, and that God prefers showtunes to dirges.


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