By Clive Perry Ririe
(From NETWORK, the family newsletter,
volume 2, December 11, 1996)
Christmas time 1945 was probably
the first time I heard about the great oratorio by George Frederich
Handel. I was almost a year into my active duty in the navy and I
had discovered that most of the sailors went to meetings in the Hillcrest
Ward in San Diego, but the neighboring ward, North Park was located
nearby. So near, in fact, that when windows were open in both chapels,
one could hear “Welcome Welcome Sabbath Morning” from
the Hillcrest Ward during the invocation in North Park. For some
reason, however, most of the transient service people attended the
Hillcrest Ward, but old salt that I was by then, I had discovered
the navy/civilian ratio in North Park was lower.
On a Sunday preceeding, or just
following Christmas, everything turned upside down. All the sailors
went to Sacrament meeting in the North Park Ward. I’ve wondered
how the folks in the other ward felt when all their temporary attendees
I knew why the great shift because
I was privileged to be in the center. I had spent the afternoon with
my buddy, Lee Morrison and his four beautiful sisters. The cute sisters
were the magnet that swelled the North Park ward and left the other
Lee’s sisters were truly
attractive girls, very nicely dressed and graceful. Lee was an intellectual
so I was a little surprised that such pretty girls came from the
same family. The girls looked like every sailor wished his girl back
home looked so it wasn’t difficult to explain the attraction.
Sister Tenney announced that the after Sacrament meeting Fireside
at her home would feature her recordings of Handel’s Messiah.
Sister Tenney was amazed that Handel
had such appeal to young men. Her living room, her entire house,
was standing room only. We had to stand because there wasn’t
room for everyone to sit even on the floor.
Long since the memory of my friend
and his sisters has dimmed but the experience wakened in me a real
appreciation for the words of the prophets who proclaimed the coming
of the Son of Man and for the genius of the composer, Handel who
combined these words with the majestic music he composed.
I’m grateful for Lee’s
pretty sisters. Without them, I might not have gone to that Fireside.
Is it possible that I would have learned to love rock and roll?
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