This feast was going to be different from all the previous feasts in Hijum. No, the two churches would still have their own members going in Sunday clothes to their separate churches, and the members of both churches were called to worship by the inviting drone 'bingg g -- bangg g – ing' of the herformed church bell only, because the gereformeerd bell, though much smaller, was not being tolled anymore for fear that the support holding it would collapse and money for repair had to wait until next years budget was presented and voted on by the male members of of the church as the female members were not allowed to vote, and why should they?
It could only spell trouble, said Bouke, and a 110% more of the men said 'amen' to that.
“Say, a man voted against an issue and his wife voted for it, they might as well have stayed at home since one vote would cancel out the other, but even worse would be the thought that your own wife could cancel out your god given manly vote just by voting against something you were in your heart absolutely sure about and had voted conscientiously100% for.”
Would you be able to live with that?”
The chairman reported on the corps meeting that the drummer would be present three days before the parade and would like to have at least one rehearsal with the all members present.
It had been decided not to play the psalm because some members felt it didn't fit to play on a parade like they were accompanying, while another quoted scripture by mentioning not to throw pearls before the swine and besides nobody would be able to walk that slow.
The corps could play Alte kameraden as good as they were able to and instead of the psalm they had been studying hard on a second but less difficult march.
The leather straps were made and tried to full satisfaction on Bouke, who was able to carry 'the thing from here to the city' as he said and that was at least 10km.
Some of the members were getting a bit of stage fright, but all were excited to get the ball rolling and the chairman leaped into a joyous thanksgiving prayer. The bugs were out of it.
Did he jubilate too early?
There stood two well maintained bikes against the brick wall when came home.
Both elders of the church were waiting with stern faces as the chairman, my father, walked into the room. They stood up to shake hands, after which they went straight to the business for which they came. The store keeper elder took the lead
“Brother Smid it has come to our ears that you as chairman of the christian music club, has given your permission to play for the public school. Can you deny that?”
“Of course not, we had a meeting about that, the young members consulted with their parents, and not one ...” The storekeeper, who was father's major grocery-store competitor in the village, stopped father in mid sentence and asked again
“Did you or didn't you give your permission for the club or whatever you call it to work for...”
This time father interrupted and as calm as he was able to put the storekeeper in his place.
“I want to draw your attention brother that you are in my house right now, and in my house I demand respect, even if you are strong enough to ruin my business.”
Lacking a suitable answer the storekeeper elder looked for help to the other elder, a well to do farmer, who said
“What mister Smid suggests is not unreasonable I think, brother, a man should have respect in his own house. The question of my brother elder is unnecessary though, we know that Smid gave his permission to not only to cooperate with the public school, but actively lead a public parade, thereby and therefore not only endangering himself himself onto the pathway of perdition, but with his misplaced decisions takes several of our longtime members along with him.”
Father's face, taut under the whippings of words by the second elder got now red, as they had crucified him already by not naming him brother Smid, and alluded that he was a newcomer and did not really belong.
“We all know that this is gekkewerk a folly, and against Scripture what you make others and yourself to do, stating 'thou shalt not serve two masters, as …” Now father cut the elder off.
“No,” he said.
“I haven't finished.”
“Not needed. Your intent brothers, was to tell me to retract my word given to mister Wiersma.” ”The president of the public school, right?”
“And what keeps you from doing that Smid?”
… where it says – 'your yea shall be yea and your nay nay.'”
“So that is your last word?”
“Should I go against the bible?”
With that the elders could go home. And they did.
They were lucky at best. As a five year old I saw my father boot a much bigger man than himself out of the house. That was some years later and has nothing to do with today's story, as this happened in 1936 when father as one of 30% unemployed ground workers was walking the street of Hijum from the bridge where we lived to the Loane street, and back again, smoking an empty tobacco pipe to save cash, which was much the trajectory the coming parade was going to cover.
Well, this man, the only son of the local fuel-merchant was likely out trying to make a sale of peat or cokes for our stove, and had received a cup of coffee from my mother, made a remark in jest to her about father being too small for such a good looking woman, which made my father jump up from his chair aiming for the much larger man who in a wink was on his feet as well, but a wink too late, as my father with his head down charged right into the pit of his gut, making him stumble backward, through the backdoor, outside, and on the ground.
I still see the bewildering look on the man's face before my hero father closed the door on him and locked it.
That was then, what was waiting him now? He sure had the church board against him now. When the elders were gone and he had calmed down father realized he had never before been in a pickle as big as right now. And only days before the parade...
Alright, next week more about the church board, about uncle Johannes, and about girls in very short shorts.