Chapter 2 Open Windows
The poor soldier boys staggered and collapsed thirsting to death from the hot African desert sun. It was then, as they lay quietly in pretended unconsciousness, that reality returned as the tones of the organ fell softly but clearly on their ears. Sometimes they could hear this faintly from their own yard and they always wondered which church the sounds came from. This was frustrating for they could never get permission to go look for the origins of the sound.
But this time, unencumbered by orders to stay in the yard, they made a beeline, stopping and listening all the way, straight to the source of the tantalizing sound. They were as curious as ever to find out more about this mysterious organ. They were excited because it was a strange church but mostly because on this day the burning curiosity had finally found it's full flame in opportunity.
All of the stopping, listening and running led the boys straight as an arrow to the imposing edifice that was 2593 King Avenue. Jimmy and Harry stood in awe before the majestic building. The Willowbranch Baptist Church had a Romanesque porch with steps that descended from the front and on both sides of the big carved doors. A stone balustrade extended at a constant height all the way to the end of the steps on each side. By grabbing the ornate lamp pole there, and leaning while precariously balancing at just the right angle and elevation, they could peer in through one of the opened side windows and clearly see the choir loft at the far end of the building.
Because of the heat of the southern summer the church organists of the town, by custom, practiced in the early mornings with the windows of the sanctuaries wide open to catch a cool breeze. Church organists do like their comfort and nothing is more uncomfortable than sweating over the keyboards of a pipe organ console. It's messy and not at all dignified.
There, in the middle of the choir loft, was the console of the organ, and there sat a man, his back to the windows, playing it! Of course, Harry and Jimmy could see and hear just enough to tease curiosity to a higher temperature. Without a word they headed to, and crawled through, the big Azalea bush hedge on the north side of the church.
Once they got into the bushes they found that they could walk upright and they could look straight up at the windows which were half again as high as their heads and very unreachable. Not to be outdone by a mere six foot height they ran around to the south side of the building and crawled through that hedge.
Here they found opportunity in the form of an old oak tree stump which the Azaleas had engulfed ages ago. It was not at the right angle to be a convenient spy post, however. After a bit of whispered discussion it was decided to shinny up the four or so feet of the stump, stand on it, then jump and grab the sill of the nearest open window ledge. Older more experienced kids would have seen right away that it was as dangerous as it was probably impossible, but Harry and Jimmy were not hampered by thoughts of safety or plausibility.
They did manage to stand together on the stump and, on the count of three, they flung themselves at the window. Miraculously they managed to get hold of the window sill and, by considerable straining, pulled themselves up onto the ledge. This proved their undoing because the momentum of their mighty pull caused both boys to go head over heels onto the hard wooden floor of the side aisle of the church.
Their entrance into the sanctuary of the Willowbranch Baptist Church was a sudden and very noisy one and it happened at a quiet moment of great concentration by the organist. The boys yelled in hurt, the organist yelled in fright, and it was through the ensuing events that the boys were introduced to Mr. Johnathan Edwin, organist and choirmaster of the Willowbranch Baptist Church.