Chapter 6 Miss Mel
Miss Melody Heather Page, age seventeen, daughter of the Reverend Wesley T. Page, new pastor of the Stockton Methodist Church, sat down at the organ one Wednesday morning and began to play “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” About midway through the hymn she became aware that the organ had apparently gained a percussion stop, for on each quarter note beat there was something that sounded for the world like a Bass Drum keeping perfect time. When she stopped playing the `drum' would stop after a beat and, when she resumed, it would begin again.
“Most curious.” she thought.
She left the console to check the pipe chambers. Nothing unusual in there. As she reentered the sanctuary she was sure she heard the scuffling of feet. She registered the organ and began to play the hymn again. A small mirror mounted just to the right of the music rack allowed the organist to see the minister during the service, and she thought she saw a movement reflected there. Yes, there it was again.
“Someone is playing games with me!” she thought.
So, ignoring the situation, she practiced on. Somewhere in the middle of a Bach chorale prelude she glanced up at the mirror and saw two small heads and four eyes peeking over the rail between the pulpit and choir loft. Judging by the way they were intently watching and listening she knew they must be the boys her teacher, Mr. Edwin of the Willowbranch Baptist Church, had told her about.
Miss Page, being a P.K. (a preacher's kid,) had been quite a prankster as a little girl and something mischievous twinkled in her eye. On she played allowing the music to grow quieter as she subtracted stops and slowly closed the swell shades.
“Papa Haydn himself would be pleased with my plan.” she thought.
Now she was playing the quietest stop combination on the organ, the Dulciana with Unda Maris. She continued to glance in the mirror until she saw the little eyes begin to flicker and blink. Carefully her right foot sought the Sforzando toe lever that would instantly engage all thirty-two ranks and couplers in the organ. Then, all at the same instant: she slammed open the swell shades, pushed the Sforzando toe lever, and struck a huge diminished seventh chord.
The effect was like a clap of thunder in the warm and humid summer morning air. Two little boys, who had been nearly lulled to sleep, jumped back from the rail, turned and ran right into each other, then proceeded to seek the quickest route to the exit. They would have found it, too, if Miss Page had not used her best Sunday School teacher's voice and stopped them in their tracks.
Harry and Jimmy skidded to a stop, turned and faced a smiling Miss Melody Page who, being petite, blond, and very pretty, looked like an angel to them. It was mutual love at first sight. Miss Page was immediately taken by the two impish little boys and they were instantly in love with this divine creature who could play the organ!
So it was with dreamy eyes and this introduction, of sorts, that Harry and Jimmy gained another friend and access to yet another pipe organ in their neighborhood.