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September 26, 2020

Mack Williams column: Singing at Saint Paul’s homecoming

By Mack Williams
For the Salisbury Post
A couple of months ago, Tim Deal, of the church council of Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church (my home church), said that despite COVID-19, the congregation still wanted me to come sing for them at the church’s homecoming today. They were taking their lives in their hands (well, not really), since my high baritone-tenor voice does project a lot of aerosol. But I imagine I will be placed at a safe distance, since Saint Paul’s is a very large place, providing the room for my distancing.
I was already thinking about this, being in a “Lutheran state of mind,” on a recent walk in a local park on the brink of a late afternoon thunderstorm.
When I heard thunder approaching a little too close for my comfort, I suddenly thought about Marin Luther. Then, quickly upon the heels of Martin Luther, I thought about the golfer Lee Trevino. Luther, the great reformer, was almost hit by lightning; and Trevino, the great golfer, actually was hit by lightning. I guess if Luther had been a Presbyterian, that “golf-ish” juxtaposition would have made more sense; but analogy is sometimes a random thing. My son Jeremy often says I have an undiagnosed case of senior ADHD.
After I survived my walk and the thunderstorm fraught with thought of Luther’s and Lee Trevino’s close calls, I thought about seeing old friends (or parts of them, due to the ever-pervasive, and necessary mask) at Saint Paul’s homecoming. Much in the manner of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera,” (A Masked Ball), I thought about Saint Paul’s Lutheran’s “A Masked Homecoming.”
But if the same applies as to where I currently live, the rest of my old Lutheran friends’ bodies, including particular gaits or other traits, will give them away. I’ve had local friends come up to me and say: “Hi Mack, how’re you doing?” despite me wearing my multiple KN95 masks and WWII repro motorcycle goggles, making me more resemble “The Fly” (1957) than myself.
When I’m at Saint Paul’s Lutheran today singing at the homecoming, despite being covered by masks, I will still know my friends and they will still know me.

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