Dick Hunt's Blog

May 16, 2011

From Bulldozer Operator to Fixing the Organ.

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 6:50 pm

From Bulldozer Operator to Fixing the Organ.
by Dick Hunt, May 16th, 2011

His name is Gordon Ingram and we were fellow students in Emmanuel College in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in the mid fifties.  He was employed in construction in the Arctic regions of Canada, when he was called of God to train for the Anglican Ministry.  From driving a “Cat and dozer” to hitting the books and in  particular the Book by which Christians have been guided for many centuries,  the Hebrew/Christian Bible.  He was a good student, a good friend and a very stable candidate for Ministry.

I have lost track of him but I want to share a story of his adaptability, which trait served him well in his active Pastoral life down the years that  kept in touch with him.  While we were in College I was pressed into service to assume a half time ministry in a suburban Parish in the City, St. Matthews Anglican, which had a membership of ninety families.  There was an active Choir, an accomplished Organist and an organ which was a monstrous piece of furniture which didn’t perform well.  It squeaked and squawked and  had a bad reputation in the Parish.  There were plans to throw it out and plan for a new one.

I mentioned the problem to Gordon one day and he said he would like to come and have a look at it.  He explained that he knew nothing about music but that he knew a bit about mechanics. We went out to the Church one Saturday afternoon in my car and he took along some simple tools.  The organ was built into a massive free standing Oak case.  It was a full two manual with a motor driven blower to blow through the Reeds. He took off the covers and studied the works. He discovered that mice had been chewing on the pads  and hinges – that many connections had fallen apart and in one spot there was a small coil spring missing. He had some glue and felt cloth with him and we had a vacuum cleaner with which he cleaned the whole interior.  We went downtown and bought a spring for sixteen cents.

Back to the job as the afternoon wore on. He correctly diagnosed all the mechanical problems, connected up all the loose parts, restored all the paddings as necessary, hooked up the spring and put the covers back on.  We went home.  On Sunday morning Ruth and I and the children went off to Church  and I watched to see what would happen when the organist sat down to play.  She set the stops as she normally tried to do, without much success because of the mice and malfunctioning interior.  She looked puzzled, then amazed, then incredulous, then broke into big smile.  She said for all to hear, “what has happened to the organ.  It works!” .

All plans to scrap the organ evaporated.  All thoughts of buying a new one disappeared.  At a cost  of sixteen cents, the organ became everyone’s  favourite.  And Gordon failed to submit a bill for the spring.  When I left there in the spring for Ordination as a Deacon in Calgary, the Organ was functioning as well as ever.  And Gordon still couldn’t carry a tune.

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