bit·ter·sweet adjective being at once bitter and sweet; especially : pleasant but including or marked by elements of suffering or regret
Over and over again, I heard the term bittersweet in reference to my last Sunday service as Organist at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. I guess people were sad that I had come to the end of my career — in fact many came up to me yesterday with tears in their eyes. It was a little bit like watching one’s own funeral!
Because I had a feeling President Obama was going to attend the memorial service at Punchbowl for Hawaii’s beloved Senator Daniel K. Inouye (and the streets might be blocked) I left home early in order to arrive at the 8 am service without being stuck in a terrible traffic jam. That’s what happened to me the last time the President was here for the APEC conference and I was stuck on Queen Emma Street on a Sunday morning for 45 minutes without moving. But I made it to the church without incident.
At the announcements time at the end of the 8 am service, Pastor Jeff Lilley kept it short and sweet, saying that this was my last Sunday. He noted that I was hired in 1978 but played services before that. I answered that it was May 1976 that I played my first service. [After coming home and talking it over with Carl, though, I was mistaken — I should have answered May 1975, because I played the Beckerath positiv organ (which now resides at Holy Innocents Episcopal in Lahaina, Maui.)] Whatever — Jeff said he was 16 years old at the time, and had just gotten his drivers license!
When Pastor Jeff asked whether I would rather say a few words or play the postlude, you can guess which option I chose! Yes, I played Bach’s “Fugue on the ‘Magnificat!’ ” I had set up my music the day before and even wore the organ shoes which I normally keep in my car so I would be all ready to jump onto the organ bench. Actually, if pressed to say something, I would have said “You can read it on the blog!”