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The weather did not approve of Pamela Loxley Drake's attempt at playing the organ, she remembers.

COURTESY PHOTO - Pamela Loxley DrakeThe wind blew and the sky darkened as I sat in the old wood-framed church, our second home.

I didn't ask to take organ lessons. I didn't even like the organ. Mom thought it would be good if I learned to play it after my seven years of piano.

"You can practice at the church," Mom said.

I still didn't want to take it.

Dad dropped me off at the church, promising to return in about 30 minutes. Just enough time for me to become a concert organist.

The empty sanctuary grew dark not long after I arrived. I played part of my lesson tapping away on the keyboard and dancing on the pedals with my bare feet.

I then decided that sitting in the church in the dark was not conducive to reading music. I went back to the light bank to flip the switch, only to discover that the power had gone off.

Hmm. It was still too early in the day for it to be so dark. Why was it dark? Why was I practicing the organ? Why was my mother torturing me?

I grew up in that church. Played in the sandbox as a preschooler, sang "This Little Light of Mine" in Sunday school and was baptized there. On Sundays, it was a warm, loving place with the same people, sitting in their same pews.

However, on that day with the lights out and the wind pounding against the old frame, I was prayer-worthy. All of the old scripture I had learned about God watching over me flooded my brain. I was sure that all the angels that hung around there were chasing the ghosts away.

The church rattled. The wind blew. I opened one of the big front doors looking for Dad. It was still my unhampered escape route, should mice attack from behind.

As I opened the door, the wind ripped off the billboard sign across the road. It flew away like a misshapen paper airplane.

I had a decision to make. Should I go into the church with the mice, or stand outside and be impaled by an errant limb. Hmm. Easy decision.

Where was my cellphone when I needed it!? Oh, yes, not invented yet.

I was at the church about 90 minutes when Dad finally showed up. Trees were down and across roads, so getting to his youngest holed up in the holy sanctuary was a challenge. With the wind still raging, limbs and leaves flying, we retraced his path. There was a lesson in all this. I knew that Pam should not take organ lessons.

Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl."


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