It was not uncommon for me to take my seat at the Baby Grand on the left side of the altar to play/sing a song. (I pulled this picture from the church's Facebook page to give you a visual.) What you can't tell from this picture is that the piano used to sit on ground level. A few years before the church had done a remodel, stripping out the orange carpet, taking out the old pews, and fixing up the altar. One of those touch ups was to bring the piano and organ (on the right) up to the level of the pulpit. In the design there were stairs cut out of the platform up against the wall so we could get to our seats.
My lovely performance (I'm not talking about the song) happened the Sunday before Christmas.... you know the one where EVERYONE who might possibly attend shows up? Yeah that one. The seats were full, the poinsettias perfectly in place, and as the ushers made their way to the front so did I. The music minister would often ask me to do a song while the offering was collected, just as he had that particular Sunday.
See the way it worked at my sweet Southern Baptist church is that after the ushers came forward one of the deacons would read the prayer list aloud, pray and then offering would begin. So there would be no gap in between I would always take my seat as the deacon walked to microphone. Except this time..... well that didn't go so well.
The room was silent as people waited to hear the names needing prayer but the silence didn't last long. See the bench was too close to the wall... you know the place where I mentioned where those stairs were built in? Yeah... one of the legs of my bench was over the stairs instead of the platform. So when I sat down, the bench flipped backwards... and so did I.... not just off the bench.... off the platform. Feet in the air doing a complete backflip right off the altar.
As you can kind of see in the picture there's a white partition out front so my view from the ground was obstructed. I could only see "Uncle" Harold & "Aunt" Sarah. (We're not really related but it always felt like we were.)
I can still remember Uncle Harold coming out of his seat (along with many others) and everyone gasping. I'm sure they thought I had broken a bone somewhere in that mess. Though it did knock the breath out of me and bruise my derriere, my main concern was getting out of the floor and salvaging what little bit of dignity I had left. The silence returned and quickly turned to laughter as I threw my hand in the air and shouted "I'm okay!"
I chuckle as I think about it. I'm not sure how the deacon proceeded with the prayer list, but I'm sure I was a last minute add. That Sunday wasn't a moment I want to repeat but I sure to wish someone could have got that on tape... I might have finally won my $10,000 from
America's Funniest Home Videos.
Were any of you readers there that Sunday (or maybe wish you were)?
What's your most embarrassing moment?