The Meenister’s Log
After Quasimodo’s death, Bishop Thomas of the cathedral of Notre Dame sent word through the streets of Paris that a new bell ringer was needed. The bishop decided that he would conduct the interviews personally and went up into the belfry to begin the screening process.
After observing while several applicants demonstrated their skills, he decided to call it a day.
Just then a lone, armless man approached him and announced that he was there to apply for the bell ringer’s job.
Bishop Thomas was incredulous. ‘You have no arms.’
”No matter,’ said the man, ‘observe!’ He then began striking the bells with his face, producing a beautiful melody on the carillon. The bishop listened in astonishment, convinced that he had finally found a suitable replacement for Quasimodo. Suddenly, while rushing forward to strike a bell, the armless man tripped and plunged headlong out of the belfry window to his death in the street below.
The stunned bishop immediately rushed down the stairways. When he reached the street, a crowd had gathered around the fallen figure, drawn by the beautiful music they had heard only moments before. As they silently parted to let the bishop through, one of them asked, ‘Bishop, who was this man?’
‘I don’t know his name,’ the bishop sadly replied, ‘but his face rings a bell.’
The Meenister’s Log
The bell had been forged in Scotland, taken to Canada and eventually ended up in Arouca in Trinidad.
It had lain disusused for many years, but now it was to be housed in its own belfry: in a free standing scaffolding-like tower just outside the front door of the Barrow Memorial Church.
It was their pride and joy. And I was asked to dedicate it.
Standing amid a large group of members and friends, beneath the tower, with my Book of Common Order opened at the right place, I started to read the appropriate words.
Standing beside me was the caretaker. She was a wee totally toothless woman who never wore her dentures, had a man’s “bunnet” perched on her head and “baffies” on her feet. She was what we’d charitably call “a character”.
She was intensely proud of her church and of this wonderful bell, so much so that when I had just said “And we dedicate this bell….” and before I’d got to “to the glory of Almighty God”, she grabbed the rope and started pulling on it with the strength of ten men”
The noise was literally deafening, and at the service which followed in the church building I felt my head vibrating and couldn’t even hear what I was saying myself.
I went back to the home of one of my elders following the service, but turned down his kind offer of “one for the road”
It was, of course, a dram of…………Bells