Do you remember the first time you heard or were conscious of otherwise experiencing music? I don’t know if what follows is indeed my first musical memory, but it surely ranks near the very earliest. My first church memories, after graduating from the elderly Miss Hattie in the kindergarten room and moving into the sanctuary during worship, were about the sound of worship; particularly, the songs.
It was a small church, very old, with very high ceilings and hardwood everything. The sound in the place made everything more crisp and defined and reverberant. When we would sing “Holy, Holy, Holy” and get to the part about being “around the glassy sea” I always listened with extra attentiveness. All those “s” sounds positively sizzled! I’ve been disappointed for all the years that followed that in no other building has that old standard of the hymnal sounded as good. And then there was the mysterious…the unknown word.
What is “shalping”? In the “Gloria Patri” where we sung…
“As it Was in the Beginning,
Is Now and Ever Shalping;
World without end, Amen, Amen.”
(NOTE: For those of you unfamiliar with this song, what was really being sung was “Shall Be”.) Anyway, I was positively baffled about this “shalping” until probably the middle of my adolescence. What, after all, was shalping. Were we supposed to be doing it? Was there anything wrong if we were doing it (probably not since we were singing about it in church). So just as many another kid, and let’s face it, adult, thinks they’re hearing one thing when quite another is being sung, I will never forget as long as I live that one of my earliest lyrical memories was that I happily sang a puzzle. And by the way, my grown children still look at me and grin as we sing it.
And yes, they sing “shalping”.