In June of 1982 I played the organ for the funeral of a man whose wife, Flo, was an acquaintance of mine. In November of 1993 she got remarried, but I did not play for her wedding because I was getting married on the same day. Thus, I had never met the second husband, Francis, who, by the way, loved Paris and moved with Flo to the city of his dreams.
Flo and I exchange Christmas cards and in one of them she told me that she had heard I was going to be in Germany so she wanted me to fly over to Paris and visit Francis and her since I was already in the neighborhood anyway. (The American perception of distance applies here.) So, I wrote to Flo and told her I would drop by. Francis e-mailed, saying that he would meet me at the airport in Paris, that he would be wearing a big Texas-sized cowboy hat, and that I could not miss him.
I was in Dresden playing the organ at the Dreikonigskirche, the Three Kings Church, on a lovely little tracker organ. This instrument has an elegant touch; the builder, whom I cannot remember, was a master who knew exactly what he was doing. While I was in Dresden Francis e-mailed again saying that he would NOT be meeting me at the airport because he and Flo were going to a “Tour de France” party. It seems that I was coming to town on the eve of the final day of the Tour de France, a day that happens one in every 365 in Paris. Francis started giving me directions from the airport. My only thought was something like , “You’ve got to be kidding.”
So, I got on the airplane in Dresden, armed with a return address on a Christmas card. These days I might also have had an I-pad or a smart phone carrying Francis’ directions, but not back then. My plane landed in Frankfurt, and a German woman of about 30 years of age entered the plane and took her assigned seat beside me.
I don’t know that I ever caught her name, but this friendly lady was on her way to Paris, spoke English, of course, was going to visit American friends, and knew where she was headed. We began to chat and I showed her the return address on the Christmas card envelope that I had. She informed me that her friends lived on the same street as my friends so I promptly asked if her I could follow her to the relevant street.
We got off of the airplane, boarded the train my new friend said to get on, and got off the train when she said to do so. After walking not two blocks we met her American friends. I introduced myself and explained my situation. In not five minutes we had arrived at their street. They took a left and I took a right, and I found myself 1/2 block from Flo and Francis’ address. I checked myself into the hotel, for which Flo had already made me a reservation, across the street from their apartment The next morning I knocked on their door and we had a fine visit of about 36 hours.
I have a collection of paintings here in my place and all of them, with one exception, have a musical theme. That exception shows an angel hovering over a person, looking after her as it were. If only because of my experience in Paris, I believe guardian angels are as real as the instruments shown in my other paintings.
The observant person will discern that the title of this piece should actually be “The Miracle on the Plane in Frankfurt.” But the truth is that miracles have no geography. God is everywhere, not just in church where I play the organ. Look around.