Wednesday, January 2, 2008

If you're not musically inclined, you might want to skip this one altogether...

and even if you are (musically inclined), it may still prove confusing. But just in case anyone wants to sing the door song, "One Door And Only One (And Yet Its Sides Are Two)" from my New Year's Day post, here are the notes in the melody line, in the key of F:

F-C-C-F-F-C, C-F-G-A-Bb-C,
D-Bb-D-C-A, F-G-G-A-G.
F-C-C-F-F-C, C-F-G-A-Bb-C,
D-Bb-D-C-A, F-A-A-G-F.

Rhythm, rhythm, how to convey the rhythm. I'll use H to indicate a half note, Q for a quarter note, E for an eighth note, and S for a sixteenth. If an E is followed by an S, the eighth was really a dotted eighth. Ready? Here's the rhythm for "One Door And Only One":

Q-E-S-E-S-E, S-E-S-E-S-H,
Q-E-S-Q-E, S-Q-E-S-H,
Q-E-S-E-S-E, S-E-S-E-S-H,
Q-E-S-Q-E, S-Q-E-S-H.

Is everything perfectly clear?

We also sang another song back in that little Methodist church in the 1950's. We sang it for both Sunday School and Vacation Bible School simply by changing the word "Sunday" to "Bible."

Step, step, step, step,
We're going to Sunday School.
Step, step, step, step,
We're going to Sunday School.
We're going there to work and play,
We're going there to sing and pray,
Step, step, step, step,
We're going to Sunday School.

Using our now tried-and-true method, here are the notes (again in the key of F) for "Step, Step, Step, Step (We're Going To Sunday/Bible School," followed by the rhythm pattern:

C-D-E-F, F-A-Ab-A-Ab-A,
C-D-E-F, F-Bb-A-Bb-A-Bb,
C-D-E-F, F-A-F-G-E-F.

Q-Q-Q-E, S-E-S-E-S-H,
Q-Q-Q-E, S-E-S-E-S-H,
S-E-S-E-S-E-S-H (held),
Q-Q-Q-E, S-E-S-E-S-H.

I believe someone in that little Methodist church, possibly Mrs. Sally Huffman, wrote both songs and also a little poem that was used for birthdays. During Sunday School opening exercises, for which all ages were present, people who had celebrated a birthday during that week walked forward and placed an offering in the flower-fund jar, then turned and faced the congregation to receive the following birthday blessing, recited by young and old alike, en masse:

Many happy returns of the day of thy birth,
May sunshine and gladness be given;
And may the dear Father prepare thee on earth
For a beautiful birthday in Heaven.

Something else I believe: They don't make churches like they used to. [Update. Someone told me that "that little Methodist church" now has more than 3000 members and is the biggest church in town.]


  1. Are you saying you actually were acquainted with the author of "One Door and Only One" AND that little birthday poem???

    In my Baptist Church when I was growing up, we sang "One Door" almost every Sunday morning at Sunday School opening songtime. AND we recited that birthday poem on the last Sunday of each month, and yes, the birthday people for that month would walk up and put coins in a dish.

    My father-in-law passed away a couple months ago, ON HIS BIRTHDAY! I kept thinking of that little poem, so right before the funeral service, I asked the pastor if I could stand up and say the seemed so very appropriate!!

    I can't believe I've run into someone else who knows about that poem.

    I see you list "Field of Dreams" as one of your favorite movies. Have you ever been to the Field of Dreams in Iowa, where the movie was filmed? Its about an hour away from where I live, and I've been there several times on school field trips.

    God's blessings on your day!

  2. Hello, Jeannelle! I'm glad you found my blog. How did you happen upon it?

    Well, now, I am going to have to backpedal a little and say I don't really know whether Mrs. Sally Huffman wrote the "One Door And Only One" song or the "Many happy returns" poem. I guess I have just always thought she did because she liked to make up poems and songs, and since I never found anyone else who was familiar with either, I made an assumption that may be totally wrong. I mean, if Baptists in Iowa and Methodists in Texas know the song and the poem, their roots probably go back a bit further.

    My dad grew up in Cedar Rapids but I have visited Iowa on only three occasions, years before Field of Dreams came along. My uncles and grandparents are buried in Linn County. Another tie I have to your state (I assume that's where you are) is that some of the students and teachers from the old Omaha Baptist Bible College used to attend the same church I attended in Bellevue, Nebraska, when I was stationed at SAC Headquarters back in the Dark Ages. OBBC changed its name to Faith Baptist Bible College and moved to Ankeny, Iowa, in the sixties. Oh, and I have a second cousin who is (or was) an adjunct professor of mathematics at Nortern Iowa in Waterloo. Small world.

  3. P. S. - I just googled "One Door and Only One" just to see what was out there and found 29,600 references! In the first few pages, I found it under "Classic Kids Songs" and on several Baptist sites, but also under such headings as "Subversive Influence: Songs That Should Be Banned From Sunday School" and "A Troublesome Text" and "unPC lyrics." From this I conclude that one man's meat is another man's poison. The most unusual site I saw was a translation into Armenian.

  4. I think I clicked on your intriguing name, "rhymeswithplague", the other day on scot mcknight's Jesuscreed site, which I landed at from the internetmonk site. What a spiral the internet is!!

    Yes, a small world it always is.....I live not far from Cedar Falls and UNI, where my daughter is a student. My other daughter lives in Ankeny, so I know where Faith Baptist Bible College is.

    Your blog posts are very well done, and fun to read! I'll keep your wife in my prayers.....hopefully all is still going well with her recovery.

    It's interesting what you found when you googled the "One Door" song. Here's a few other Sunday School tunes I remember from way back: "Climb, Climb Up Sunshine Mountain", "The Happy Day Express", "The B-I-B-L-E", "This is the Way We Walk to Church", "Do Lord", "Oh, Be Careful Little Eyes".......

    I've attended a LCMS Lutheran Church since my marriage 30 years ago, and they don't sing those little songs.

    At the Field of Dreams movie tourist site, for many years there were two souvenir shops, because the site straddled two farms, and the owners each wanted in on the tourist trade! Kind of silly. I'm not really a Kevin Kostner fan, but that movie is so moving near the end when his departed father plays ball with him. A classic tear-jerking scene for me.

    Keep up your great blogging!! I'll be reading.

  5. I've just read all your posts. Your writing is fantastic.....even though your profile says you're in the technology field, you must actually be an English teacher or Creative Writing instructor! 'Fess up!

    I'm going to look up your two stories on Prairie Home Companion. Have you read Lake Wobegon Days?

  6. Well, thank you very much for those kind words. Trust me, I spent thirty-some years in IBM and AT&T (and AT&T's spinoff, Lucent Technologies). Much of the time I was a technical writer, although I was also a computer programmer, an instructor, and a project manager. Throughout my career years I was the chief spelling checker and unofficial editor of memos every place I ever worked.

    Going way back, I was valedicorian of my (very small) high school class, struggled between majoring in either English or sacred music (organ) for two years, but dropped out of college for financial reasons and joined the Air Force. It was in the Air Force that aptitude tests indicated I would be good at computer programming, and that's what I was doing at SAC Headquarters. Upon being discharged, I was hired by IBM. By that time I was married with one child and another on the way. I felt I didn't have the luxury of going back to school when I had a family to support, and later I was more interested in making sure my children had an education that in pursuing my own. Maybe one day I will go back and finish what I started.

    I have written some poems over the years and those two short stories that I submitted to Prairie Home Companion. This past year I wrote my first book (sort of a novel and sort of not), had four copies spiral-bound at Fed Ex-Kinko's, kept one of them, and gave each of my three children a copy for Christmas. The book's title is Billy Ray Barnwell Here: The Meanderings Of A Twisted Mind. I don't know whether it's any good but at least it's finally out of me and onto paper. I love to read Pat Conroy and Flanner O'Connor. Maybe I have always been a frustrated English teacher.

    Enough of "true confessions" for this time!