Our apartment is directly across the street from the Naval Academy and just a little bit down the block from the Naval Academy chapel, where midshipmen get on the longest wait lists EVER to get married. I have yet to see a wedding there, but I rarely go on the yard. My view of the chapel is the back view, pretty much. But I can hear it! Bells chime on the quarter hour from 8am to 8pm daily. Sometimes I can tune them out, sometimes every quarter hour shoves me through the day. Most of the time I don’t mind them. What I’m not crazy about are the songs. At noon every day, after the bells ring the hour, they play “Eternal Father, Strong to Save”, and at 6pm every day, they play…something. I think it varies, and it’s not always recognizable. Sometimes it’s not even recognizable as a melody. Tonight, though, it was “Amazing Grace”. I think. I’m pretty sure.
The Naval Academy website has a page for the chapel but NOTHING about the bells. I found a 16-year-old article in the Washington Post about them, so now I know that they’re not rung by people (they’re digitized), I’m right about the Navy Hymn at noon every day, and apparently a hymn is selected at random from a database at 6pm every day. Although it also says that the organ was going to be hooked up eventually, so maybe eventually came during the last 16 years and some person on the organ is responsible for the 6pm hymns that don’t sound like anything melodic. I choose to believe that.
We’re about to trade constant bell-ringing for train chugging and whistles. Which will we prefer?