I can hear the chapel bells chime

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?


  1. momma betty

    I love the Navy Hymn. I don’t know many of the words, but the last line of the first verse “For those in peril on the sea” gives me shivers. I had no idea there were so many verses. (I looked it up.)

    How close are the train tracks to your new house? I predict you’ll soon get used to them. In Shelbyville, we lived only about two blocks from the tracks, but I really only noticed them at night when I would settle into bed and read. Their whistles are a lonesome sound. What song is that from?

  2. Zannah

    I think you’d stop loving it after a few weeks…

    The train tracks are two blocks away, I think. And I don’t know that song.

  3. momma betty

    Not exactly the lyrics but I was thinking of the Hank Williams song, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”

    Hear that lonesome whippoorwill
    He sounds too blue to fly
    The midnight train is whining low
    I’m so lonesome I could cry

    At least I had lonesome and a train in the same verse. 🙂

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