Posted by: rcottrill | April 21, 2010

My Father and the Olive

Many years ago, when my father was a boy, he had the unpleasant experience of eating his first olive. It happened at a church supper, where, as usual, there were lots of goodies of all kinds, providing a wonderful feast for all present. And as he moved down the table, loaded with tempting delicacies, young Ted (my father) added an olive to his plate–something he had never tried before.

After he had passed through the line, he took a seat with his friends and began to enjoy the supper–until, that is, he came to the olive. He took one small, tentative bite, made a face, and then sat there wondering whether there was a polite way of getting rid of the rest.

How could anyone like these sour little things? Ugh! What he did was step out the side door of the church, which led to an alleyway. There, with a mighty heave, he consigned the offending hors d’oeuvre to outer darkness. (He used to say that he threw that olive so hard it must be going still!)

In later years, my father would occasionally retell this story, with a chuckle, at the dinner table with friends–often while nibbling on an olive, because he eventually did become quite fond of them.

Which brings me to the moral of my little tale. Some things in life are an acquired taste. We must be careful about making hasty judgments based on our initial exposure. That applies to music, as well. Based on past experience, and choices we have made, each of us has definite likes and dislikes when it comes to music.

It could be that the traditional hymns and gospel songs of the church have not been a part of that experience for you. But before you throw them away, I encourage you to take some time to check out the authors, and their work more carefully. (My purpose in this blog is to help you with that.) I believe, with patience, you will begin to appreciate what a wonderful treasure we have within the covers of our hymn books.


  1. We are not just the church of today. We are the Church, as she continues the teaching of the apostles, who in turn carried out the teaching of the Prophets before them, which connects us to the very promise of the Messiah in the Garden of Eden (He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise His heel).

    So it is important that we retain the teachings of the Church. One way we do that is through her hymns. And what a blessed gift that is!

    • Well said.


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