So yesterday morning I went to the early service as well as the one I normally attend, in order to get more data for my project of helping them get their music woes fixed, and I was able to make some simple calculations. The first service has less than half the music the second service does. In the second service, the congregation has nine opportunities to sing, and four more to listen to other music. The first service has four chances to sing (the songs are generally shorter) and one chance to listen — the chance to listen being a piano interlude during the offertory. Nothing wrong with a good piano interlude, but there are so few people in that service that there isn’t much time for an interlude while the plates are passed.

So even before we consider the style of music or the quality of the song leader or any of the other factors which have been discussed, it is pretty clear that the poor early worshippers are suffering from a dearth of music. I signed up another soloist, pestered a few more people into considering doing stuff, and went home satisfied.

I ensconced myself on the couch. All afternoon, I would begin to feel okay, and would get up to make bread or do a few rows on Erin or put in a load of laundry, and then would begin to feel light-headed and would go back and lie down.

My kids would tell you that, when they wake up feeling poorly, I always tell them to get up and move around and they might feel better. I also believe that the day might warm up as it goes along. And that you might come to like things — food, a job, people — better if you give them a chance.

I didn’t get to feeling better, and I should have quit thinking I would, but I did at least get the laundry done and the bread baked.

My companion in illness was Bill Bryson’s A Lost Continent, his travel book about a tour of small-town America. He started in Iowa. I’ve never been to Iowa, so I was prepared to believe that his description of goofy people and menacing-sounding flatness was accurate. However, he then went to Missouri. I’ve been to Missouri, and he was just wrong about that state, that’s all.

I once emailed an author of travel books, telling him his error in missing the pig de-snooter in the Clay County Historical Museum when he was checking out weird little museums in Missouri. He went to Precious Moments and the Barbed Wire Museum, and it just seemed to me that those were not the best possible choices. He emailed me back, saying that he would be sure to check it out next time he was in that state. I thought that was kind of him.

However, if I had toyed with the idea of making travel suggestions to Mr. Bryson, I quickly gave it up, because the whole book was an airing of his prejudices. Not just about Missouri, either. He hits out at old people, fat people, Mexican music, tourists, Southerners, buses…

It is still an enjoyable book. Bryson is such a good writer that his tale of a rather boring trip which he doesn’t enjoy much, and all his little pet peeves, is very entertaining. And there are people all over who can make intrinsically fascinating things dull. I don’t know what to think about that.

I am back at the old stand today, with a long long to-do list.