We have a family custom of giving a thank offering when our gracious Lord blesses us with a baby, and it's happened in the past that this offering takes the form of some special item for the use of the parish. Somewhere over the course of this most recent pregnancy I got it in my head that our church should have a zimbelstern. I fell in love with these thingamajigs when I heard one at a church I visited in first or second grade. If you've heard one, you know why. I set out to find one and learned that they were well out of our price range. But I also read about a dude who built his own out of an old record turntable and telephone bells. We hit some flea markets and found what we were looking for after this conversation:
Husband (not having found record player, but not convinced there isn't one to be had in this massive den of chaos): Do you happen to know if there's an old record player in here somewhere?
Flea Market Lady: Yes, but it's broken.
Husband: Does the turntable work? We don't need it to play records as long as it turns.
Flea Market Lady: You don't need it to play?
Husband: No, we just need it to turn. We're going to use it to build a zimbelstern.
Flea Market Lady (deadpan): Oh, a zimbelstern. Everybody needs one of those.
Next we stopped by our local Buddhist Supply and picked up the luckiest little bells in the world, rescued from their intended pagan purpose to be consecrated for holy use. Then we turned the project over to my mother-in-law, an absurdly skilled crafter of just about anything (I should have skipped college and apprenticed myself to her for four years). She fixed us right up and even managed to package the thing so that it didn't break in the mail. Easter will be the maiden voyage. I am still laughing over the idea of our little church with its little organ having a zimbelstern--ha! We're indebted to the Elephant's Child and the Mad Musician for advising us on zimbelstern etiquette for the Lutheran Mass, a definitive source for which I was unable to locate online. Now, when I come into my money, we're going to get some decent stained glass windows around here . . . .