Recently, during a drive through the downtown-trodden streets of Nassau, I pointed to Christ Church Cathedral in tune with telling Chris that my grandfather once played the pipe organ there. With us at the accomplished age of 94, my grandfather recalls playing every Sunday, wedding, and funeral, for three consecutive years in the early 1950s. He recalls, at times, playing for a gathering of no more than fifteen.
“It was difficult to play to that kind of congregation” he remembers of the small 7 p.m church service.
Years later his father, my great-grandfather, would donate a German-made choir organ. An organ that he says, in comparison to the softer sound the British organ produced, “made a shrill sound, much like the German themselves.”
Like this lighthouse and this fort, the Gothic styled cathedral is constructed of locally quarried cut lime-stone blocks, held together primarily – though not entirely – by their size and the weight of gravity, rather than by cement.
Passing this stalwart structure, Chris, who never tires of these humble history lessons, responds saying how blessed I am to identify with this pinnacle, and similar such structures of history.
He’s right. Like many Bahamians, I am fortunate to find my identity deeply rooted in the varied landmarks which dot the archipelago.
Looking beyond the musical instruments that tie me to this pillar of history, I recall watching this couple exchange vows here. Far less joyfully, I remember saying farewell to one too many departed family, and friends, here. A small part of my family identity is inscribed on a plaque fixed to a wall, here.
And fortunately, or unfortunately – depending on who you ask – heard in the shrill notes of the German-made organ, here.
Be sure to add the Christ Church Cathedral to your Nassau Island Itinerary. Its storied past charts back far further than mine.