The Chocolate Bar
September 1995

“The Chocolate Bar,” Ensign, Sept. 1995, 62

The Chocolate Bar

Many years ago, as a young teenage organ student, I was taught a vital lesson by my teacher, Dr. Alexander Schreiner, late Tabernacle organist.

I practiced on the pipe organ in a nearby ward building that was cared for by an older brother who kept the meetinghouse and grounds immaculate. However, he was often a bit cranky and complained about various things, chiefly my practicing. It was too loud, it went on too long, and I used too much electricity. His complaints became so insistent that I had to bring my own lamp to church to put on the organ so I wouldn’t use the lights in the chapel. Then he complained that even the organ was using too much electricity.

As the complaints increased, so did my frustration. It got to the point that I couldn’t practice adequately to prepare for my lessons with Dr. Schreiner. As a family, we discussed the situation and decided I should ask Dr. Schreiner to contact the agent bishop of the meetinghouse to intervene in my behalf.

Soon after, my father took me to the rear of the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, where Dr. Schreiner taught. Between organ lessons, I was able to explain my situation to him.

He listened intently. Then he said, “Yes, as Tabernacle organist I could call the bishop and ask to have him correct the situation,” he said. “But I don’t think that is the best thing to do.” Then he counseled, “I would recommend that you buy the largest chocolate bar you can find, take it to this good brother who is the custodian, and express your appreciation for all he does.”

I was devastated. I had hoped that Dr. Schreiner would solve my problem—all he needed to do was to make a phone call—and yet he had suggested this! Again we discussed the matter as a family, and finally we concluded that I had nothing to lose in following Dr. Schreiner’s recommendation.

We bought the largest chocolate bar we could find, and my mother drove me to the church to practice and to talk with the custodian. Confronting him, I nervously presented the chocolate bar and told him honestly how much I appreciated all he did to make the building and the grounds always look so beautiful. His countenance brightened; he seemed very pleased, and he expressed his gratitude. What followed was a friendly conversation between him and both me and my mother.

It was gratifying to see such a wonderful change occur in our relationship in the next few weeks. If anyone complained about my practicing, this good brother came to my defense. And I didn’t have to bring the lamp to practice anymore. I gained many insights into this brother’s challenges as a custodian, and he and I shared many enjoyable moments over the succeeding months.

The chocolate bar given with appreciation had really worked!

  • Jon W. Meilstrup of the Hershey Ward serves as president of the Harrisburg Pennsylvania Stake.