27 September 2008

76 trombones

During high school, Saturdays in the fall meant one thing for me: marching band. I was in the color guard, on the flag line. We marched in parades and field shows every Saturday from the middle of August until Thanksgiving. We spent hours on the street, lining up, straightening ranks, rounding corners. If the ground was dry we were marching formations and learning to step exactly three paces to five yards on the field. If it was muddy, the director reserved us 100 yards of the parking lot for practice. It paid off. We took home awards and were invited to the National Independence day parade in Washington DC. Summer marching was new, but we were up for the challenge, to the point of winning the competition.
The home show was Tri_State Band festival. This year we took the Things down to watch for only the second time. Waitressing and working in nursing all these years, I've hardly ever had the last Saturday of September free. It was fun to see. Most of the bands do a mini-show on the street. It's annoying as heck when they're holding up a regular parade, but this show is all bands, so what the heck. One of my friends from band now directs one of the major AAA contenders in the region. They looked awesome. The tri-state area has several major competitions every fall; Brookings, Vermillion, Sioux Falls, Brandon and, of course, Tri-State. My part of the country has summer marching, if the program hasn't been cut all together. Field shows get trotted out for homecoming games, then forgotten. Saturday was all about the nostalgia for me. It was a good thing.
We got in some bonus time with grandparents as well. We've now made at least one pass through the ranks of family neglected during Elsie's illness. Nice to be home now.

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