The bus returns at 5:30 and the band will put on a performance. Said the handout to the band parents.
I left early and pulled into the school drive at 5:05, to find an ominously empty parking lot. Then my pocket jingled and Emily texted: We’re on the field at the middle school.
“What middle school?” I yelled at the universe, and called my sister at home. She located it on the internet, and gave me the street names to navigate. The first drive I encountered on the street she sent me to said Exit Only. Way up the drive, past a jam packed parking lot, through a fence and across the running track I could see the band performing. Beyond the band, the bleachers, the parents.
I passed the Exit Only. The next drive would say Entrance. There was no next drive, there was a dead end street packed on both sides with parental cars dropping of little football players. I worked my way out, backwards, again skipping the Exit Only. I found the entrance around another block, and surveyed the remaining two football field distances to the bleachers. That was never going to happen.
But, I went to the fence, squoze through a gap, leaned over another wall and admired the band. Mighty fancy footwork going on out on that field. I knew this was one of the best high school bands in the county, but had no comprehension of the abilities of a good high school marching band.
Emily is standing on the “o”. That’s her pony tail going right by a tuba.
I also saw a way I could snake my little car cross country, right up to the Penske truck where the luggage and tuba cases were being unloaded. Twenty years experience driving a van to the prime load in/load out spot did not go to waste, and I slipped unobtrusively in at the head of the line as the band streamed off the field. Just like a real parent.
Bringing a flute player home from band camp is not different than bringing a child home from camp. I heard all about two mile marches through the town four times a day to the field. They didn’t play in the morning or at night, it was too late to disturb the townspeople. They played and marched home for lunch and back after lunch. They learned a new dance every morning. There was a drum off with another high school band having a band camp that week, too.
Emily’s favorite routines so far are the Macarena, the Seven Nations Army, the boxer moves, the splits. The words just tumbled out. She had a wonderful time, knows the names of all the girls in her section and most of the girls in woodwinds.
“Oh, and guess what gramma!” She texted her brother all week. He’s going into eleventh grade and plays in the band at the old school. She told him about all the dance routines they were learning. “He’s jealous. They just march!”
We were home by seven, Emily ate dinner, took a shower. I looked in on her at eight and she was sound asleep.