Emily and Hamilton are in marching band. Laura, the little trumpeter, will be there in three years. My future is before my eyes, and clear as light.
After band camp, before school began, Emily and Hamilton had six to nine p.m. marching band practice twice a week. School is in session, they practice one night a week. And play at the game on Friday night. And do a fundraiser or a band show on weekends. I see two Saturdays of my September calendar already marked Band.
One of those first band practices in August I pulled left out of my street onto the road and started on the twelve mile trip to the high school. The band director demands everyone seated, instrument checked, warmed up, ten minutes before six. The four hundred youngsters move quickly enough, I’m sure; nevertheless, it is the equivalent of moving a small battalion. Compound that with twelve miles of going home traffic, and parents from our end of town are on the road about five fifteen.
I fell into line that August night, behind a nice BMW sports utility vehicle and we were on the way. Slowly. I could read the ubiquitous white oval bumper sticker on the BMW. Loud is Good. The motto of their marching band.
“Emily! Hamilton! That’s a band car AHEAD of us!” No place for it to have come from except the next street south, the new housing development in the greedy city down the road. We could see a head in the passenger seat, and as we rounded the first corner Emily made out it was a boy’s head.
They spent the rest of the trip eliminating all the boys they know on their school bus until they settled on the really quiet one whose name they did not know, with the chatty little brother named Liam. Frankly I was disappointed in Emily, who knows EVERYONE.
I rudely stuck to that car like glue, through traffic lights and left hand turns. No one was coming between us. I know how fast parents drop off kids at the curb and leave. There was no possibility I could sprint an extra car length to that car. Before my crew had opened their doors I slammed the car into park and was out mine. The band mom in the BMW didn’t have a chance.
“Hello. I live one street north of you. Are you interested in carpooling?”
She found a scrap of paper and scribbled her name and phone number. I told her my name and said I would call her next day.
It’s a partnership made in heaven. I take them. She brings them home. She’s a skippy young mother who also teaches school in another district. Getting her son there on time would be a problem. I’m an old grandma who does not care to drive at night. I can see this relationship not ending until Liam and Laura graduate.