Wednesday, July 11, 2012

the "way back" file

Don't want to talk about the walk today, of the woman I met while getting a coffee who told me she went on vacation with her diabetic aunt to the Rose Bowl, had to do a lot of walking resulting in her aunt not needing her shots from the activity but when they returned home she would not keep walking. "Some people you just can't reach." I thought I might tell one of my most embarrassing days, not a moment but that's just too much writing. So here goes...suspended from school the day of a jazz band competition, father and teacher went to bat for me so I could play that evening. Had a drum lesson that day after school, there my dad surprised me and told me to pick out a drum set, he thought that ordering them would lift my spirits after such a bad morning, he wanted me to feel good for the competition that evening. After we returned home from the lesson my father said he had some thing to do and would see me at the band competition later. This was his usual pattern. When I arrived with another band member who drove with my little drum kit I had at school. The one I had played since I first began to play. The one that I had finally learned three jazz "feels", three jazz songs. When I arrived at the school gymnasium-auditorium I walked in the side doors in the corner by the stage wall. There, along the wall was a line of brand new cases filled with my brand new drum set. Not ever played, tuned or tightened. The bleachers were rolled out on the opposite side. The bleacher was filled with parents,family and staff from six schools all talking amongst themselves like you might imagine at any school function... A hush filled the room and all eyes were on me...then my father appeared insisting I put them all together and knock this competition "out of the park". I could only get him to settle for me to set up the few I needed to play what I knew. We had fifteen minutes make that happen. It was like a sudden death survivor puzzle trying to find the drums I could use (did I mention the new set had 13 drums, with cases and a large hardware crate with wheels filled with stands,etc?) for the competition. I. Was able to get them cobbled in some alignment similar to what I had been practicing with three minutes to spare...Then I hit them with a stick, the drum heads had not been tightened, never been played in the store. I could get better sound out of a five gallon bucket. There were so many things my mind was trying to process when it was time to play the three songs I had feebly mastered enough for my teacher (who hated me) to smile when I played. I started the first song second, the second song first and the last song first. I ruined all three songs. It was horrible. We came in last for the first time in my instructors career... My father had come with his girlfriend. They had filled his AMC-Hornet and her Crysler-Matador with all the drums to get them there. He handed me the keys to his ccar and said he would see me at home and he left. I had never driven a car. I was underage and never driven a stick-shift, never used a clutch. My band mates felt sorry enough to help take to my homewhat I couldn't get in the Hornet. I learned to drive only being able to see in front and to my left. I had never been on that side of town and had a bout five mils to get home. I stalled that car more times than I could count but got home where my band mate helped me get the drums out of his car and left without saying much. My father and I never spoke of that day. He let me drive the Hornet from that day on everyday for almost two years before I got a permit. I found out later my father had used money from an insurance settlement from when I broke my back as passenger in a car that hit a garbage truck head-on at sixty miles per in the fog, a bad day but not my most embarrassing day.
I walked through Eugene today all the way to Goshen. I put shoes on Nice (the dog) during the heat of the day. Met some good and friendly people today. Many encouraging stories.

1 comment:

Christina said...

I saw you on Saturday just north of Corvallis, and then passed you again this morning as I was heading through Goshen on my way to work. This is a great way to raise certainly caught my attention! I hope you have a safe walk today, with no garbage trucks or un-tuned drum kits! Take care!