There is life after high school…

If it hadn’t been for Angie, i would have ignored the invitation.  A High School Marching Band reunion.  i played bass clarinet in the marching band for two years, before bailing out to drink and smoke weed focus on academics.

She was an enthusiastic clarinetist, a year behind me in school.  She was the reason i switched to bass clarinet.  As a second year student, i was “second chair, first clarinet” and Angie was “first chair, second clarinet”.   She wanted to move up, and i was in her way, so just about every week she would “challenge”.

i got tired of it, and asked to play bass.  i was a slug, but i wasn’t going to let her beat me!

i’ve gotten pretty attached to her through the eff-books.  An engaging woman, battling her lifelong problem with her weight, she has been one of the few positive voices in the cacophony that is facebook.  We’ve corresponded over a variety of things – from her challenges with her teenager, weight loss/gain, and medical issues.

She is a five-year survivor of ovarian cancer.  She was recently diagnosed with early stage MS.  She drove 500 miles to go to that damn reunion.  i wanted to give her a hug.

And i did…

We started collecting at the American Legion hall.  The reunion was for all years of marching band alumni, including the drill and flag team members, so there were about a hundred folks attending.

What?  No bar.  No beer.  Crap.  No flask, either.  Deep breath.  Realized it wasn’t the end of the world, but when dealing with ghosts of the horrid high school years, it’s a reasonable way to take the edge off.  Potato chips?  Close enough…

Angie wasn’t too far behind me – and i got to deliver that hug i’ve wanted to give her for the past few years.  It felt good.

The big surprise of the night?  The Band Director, retired after 30 + years, showed up.  Mr. P.  A wiry, hyper man. Yelled a lot.  Cute as hell, we all had terrible crushes on him.  Jazz musician, he’d won our hearts with his quirky sense of humor and crooked smile.

His greatest talent, however, was being able to bitch us out in a constant stream while pulling, packing, lighting and smoking a cigarette.  Throwing his clipboard to the turf, he’d stomp around, and give us holy hell for being losers…

These are, sadly, all things that teachers can’t do anymore.  A pity.

When Mr. P walked in with his wife, the place erupted in cheers!  Mrs. P, another band alumni, had been one of my pals from those years ago, and it was great to see her, too.  She was a couple of years behind me in school…

By the time i wandered over to say hello, Mrs. P’s eyes bugged out of her head as they moved from my face to my name tag, and back again.  “Daisyfae?  Really?”

They both dug around for words… but i saved them the trouble.

“Go ahead.  Say it.  i look better now than i did then.  Same weight as i was then, i just stopped giving a shit about it, and i own it… and i’m really happy.”

But given how i looked in high school?  It really doesn’t take much to look better….