Right in the middle of Bingo on Tuesday evening, Helen had a “squirrel!” moment. What’s a “squirrel!” moment? This.
Rhonda: “B-14. B, 1, 4. G-56. G, 5, 6.”
Helen: “I remember when I was a little girl and the school band was marching down the street, practicing during the school day. Several neighbors were standing on their porches watching the kids and listening to their music as they marched, and the band director walking beside the kids yelled out, ‘They’ll get better!'”
I ignored Avis. Helen stirred up some very fond memories that I was not going to let pass. So we visited for about a minute about parades and bands and Mrs. Ramsey, one of my all-time favorite teachers as the Haven Grade School Band Instructor and fellow french horn player who taught me to love that instrument so much, and Mr. Lee, the other band teacher who wore funny pants that were hiked up to his chest and the other band director known as Very Large Mustache Director because I cannot remember his name and the joys of autumn marching band practice in the middle of the school day with the crunch of leaves underfoot and kids who were antsy to be outside of the classroom and buying those white boots to accompany the drum majorette uniform and having my very own whistle to lead the cadences and LOVING not having to march with my heavy french horn instead carrying the huge silver baton and the Haven Fall Festival and Band Day in McPherson and those goofy plume helmets with the white chin straps and being so glad I got to wear a cute royal blue skirt instead of those nasty-looking blue pants with white tennis shoes even though the skirt was embarrassingly short and being so pompous about my band forming straight lines and keeping their straight lines and loving when the band director would walk clear over on the sidewalk among the people and let me lead all by myself and being jealous of the girls who got to carry the Haven Grade School Bobcat Banner and Susan who twirled that baton and had all of the boys’ attention. Okay. Maybe all of that wasn’t talked about in a minute, but Helen and I were having our moment in spite of Avis shushing us.
(I don’t know who these kids are, but they are adorable.)
And then we talked about how much we love parades and hearing the bands coming down the street during Band Day at the State Fair and pumping gas at the gas station while the bands took over Main Street and watching with the customers while I washed their windows and finding the very best spot on the sidewalk for the tossed candy and thinking how terrific it would be if that local politician would just walk up to me and shake MY hand and the smell of the horses and hearing the sirens on the fire trucks a block away and laughing at the antics of the old guys in the little cars with those funny hats with tassels attached and so wishing I could sit on a float someday and getting mad at those selfish kids who grabbed the candy that was tossed to ME and laughing when a clown did something funny and a souped-up car died in the middle of the street and stalled the whole parade and wishing I could have brought MY dog to the parade because everyone else in the world brought theirs and hating when those souped-up cars revved their engines RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME and being so disappointed when the street sweeper arrived, because that meant the parade was over.
So today, I am grateful for Helen’s squirrel moment that conjured up these very pleasant memories.
And I am grateful for those Shriner guys who don’t mind wearing funny hats if it means they get to drive around in funny cars making figure 8’s.