I have been a band parent since my eldest son entered sixth grade back in 2007. That has meant putting up with practicing that can sound like a cat who accidentally got his tail caught in a blender, driving to impossibly hard to locate high school auditoriums in time-stoppered backwaters of the DFW metroplex for obscure and inexplicable tootling contests, working at making popcorn in the concession stand to raise money for marching band, and attending football games solely for the privilege of watching the halftime show. It was hard work. It is hare-raising (I did NOT misspell that, it created rabbits, and didn’t add a single hair to my floppy mass of gray head-mold). And I am going to miss it terribly.
Wednesday night was the last concert as a band parent. My youngest, the Princess, will enter high school next year and will give up being in band for more tech-related training in Turner High School’s engineering program for high school kids. She is excited about it. Focus has already shifted. And I won’t have to pay for another horn lesson again for the rest of my life. It was a good concert. They played a medley from West Side Story, Don’t Stop Believing from Journey, and a classical piece conducted by the student teacher working with the Long band program this year. It was also the last. Another part of my life which lasted for most of the last decade has come to an end.
The Blue Faun who represents the lovely melancholy sensuality that informs my wordy little life.
When I was in Iowa last, and had a chance to see the younger of my two sisters, Mary Ann, she told me flat out that she really liked my most recent blog posts and that I should give up all together on my gloomy pessimistic ones. This, of course, was confusing to me because all my blog posts are relentlessly gloomy and never make anyone smile, so I did not know for certain what she was responding to.
As I have shared on more than one occasion, I suffer from six incurable diseases and am a cancer survivor. I don’t plan on living more than decade further at my most optimistic, and I told you recently that I am a confirmed pessimist. At worst, I could be dropping dead from stroke or heart attack as soon as I post this silly sour old post. I will be absolutely delighted to live long enough to finish another novel or two and maybe even see them published. I keep close track of my remaining hours because each one is rare and precious to me, even the ones that are quite painful and hard. So gloomy is as gloomy does. I am constantly celebrating that I have lived this long already. How depressing is that? … the celebrating every day thing, I mean?
And of all the people who suspect I might be a fish sticks and custard sort of person, Mary Ann is not one of them. She watches Doctor Who and knows that that is exactly what I am. I am goofy and scatter-brained and a barely contained barrel of weird energy and misplaced enthusiasm. I do stuff like fill my bedroom Barbie shelf with bizarre and kitschy little 12-inch people.
The Barbie Shelf
I appreciate melancholy and being blue, because the hollows of the valleys of depression make you appreciate the giddy heights so much more. And I do realize that I am stringing big words and goopy metaphors together to sound all literary and brooding… but that’s what real geniuses whom I am trying to emulate do to reach the highest heights. They run down through the valley at the fastest possible pace to build up enough speed to shoot up the side of the mountain on the other side. It is a Wiley Coyote trick for using cartoon physics in your own favor. It is the reason I am still tending the flower wagon, trying to coax zinnias into blossoming during the depressingly renewed Texas drought. It is the reason I keep adding to my collection of sunrises. The dark blue pieces of the puzzle of life provide the contrast that help you define the puzzle picture of the brightest sunshine and light.
The blossoms in the flower wagon reached a new record number today, despite the heat.
Sunrise on a school day when I don’t have to go to school because I am retired.