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December 07, 2002: Random Acts - Missing you

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Random Acts of Journaling - December

What is something, or someone, you've misplaced and want to find again? Why?

When I was in high school, I was in the band. For this high school, there was really only one band, and we switched between marching and concert as the seasons progressed through the year. There was also a little jazz band that met before school in the spring and summer, in which I played piano (this always amuses me, simply because I have never been a fan of jazz music. I'm not sure what I was thinking), and during the last few years of high school, the band instructor implemented a woodwind ensemble that met after school.

So in other words, I spent several hours each day immersed in band, and thus lurking in the band room in school.

When I was a freshman, I played flute in the marching band, which meant that I actually got to march around the field during field shows and had to worry about marks and straight lines and so on. When I was a sophomore, for whatever reason, the band director needed bell players, and since I'd done it back in junior high, I volunteered. It wasn't long before I was one of the percussion section leaders, in charge of everyone who didn't play a drum. That included the 6-foot tall gong we dragged out onto the field during field shows, four sets of bells, and various and assorted timpani, cymbals, and so on.

There were four of us who played bells. One was my best friend Kendall, who I'd suckered into joining the band, mainly because she played piano and I knew she could get the hang of the bell mallets fairly quickly. In exchange, she suckered me into joining the summer synchronized swimming team.

The other two were boys, two years younger than us. The taller of the two I always felt a little sorry for. He was the youngest son in a family where his older brother had been a shining star - smart, popular, handsome. This boy, though, still had a lot of growing to do. He was awkward with his own body, and was still learning all the necessary social skills for interacting with other people. Years later I would recognize him as a budding computer nerd.

And the fourth was a boy who would soon become one of my closest friends for the next several years. His name was Jason.

Jason had the same twisted sense of humor that my best friend and I did, and he was also quick to learn how to play the parts. The band director, when writing out the bell parts, would give us something insanely simple to learn. For the tall awkward one, this was about all he could handle. But the rest of us were quickly bored to tears. And since we stood on the sidelines (some of those instruments were awfully hard to carry while marching around a football field), we didn't have to learn the field show formations. So we got to stay inside in the band room while the rest of the band went out to the field to practice. And we were bored. So very bored.

To alleviate some of the boredom I would scrounge through any other parts I could find and rewrite our music, giving us something challenging to play. I'm not sure if the band director ever really noticed how much I changed them, but he never stopped me. We'd throw in instrument changes and mallet changes, so we'd be moving from set to set. We'd play with double mallets. But even that didn't take up all our time, so we'd eventually end up in the band room goofing off. I recall the time when Jason was lounging on top of the piano, singing "Hey Big Spender" (it was the result of some bet that he lost, the details long since forgotten) when one of the school administrators walked in. He looked at us. We looked at him. He walked very quietly back out of the room and since we never heard about it from the band instructor I can only assume he never mentioned it.

Jason, Kendall, and I were quickly inseparable. And since Jason had two other friends (David - a clarinet player, and Trevor - not in the band at all), the group quickly became five. We would get together for bad movie nights, where we'd all bring as much chocolate as we could carry and watch such cinematic greats as C.H.U.D, and Amityville Horror - every single one of them. We dressed up and went trick-or-treating together. And even after Kendall and I graduated and went away to college, we still managed to get together every once in a while when we came back home.

Trevor eventually ended up going to the same university as I, so we'd meet for a rare lunch now and then. And through him I remained in contact with Jason and David. But then he graduated and somehow I lost track of him…and the others as well.

Kendall and I still keep in contact with each other, even though she's in another state, married now with two adorable little sons. But neither of us can find those three boys we knew back in high school, no matter how hard we try. We've each signed up for all those alumni sites online, and I dutifully check the rosters each time I get the notification that someone new has joined from my high school. But so far, we've had no luck.

I know they'll be full-grown men now, although my brain refuses to picture them as anything but the boys I knew way back when. I wonder if they look back on all our adventures as fondly as I do - the band trips crammed together on the bus; the time we decorated all the bell stands with Christmas lights; the movies and chocolate and laughter. And I wonder if they've wondered what happened to Kendall and I, as much as we've wondered what happened to them.

Once again I am taking part in Holidailies, and have thus made the commitment to try to post every day this month. You can find guaranteed reading material from all of us participating at the Holidailies portal.

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