Shadowy Flight

As I waited for my first parade Monday morning to kick off at 9 AM as it always does, a few things were off. First and foremost, it would be the first time this particular group was playing without its founder, my former music teacher who passed away last October. It was also extremely hot, which isn't unusual this time of year, but to be so warm so early in the morning didn't bode well for the rest of the day, especially our second parade at noon. While the later parade in my home town offered little to no shade, the first parade in a neighboring community offered trees in abundance, and we all fled to the cooler spots beneath trees. I thought it was hot Sunday when I played with another band out in Queens, and was grateful to have my dad's car with air conditioning, but Monday definitely was worse. Halfway through the morning parade we usually wait in the street at a park while soldiers fire off rifles and trumpets play taps. This year the sun was too intense, and everyone moved to the side once more.

I loved shade when I was a kid. It was great to be outdoors and get fresh air, and be able to stand where the temperature was several degrees cooler, where even a nice breeze might be found. Most of my friends were tougher and younger than me, and chastised me when we'd play sports and I'd be off to the side. I missed many a fly ball to the outfield because I was under a tree instead of in the optimum position to catch it. God put trees here for a reason, and not just so we can breathe oxygen, although I'm sure that was the prevalent reason.

As the sun rose during the closing ceremony of Monday morning's parade, the shade slowly withdrew. The sun beat down upon me as I trekked back to my car, near the beginning of the parade. In the distance a mirage appeared, a pretty girl in a tan sun dress. As she got closer, I stepped out into the street to allow her passage on the narrow sidewalk. Even a geek can be chivalrous, given enough time to prepare. As we passed, I smiled and she, looking stern, fished in her purse for what I assumed to be mace. I guess she sensed I was a “shady” character, and as I passed a storefront I looked at my reflection in the window and tried to figure out how I looked remotely threatening or creepy. When I related the concern to my mom later on, she dismissed my assessment and speculated that the girl was looking for a piece of paper on which to write her phone number. I don't think her “glass half full” scenario is any more likely than my “glass half empty” outlook.

TheWriteJerry, on an unprecedented streak of great posts and great audience participation, shamed me with his latest piece in which he wrote, “...most people do not understand why they get the day off today—that their freedom here in America is secured by the blood of those who were willing to risk all in the name of duty, honor and liberty.” The last few days I've been subtly bitching about working four jobs on a holiday weekend, as if I should have been doing something else. The truth is, I did slip away to the beach for a few hours on Saturday morning before playing a feast that night, so I had no reason to feel that way. Even Sunday, when my dad and I got home in the afternoon around 4, I snapped at my mom's friendly greeting of “what are you guys doing back already?” “Already?! Am I supposed to work all the time?” In my meager defense, I had done a lot of driving and gotten far more sun than shade. In truth, I was feeling a little sorry for myself, but the speeches and ceremonies at the parades about those who have gone before, who are no longer with us, should have put me in my place. This weekend is not about going to the movies, lying on a beach or hanging out with friends at a barbecue, but about remembering those who made it possible for us to do that stuff any time. It's easy to slip into the shadows of self-pity and forget what true sacrifice is. I heard the phrase “ultimate sacrifice” far too much this past weekend not to realize that.

The title of today's post comes of course from the introduction to Knight Rider, and Curt knows why. Join me again tomorrow, when I'll have thrilling photos from my Saturday adventure...


Blogger Rhodester said...

I will, I will!!

5/30/2006 2:03 AM  
Blogger TheWriteJerry said...

Thanks for the great hat tip!

Heat gets to me in a big way. You'd think because I grew up in Las Vegas, I'd have a better tolerance for it, but the fact is, we dealt with the heat by escaping in-doors to our beloved air conditioners. Still, I often saw mirages...

5/30/2006 3:50 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

It's weird because overall, I'm always cold, ALWAYS. Except when I'm not. I get hot fast. Like when I was a kid. Part of the reason why I hated summer camp.

Shade was my friend.

5/30/2006 6:41 PM  

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