Drum Major

When I received my class schedule on my first day of high school, I was surprised to see that I had Marching Band in third period.  This was because I did not play a marching band instrument, nor had I signed up for band.  I went to the office and was informed that it was a computer error, but they were very backed up and I should report to the class for that day and come back the next day when things had settled down a little.

I reported to class and immediately informed the band director, Mr. Tweel, of my situation.  He said, “We can always use extra bodies.  Why don’t you consider staying and being a ‘roadie’ for the band?  If you do everything I ask, I will give you straight A’s.”  Wow!  No studying, no homework AND straight A’s?  I enthusiastically agreed.

One of my tasks that year was to help carry the “Huntington East Highlanders” banner out in front of the band as they performed in the annual band festival parade that went down 4th Avenue in Huntington.  This was a fairly innocuous duty and one that I pretty much forgot about over the years.

Some 35 years later, my dad and I were eating at a local restaurant.  He was one of those people who called waitresses by their names and liked to engage them in conversation (to this day when I do that, my children jokingly call me Pa-Paw!).  You know how as we get older our minds sometimes play tricks on us?  Well, our waitress mentioned that she was in the marching band at Cabell Midland High School, which prompted my dad to proudly proclaim, “My son here was the drum major for Huntington East!”  The drum major was the guy who actually conducted the band.  He carried a scepter, wore a kilt, and it was considered quite an honor to hold the title of drum major.  I quickly interjected that I only carried the flag, but Dad didn’t seem to hear.  This same basic (and embarrassing) conversation happened several times over the next few years until I finally just didn’t have the heart any more to correct my dad.

So, despite my marriage, children, college degree, career and any other worldly accomplishments, possibly my greatest achievement in my father’s eyes was something that I didn’t even do!  It’s kind of funny and sad all at once.

When I think of all the anguish I caused Dad during my high school years, it makes me realize that there wasn’t much positive for him to remember.  True or not, he chose to remember something good.  Isn’t this similar to how our Heavenly Father looks at us?  He knows all the disappointing things we have done, but He still chooses to remember the good that is in all of us.

"Love…keeps no record of wrongs" (1 Corinthians 13:5).