Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Run

I was woken up by the cat about fifteen minutes before my alarm was due to go off. Because it's a holiday and I'm supposed to be happy today, I decided to let him live.

I got in about 45 minutes of elliptical work in the gym before someone came in and decided to blast a TV at full volume. I guess it's because I haven't watched more than the occasional cable show for years that I can't stand network programming. It moves too fast, it's too loud and it makes me anxious. My world usually moves at a more thoughtful pace.

So I finished up my elliptical workout, trying to tune out the hyper-kinetic television, and then changed into running clothes. I headed out on the bayou loop, enjoying the sunny skies and warm weather. Songs from the previous night's show were running through my head, so I had a gospel accompaniment to my run. Not bad. Very peppy and motivating.

When I got to Sabine street, on a whim I decided to go downtown and check out the Thanksgiving Day parade. What fun! I marched in the parade four years in a row in high school band and had seen bits and pieces of the parade on TV sometimes but had never actually gone to see it in person. Is that lame, or what?

As it turned out, it was pretty hard to see much of anything beyond the bigger floats and balloons because of all the crowds. But I was able to move around and find spots where I could peer between people and see clowns, people on velocipedes, dancers, cheerleaders, etc. I especially enjoyed the bands, which brought back a lot of memories.

What wouldn't I and my high school friends have paid for a warm Thanksgiving parade? It seemed it was always cold, the wind whipping between the tall downtown buildings as if we were in a wind tunnel. Although I wasn't in the same boat with the woodwind players, trying to move stiff fingers across tiny keys, it still wasn't easy for me to perform with cold hands. I have a picture of me carrying the triple toms in the 1984 parade - my senior year. The picture sits on a bookshelf not three feet from my computer, and it's one of the few pictures of me I bother to display. (If I want to look at myself, that's what mirrors are for.) Anyone looking closely at the picture would see that I was holding my sticks in a strange way-- hands choked up higher than they should've been. That was because I was so cold I couldn't feel my fingers and I was scared of dropping a stick on the parade route. Drumsticks bounce on the drum heads and the key to fast sticking is learning to control the bounce. Numb hands are no help and those toms are so big and bulky that if you lose control of the bounce and drop a stick, it's gone. There's no way you can pick it up.

Anyway. So I watched the bands and made lots of mental notes. Baton twirlers seem to be back in style. Flag twirlers seem a little less popular than they used to be. I saw no rifle twirlers at all. The one drill team I saw wasn't very good. People in the crowd cheered when they stopped and did a brief high kick routine, but I wasn't impressed. My high school had one of the best drill teams in the state, one that a Rockette wouldn't have been embarrassed to have on her resume. We percussionists mocked them, but it was all cooler-than-thou bravado. We really did respect what they did and most of the time we even played the right cadences for them. With seven years of dance lessons under my belt, I probably respected the drill team most of all, although I was probably also a harsher critic because I knew enough to be able to notice the little things. They nearly always got those little things right though, much to their credit. If our band had been as disciplined as our drill team, we would've been state champions.

Wow. See what kind of memories can get dredged up when you take a little half mile detour from your running route?

I had gotten downtown late, near the end of the parade, so Santa's sleigh appeared just about the time I was starting to think it was best to get back out on the trails. So I headed back to the bayou park and finished my run, thinking of marching bands, turkey dinners to come, and still hearing gospel songs in my head.

Oh, happy day! Oh happy, happy day!

Happy day, indeed.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Today's Workouts
1 hour elliptical
6.5 mile run


Bolder said...

deciding to let the cat live was a good start to your thanksgiving day.

awesome elliptical and run bunny girl.

happy t-giving, bold.

Comm's said...

Its nice to see that all the storms and damages haven't dampened the southern spirit. take care.

Jessica, a Houston Runner said...

i actually play percussion too, and dance. scary combo (at times).
good times!