Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The one where I toot my own horn. Get it? Toot!

While visiting the husband's parents, they gave him his snare drum from high school to take home. We are now the proud owners of one roughed-up, loud snare drum. The kids adore it. I have no earthly idea where I'll keep it. Thanks, in-laws!

But it did manage to make me wistful about my junior high band career. I was actually pretty good, a first-chair player. I loved playing, and the only reason I stopped is because once in high school, they forced you to be in marching band. I didn't want to march, I wanted to play music, which marching band is so NOT about, and especially for clarinets, my instrument.

So I quit. It hurt me at the time, and it still bugs me. Apparently my love for the instrument didn't outweigh the hours of outdoor practice during Indiana summer. Or the fact that I'd have to wear a huge woolen purple costume while I marched and tried to play memorized music. I quit band cold turkey, much to the dismay of my band teacher.

I toyed with my clarinet a few times after that, playing what I could remember for the husband when we got together. Mostly it sat by its lonesome in a closet, forgotten about.

Until that Christmas I lived with the husband in Arkansas. We were scrimping and saving enough money to be able to drive home and spend the holiday with my family. Being broke and in desperate need of gas money, I rifled through the closet and found my clarinet. I think the husband tried to talk me out of it, and I had a few moments of doubt, but I hawked it. My beloved clarinet my parents made payments on. (Don't bring this up with my mom. She still threatens to smack me for doing it.)

Would you like to know how much I hawked it for? C'mon. Guess.

Fifty dollars.


I regretted it immediately. As we walked out of the damn door of the music shop, I regretted it. And it still makes me sick to my stomach to think about it. I don't know what the hell I was thinking. Okay, I do, and at the time nothing meant more than going home to be with my family for Christmas, but damn.

I've been scanning craigslist and eBay lately, thinking maybe I'll buy another one. It won't be the same one, and it probably won't even be as good a quality as my first, but at least I'll have a clarinet in my possession. I'm hoping the fingerings and music-reading comes back to me.

And if all else fails, I have three kids. There's a good chance one of them will be a clarinet-playing band geek, right? If it happens, and they quit band, guess who's keeping a hold of their instrument?


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