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Mine Creek Revelations: Band Memories

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YES, I AM STILL HERE peeking out my window on Main Street, and I am still enjoying the last two ‘Mine Creek Revelations’ columns about school songs at Nashville, Murfreesboro, Dierks and Mineral Springs.

In case you missed those magnificent columns, words for the school songs were composed by students. For two of the songs original music was also created by students. Those four songs are used by the schools to this very day.

Thursday night, we will get to hear two of those songs again when Mineral Springs (Dear old Mineral, how we love you) plays Murfreesboro (A grand old school we hold with high esteem) in their grand old football rivalry. I hope to be there.

But reviewing the columns let me revisit a couple of my own cherished band-related memories:

#1. At one time only Nashville and Murfreesboro had high school bands. Bands would be added by State Board of Education mandate later at Mineral Springs and Dierks. Mineral Springs already had a most-enviable choral program, but as far as I know there was no music program for the kids at Dierks.

So, one year some Outlaw fans who had participated in music programs elsewhere and who still had their instruments, formed an unofficial alumni band and played a few songs from the stands. I was fortunate enough to witness this and I am grateful. Maybe some of our north county readers remember this.

#2.  I was a lousy football Scrapper in my sophomore and senior years, and in the middle year I was in the band. I began band as a seventh grader, and within a year or so was elevated to the high school band because I could march and play music at the same time. The band actually included some members who just held their instruments to their lips without playing a note. I am still regarded in my own mind as the third-best Scrapper Band trombone player of all time.

Our black and orange uniforms had been handed down and skillfully altered for many many years. We wore hats that looked like Continental Trailways bus drivers, and a white belt helped hold the rest of the outfit together. We also did have some fine high-stepping majorettes.

The Scrappers scheduled a game at Bearden. It was late in the season, and it was so cold that my trombone slide kept freezing.

It was Bearden’s homecoming. The poor dears didn’t have a high school band, but our school graciously offered to provide music. We marched out on the field and stood shivvering in formation probably between the 10 and 30 yard lines. It seemed like the program lasted forever. 

As I said it was very cold. I had wisely worn a pair of  blue and white flannel cowboy pajamas under that paper-thin uniform.

At some point when my trombone and I were reaching for a high note the white belt gave way and the oft-altered trousers hit the frozen ground around my ankles.

The blue and white pajamas stood out vibrantly against the orange and black worn by all of the others. Laughter was clearly heard.

I reached down and grabbed the pants and belt, pulled them up. Held that danged white belt at my side until the band was able to march back to the end zone. I realized that in the confusion the sheet of music for the Bearden homecoming had fallen to the ground. But I just left it there for posterity.

To this very day there are probably some old Bearden Bear fans who remember the time “that kid in the band from Nashville lost his uniform pants on homecoming night. Haw, haw, haw.”

The school never sent me a bill for the lost sheet music. It’s probably carefully displayed in the Bearden Bear trophy case as a reminder of when they beat Nashville because the Scrappers were called off the field by the school board president before the game was over. Hometown officiating was atrocious. I’d write more about this but I’m sure you wouldn’t be interested.

#3. Being in the Scrapper Band in those days also meant that you provided music for the Scrapper Belles, a really really good dance team which was under the direction of the school principal’s wife. The Belles brought a lot of favorable attention to our school and our town.

When Belles got invited to participate in parades and other events the band went to provide music for the Little Darlings. I think I remember marching in parades at Little Rock and at Shreveport, and maybe even at an Arkansas High School All Star game.

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ANIMAL CRACKERS. Several reader have assured me that I DID see bluebirds recently. I did not know that any of them hung around during cold weather.

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THINGS I LEARNED by opening email: Singing in the shower is fine until you get soap in your mouth. Then it’s a soap opera.

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WORD GAMES. The siblings: Port and Starboard. Unless you are an old sailor you might know them as Left and Right, respectively.

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HE SAID: “As Mike Tyson says, everybody has a plan until they get hit in the mouth. The one thing we know about American presidential politics is you’re going to get hit in the mouth.” James Carville, Democrat political strategist

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SHE SAID:  “Some people say I have attitude — maybe I do …. but I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does — that makes you a winner right there.” Venus Williams, tennis professional

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SWEET DREAMS, Baby

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