My house is not too far from a stadium where local high schools often gather for football games and band competitions.
Glover Stadium is where I spent many a chilly night watching Anaheim High School’s Colonists go head to head with rival schools. Touchdown cheering could be heard for miles, I’m sure, the same way it is tonight.
Something about the time change’s immediate ushering in of the holiday spirit gets me every year. It may be dark outside, but red and green stoplights suddenly take on a festive appearance that they haven’t held since last season. Add in those familiar sounds from my childhood and it is blissful — the same way salty air and crashing waves on a balmy summer day are.
My seven-years-older brother was in the Anaheim High School marching band. Years of watching their performances inspired me at a young age to be a drummer. (That never happened. Instead, years of classical piano lessons ensued.) I still want to be a drummer.
I remember listening to them practice in the high school band room, and my eye falling on a baton in the corner. Enter: baton lessons. I knew I’d be good enough to be summoned at a pre-high school age to be part of the band as they marched. (That never happened, either. Instead, I traded baton lessons for a brief gymnastics stint. Yuck.)
As I walked outside to take out the trash, it sounded as though the band was just around the corner. The air was just right and the tune was unmistakable: Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” traveled through the crisp evening and met my ears. It was a pretty good rendition, too.
I thought back to what the band played back in the mid-’80s. Stumped — I was stumped. I’m sure there might’ve been some Bon Jovi or maybe even some Pointer Sisters tunes that they busted out, but I can’t say for sure. All I know is that — aside from my juvenile marching-band-baton-twirling aspirations — I also had a crush on my brother’s friend’s younger brother (got that?). I recall that my efforts to woo him included packing my nicest (read: one with the tail not yet chopped off) My Little Pony into a miniature turquoise duffel bag with a unicorn print on the side, then whipping it out at halftime and making it prance majestically along the metal bleachers. Tres mature. Who wouldn’t have been interested in me?
Ah, memories. It’s funny the things that come rushing back to you the moment a sound meets your ears or a smell meets your nose. In a heartbeat, things which have been long buried under piles of hand-me-downs and life’s bills come rushing back, and it’s a fantastic feeling when those memories are awesome ones. They’re not all going to send us happily down memory lane, but the ones that do are to be cherished for sure. And tonight I am thankful for them.