Blogging in E minor
Usually just a bunch of silly crap.

The Recital

Bernadette was excited! She and her middle school concert band had just completed their dressed rehearsal in preparation for the evening’s district-wide recital. All had gone smoothly, and any pre-performance jitters had since been settled. She was really looking forward to the big show at the high school!

            As required in the dress code memo, Bernadette had worn a button-down white shirt and black slacks to school. This was the standard band uniform in the absence of actual uniforms. Unfortunately, as kids do, she had managed to dribble her lunch down the front of her shirt. “Your mother is not going to be happy,” I warned. “Do you have another shirt?” She did. Or so she thought.

            When it came time to get ready, my wife was livid that neither of us had mentioned that Bernadette had gotten gravy on her shirt. “She said she had another white shirt,” I explained.

            That’s an old shirt. She’ll never fit in that! An attempted fitting had proven that to be the case. The buttons in the front were at the point of popping off and her hands extended a near foot from the end of the sleeves. Bernadette looked like and absolute mess. “She’ll have to wear something else!” my wife decreed. “I’ll not have my child show up looking like a slob!”

            She produced a long-sleeve, hot pink sweater and tossed it at Bernie. “Here, put this on.”

            “But mommy,” Bernadette protested. “We have to wear a white shirt. We have to!”

            “You have to do what your mother says,” my wife retorted. Bernadette retreated to her room in a huff to go change.

            “If they don’t like it, that’s just tough,” she went on. “Serves them right for having them wear their good clothes to school. I bet half of those kids came home with dirty white shirts.”

            As we pulled into the high school lot, the entire campus was abuzz with activity. The high school band and two middle school bands were to perform that night. We let Bernadette out with her saxophone within walking distance so she could get in and join her group while we parked. Parking, as it turned out, proved to be quite an undertaking, and we made it into the building with only moments to spare.

            As we battled the crowds in the foyer outside of the gymnasium, we noticed that some of the high school musicians had gone all out. They wore tuxedo shirts, frilly blouses or formal dresses. We spotted a man in tails who turned out to be the high school band director. Evidently, this evening’s performance was a big deal to the older kids and they were taking it seriously.

            Immediately after finding seats high in the bleachers, we turned around, seated ourselves, only to be immediately confronted with an embarrassing realization. We had no trouble whatsoever spotting our daughter. She was the sole pink sweater within the sea of white shirts below!

            The large high school band had set up in the center of the gym floor, flanked by the two smaller middle school bands. Bernadette was seated right smack in the middle of the group to left. She stood out like an infected, throbbing, puss-filled, sore thumb from among the hundreds of uniformly clad musicians huddled in tight quarters below.

            My wife was mortified! I laughed uncontrollably as she elbowed me in the ribs.

            We could hear the comments around us: “Her parents must be so embarrassed,” and “They obviously didn’t read the dress code memo!”

            “That’s our daughter down there,” I said to a couple beside me, “the one in the pink next to the girl in the white shirt and the other girl in the white shirt. . .” My wife was not amused, shushing me and smacking my leg all along, but I was loving every minute of it!

            Bernadette’s school was the first to perform. Many 7th graders might have been negatively affected beyond salvage by the incident. Not Bernie. Surely she had endured her share of teasing as the result of her fashion faux pas. But it was done and she had moved on and was concentrating on her music as if nothing had happened.

            Not so with us. From time to time, my wife would shake her head in disbelief, and I would break out in fits of uncontrollable laughter. Surely I looked like a jackass laughing hysterically during rather mundane passages in the arrangement.

            As for the other spectators, Bernadette’s manner of dress probably produced some confusion. Perhaps they waited for the oddly adorned saxophonist to break into a solo, do a back flip off her chair or do something unusual. But nothing doing. She played on with the rest of the crew doing nothing special, nothing to distinguish herself or to justify the out-of-uniform apparel.

            The concert, as it turned out, was quite enjoyable. We met up with Bernie afterwards and congratulated her, each of us giving her a giant hug. We were so proud of the way she had handled herself. My wife felt so bad for having put her through this embarrassing episode and apologized to her.

            In hindsight, perhaps a few gravy stains would not have looked so bad after all.


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