Mindful Monday: Everything I learned about life, I learned in the Marching Band

Uncategorized Mar 10, 2020

My Dad was the showman in the family. He was the Supervisor of Music for my local hometown school district. Dad would say that no other teacher had their work on display for the whole town to see every Friday night. Dad was particular. Dad had a standard of excellence that generations of children in our home town understand at a personal level.

March 7th was Dad’s Birthday. But then he would say it was on the 10th, and so for years, it was a true floating holiday to whatever day he decided to celebrate. March reminds me of Dad.

Dad taught me to concentrate. Concentration is one of the foundations of Mindfulness. If you can concentrate, you can meditate. Meditation was a natural outgrowth of specifically focused attention.

Dad was a pioneer in understanding that playing music stimulated the other half of your brain, and made it easier to remember facts, figures, and computations.  On the big band trip to Disney World in 1976, he was afraid that the band would be out of synch with the Disney music that would play in the background. So in the 17-hour bus rides, he’d have the chaperone play a cassette tape overhead in the big “luxury” buses so that we would “do it right in the drill, to do it right in life.” I don’t know how many people in that generation of bandmembers remember that; it made a huge impression on me. It taught me visualization. It taught me listening skills. It taught me introspection. It taught me planning.

I went on to the University of Pittsburgh Varsity Marching Band, as a Golden Girl.  Dad would drive me over Cresson mountain to Altoona to take twirling lessons.  Cresson mountain has legendary fog, and snow that looks like you are going light speed.  Dad would wait for me by going to get a slice of pizza.  A. Slice. 

Dad loved going to Johnstown to get “Coney island” Hotdogs with all the trimmings. No one enjoyed the simple pleasures in life more than Dad.  Dad was my original role model for many things, including learning how to enjoy things in the minute.

I’m dedicating my first book to my Dad. It’s coming out on May 4th. For every person’s life he touched, he shaped my life more than anyone else. Thank you, Dad. I am your positive legacy.

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