Drum line

In the distance, the Lincoln High School drum line sounds like a war chant, pounding and rhythmic and – ultimately – as out of place in the morning air as a bullet or grenade. Yet, at 7 am, with the sky still dark, with two kids waiting to get moving, with my coffee still too hot to drink, it sounded like comfort.

To Kerrie, it’s the sound of ancient history. Over a dozen years ago, she was out there making noise, marching to the early morning beat, her pant legs soaked with dew and her hands frozen from the crisp fall air. To me, it’s the sound of association; my friends were band jocks, and the sound of the band sends me back in a more secondary nature.

Now that we’ve moved closer to our old high school, the sound of pre-dawn band practice has gotten louder. What once was only a faint whisper has become a drone. No longer do we rely on wind to carry the sound toward us – the noise of drums and horns needs only effort to reach us.

Because my car’s radio is broken, I did not hear the news until I reached work. NASA sends rockets crashing into the moon. Barack Obama is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Pakistan bombings, Manila landslides, St. Louis Cardinals screw ups. The news was ragged and unbelievable, half of it sounding like a disaster movie, the other mimicking The Onion.

The beat was interrupted. And after 15 minutes, I already missed the drone of Lincoln High School’s drum line.

This was lovingly handwritten on October 9th, 2009