Thursday, January 01, 2015

That Was the Year that Was (And More)

I don't usually do year-end wrap-up posts, and I'm not going to start now.  I don't have much that's good to say about 2014 now that it's history, even though it started off pretty well.  Later on, maybe, I'll be able to look back on the first 8 months of it and reflect on some of the times that are worth remembering.  There are a lot of them, I know, but right now everything is overshadowed by the one big event of the year, Judy's death.  I can't quite get past that one, although I'm trying to.  People keep telling me that it will take time for me to get better, probably a long time, so we'll see how that works out.  

Now that it's 2015 I'll see if I can do the Janus thing and look backward and forward at the same time.  At the moment I'm doing too much of the backward looking and not enough for the forward looking.  I don't make resolutions, but if I did, I'd put Look Forward at the top of the list.  So here's to 2015.  May it be a better year for me and for everyone who reads this blog.  Thanks for sticking with it and thanks for all your support in recent months.  It's meant a lot to me.

And now, on a more cheerful note, I'll share a little New Year's memory with you.  On December 30, 1958, the Mexia Blackcat Band traveled to Dallas to march at halftime in the Cotton Bowl on New Year's Day.  We went a couple of days early to practice and to see the sights in the big city.  Little did we realize that it would be one of the coldest weekends in many years and that the cold would be accompanied by ice and snow.  It was so cold, in fact, that instead of practicing on the field, we had to practice in an airplane hangar (I don't recall where it was located).  The show was to feature several bands, performing together.  I don't think the practice went well.  

At night boys were housed in some kind of dormitory in the livestock area, and there was no heat in the place.  I nearly froze to death and didn't sleep much on the nights we were there.  

We did get to see a performance by Roger Williams, so that was nice.  I'd never seen a big star in person.  And he was indeed a big star in 1958.  (You youngsters might need to do a search for his name.  He's not the one from Providence Plantation that you read about in history class.  I'm old, but I'm not that old.)

I don't recall much about the halftime except that it wasn't a complete disaster, which was quite an accomplishment under the circumstances (chaotic practices, terrible weather).  I do know that everyone in Mexia was watching on TV, and, sure enough, as they've done ever since when given the chance, the announcers pronounces the name of the town wrong.  Everyone knew it was going to happen.

As for the football game, TCU played Air Force.  More or less.  It was frigid, and sitting in the stands I thought I might turn into an icicle.  The game was a mess, and while I don't remember much about it, I do remember that neither team could do anything right.  Lots of fumbles and missed field goals and terrible offensive displays.  The final score was 0 - 0, which gives you some idea.

What I remember most of all is that the Air Force mascot, a Falcon was released at halftime.  It was supposed to swoop around and return to the cadet who loosed it, I suppose, but instead it flew right to the top of the Automobile Building on the State Fairgrounds and perched there for the rest of the game.  For all I know, it's sitting there still.


Kevin R. Tipple said...

So you were freezing and I was not born yet? Think I got the better of that deal.

I spend nearly all of my time looking back as well wishing we had done things differently at that point or this one. Maybe we would not be here now. No way to live and yet I can't stop doing it.

I truly hope things get better.

George said...

Very cool memory! Roger Williams was a Big Star in those days with "King of the Road" on the radio constantly. I have a feeling 2015 will be a Good Year.

Unknown said...

You're thinking of Roger Miller, George. Williams was earlier, and "Autumn Leaves" was the big instrumental hit.

Deb said...

Bill, I don't see how you're recollections of 2014 can be anything but overshadowed by your terrible loss. I hope 2015 will bring you some comfort and happier memories.

Rick Robinson said...

Yes, Bill, forward makes a lot of sense, and after all, what other direction is there to go? This blog is a daily stop for me, and it's a delight to read. Thanks for keeping it up and dropping in to give us updates on how you're doing.

We hope 2015 will be a good year for you. Maybe we'll have a chance to see you out here in the west?

Unknown said...

I thought about LCC in Portland, but that's too soon. I don't think I'll do any traveling for a while. I've signed up for the Bouchercon in Raleigh, but I still don't know if I'll go when the time comes. Being anywhere without Judy will just feel too weird.

Cap'n Bob said...

You always have great stories to tell. You should be a writer :[)> I'm sory you won't be at LCC. You'd like Portland and it might do you good to get out among your friends and fans, but I understand that flying solo at this point might be hard.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I have told Bill that he could start a new tradition--take a fat man--and I would even wear a dress if it would help, but he strangely seems uninterested.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great story and sharing that beautiful picture. That's all we can do, go on to tomorrow and the next day and just keep on as long as we've got.

As for your hometown I think most people who even know it at all probably get their pronunciation from "Falling in Love for the Night" in URBAN COWBOY:

"Well her name was Maria
And she came from Mexia"

At least that's always been my assumption.

But what do I know?


Unknown said...

That's a good way to learn it.