Back Along the Mill Brook

Having fun along the Mill Brook.

Two days of traveling home to Vermont on Sunday morning following DCI World Championships and a myriad of other things have kept me from keeping you posted. In other words, I have been slacking in the writing department again. I did take some time to amend previous posts with more depth and interest, and I finally posted my write-up on Finals Day before the competition. So let’s get caught up from there.

Goliath’s last chance.

As was expected, the final results of the DCI Championships did not move any corps placement from the semi finals. The Blue Devils edged out the Bluecoats by a mere 000.087. The five caption trophies were distributed among the front runners. BAC was proud to be best in Color Guard again, while best Percussion Performance went to Santa Clara Vanguard, best Visual Performance was earned by the Blue Devils, best General Effect was with the Bluecoats, and regaining top prowess with Brass Performance, Carolina Crown. The Cavaliers took fifth place with no top caption. Each of these corps and the other remaining top twelve finalists earned a standing ovation for their finals performance. Not one of them left anything on the field. At close range from row 13, I could see the tears and emotion in their faces as they performed their hearts out and completed the DCI summer. Some will walk away forever, aging out. This is a very happy/sad time. I did not stay for the retreat, catching up with my drum corps friends for the post finals merriment back at the hotel. I took a relatively early bed time, for I had many miles to go the next two days before I would sleep in my own bed again.

Crossmen and women, performing the Valkyries.

After dropping off my drum corps brother, Garry at the Indianapolis airport Sunday morning, I began the long journey back to the northeast on I70. Re-instituting my preferred travel strategy consisting of caffeine, cruise control and rock n’ roll, I set the Silver Bullet to a reasonable number and hit the high side of the left lane. My mind was set to another speed, running through the many experiences, shows, songs, and persons that were etched in my mind from the past two weeks, especially the music. I started the tour in a certain funk from an off season of mixed emotions personally, but the love and family and sense of belonging that I had experienced over the past weeks have set me right again.

Dave and his DR Mower on the North Country Trail.

Serendipity has always guided me to important things. Like when the thought of drum corps popped into my head while on YouTube one winter morning back in 2012 that launched me into this summertime obsession. This season’s tour with DCI has provided other such coincidental moments. One being that I discovered the North Country National Scenic Trail during one of my great runs while on tour last Monday on my way to Akron. I had a day off after the two-day Allentown competitions and decided to camp de Volvo in the Allegheny National Forest in western PA. The next day as I was traveling PA Route 66, I saw a sign for a trailhead for the North Country Trail. A heavy application of the brake pedal and quick signal and I was planted in a very nice parking area for another potentially great run.

The trailhead kiosk stated that the trail was the nations longest National Scenic Trail, linking North Dakota and Vermont. While changing into my already smelly running clothes, I heard what I thought was a helicopter approaching. A minute later, I realized that it was a mower coming in my direction from the trail. Then appeared a man who was walking behind a mower heading back to the trailhead. Specifically, this was a DR Mower made in Vermont. Having been on countless trail work crews, as caretaker of the Hemlock Hill Trail in Fayston, Vermont, and having known many volunteer trailmeisters over the years, I quickly walked over and introduced myself. Dave Galbreath was fueling up the DR for his next pass to mow the trail heading in the other direction. What a convergence of trail minds and hearts. We enjoyed a quick conversation before I took off on the run. After an awesome ½ hour out and back along the well-maintained trail, freshly mowed by Dave, I reached into my cooler and pulled out a cold Chinooker’d IPA from Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Waitsfield, Vermont, and left it with my card on Dave’s bumper. I could hear that he was approaching from the other direction but I had to hit the road and I wanted him to receive my blessing for his hard work in surprise. That is one of my favorite things to do. As a frequent peak bagger on Vermont’s Green Mountains, I am fond of presenting a cold beer to an unsuspecting through-hiker that I may encounter on Vermont’s Long Trail. Trail magic at its best!

How honored am I to sit in the epicenter of sound and sight in Lucas Oil Stadium.

Everything happens for a reason and if you are happy where you are right now, everything that has happened in the past to put you here has ultimately been for that reason. I am happy! Joy comes to those who actively seek it out and the best way to do that is to be part of a community. Whether you live in a small town or a large city, there are communities to belong to. The drum corps community is vast, welcoming and full of love and family. That has been my theme this season. How lucky am I to have befriended the Martin brothers and their many great friends with such drum corps credibility from the past and present. And, the Woodall brothers of BAC being another family story not fully told here in this blog. What a slice of humanity to witness younger brother Mike induct his brother Rick into the BAC Hall of Fame at Spring Fling in Boston back in June. Tears were abundant. Throughout the season, Mike was the consummate cheerleader and spirit builder while traveling with the Corps., no mater what the scores told. Rick was ever-present volunteering with the most-dedicated traveling staff. Did I mention that Mike has two sons who also tour with him and uncle Rick.

The younger brothers Woodall.

There are countless number of family stories untold, like meeting mother GleeAnn and son Justin, examples par excellence.  And, Maura and Daniel, BAC mom and dad, who were so much fun to hang with pre and post show at the hotel patio during finals week. There is so much more to be told about this activity called drum corps, which really needs new branding as we approach the mid-21st century. Just think of where it will be then in 2050. Oh, how the kids that performed this week might pontificate about the activity then such as I have here. Where do you think it will be?

For now I think it is time to sign off. I am sure there will be some post-season reflections that I will be compelled to write about in a future post. I seem to have gotten off my food and water, and no idling buses and trucks bend. Perhaps that will be a fight for others in the future. Maybe we have already made progress in that direction. I hope so. I am grateful for the generosity of Cabot Creamery of Waitsfield, Vermont, my hometown in the Mad River Valley, for providing some Seriously Sharp Cheddar again to those well-deserving and hungry drum and bugle corps members of the Boston Crusaders, our world class DCI corps form the northeast.

A drum corps fanatic in Row 13.

Now, I have to concentrate on the Harwood Union HS golf team. I am the assistant coach this year of the twice-state champions in division 2 Vermont high school golf team. Perhaps, I will be compelled to write about that next. In a month or so (yahoo!), I will be preparing for some early season skiing that will finally get my mind off drum corps, maybe. Before that, I will be checking out portions of Vermont’s section of the North Country Trail established in the recently-enacted bi-partisan legislation to continue the trail through Vermont to it’s eastern terminus on the Long Trail. Kids, music, food, water, trails, these are all common denominators that define of our communities wherever we are. That is what I support. Let me know what you think.



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