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weekend part two

now that things are a little less crazy, this is me catching up on my weekend in PA for doozel's memorial. part one is here.

thanks to sean, i didn't get a whole lot of sleep saturday night, but when it's been over a decade since you last saw someone it was no issue whatsoever. i'll sacrifice sleep for BS'ing with an old friend any day. I don't remember how i was feeling about four or five hours later, but i do remember that when we stopped at a rest stop i decided to get some tea to help me through the day. as my caffeine consumption is pretty rare, that probably says something about my state.

The morning block at bush was fairly uneventful from what i remember. The drums had to learn the rest of the drill for movement 4 or at least hit a particular point, and i don't think they quite made it as far as they should have, but they still did okay. After the morning block was done, i said my goodbyes to the drumline and thanked them for having me stand in front of them for a couple of days. A few of the guys in the line came up to me and shook my hand and said thanks, and Rob Thatcher expressed that if i was available on labor day weekend (which i'm not), he'd talk to the corps director about flying me up to be around during DCA weekend.

After picking up some Wawa for lunch, Mike, Jess, and I went back to Jess's place to shower and change. None of us had actually asked anyone what the dress code was for the shindig, so we all played it safe and wore dressy sort of things which ended up being completely unnecessary because the attire ended up being casual.

The memorial was held at a big picnic area at a firehouse on the edge of Valley Forge Park. I wasn't sure what to expect from the whole thing, but was hopeful that it would be with little or no ceremony and that ended up being exactly right. A casual observer from the outside would have thought that the whole thing was just a picnic party save for the slideshow that was constantly shuffling through doozel pictures and the occasional weeping groups that usually isolated themselves away from the crowd. There were roughly 200ish people that i saw (some people left early, others arrived late), and most of them were either talking in groups drinking beer or watching over their kids and having their kids play with other kids.

i ended up chatting most of the time with some people i hadn't seen in over a decade or so and meeting other people who "had heard all about me". It felt nice to see familiar faces and smile at each other and catch up, to have people say that they read some of my blog entries even if they never actually comment on them, &c. Even casual friends and acquaintances from the West Chester and drum corps years were nice to see what they were all about now that they were in the Real World.

All in all, it felt right for me to be there. I knew that JR and Leslie appreciated it, as did Nick and Amy, Jess, Sean. But it was good for me too. It reminded me how after all of these years, even with little to no contact whatsoever, these were my friends, my family, and even tangentially we were all important to each other in some way. Sean Lawler, who i hadn't seen since he was a high schooler. Rob Thatcher who i hadn't really seen much of since we aged out together in the Crossmen. People whose lives i touched and touched me so long ago, are the people that we are now because of how we affected each other back then, and how that compounded into other lives and other lives past that. That stuff never dies, those connections never sever no matter how much time has passed.

which is words for you, doozel, you fucker. if there's any doubt in your mind at all about how much you're loved, you should have been at your memorial. fucker.

There were a few distinct moments when doozel became actual focus as opposed to a more background "we're all here because of this, but we're going to use it as a conduit for catching up with long-lost friends or just shoot the shit." At one point Sean Lawler poured out about 60 shots of Jameson, doozel's liquor of choice, and we did a toast. Ever since then i've gotten Jameson here in New Orleans a bunch of times, and every time it's been a toast to doozel.

Another was that at some point i sat down to watch the slideshow. see these pictures of doozel when i knew him, doozel when i didn't know him with a moustache and a beard and actual hair instead of the buzzcut i associated with him with the glassmen in particular. I sat there and saw the shots go by and waited for it to hit me, and oddly enough, it never did. Because it still didn't feel real. i'm not looking at pictures of someone who has passed at a time he shouldn't have. Sometime i'll see him again like i've seen these people for the first time in ten years. maybe it'll take another ten, but we'll have a beer together someday.

at one point it almost hit me, but then something or someone distracted me, i forget who or what, and it was gone.

I don't remember how long we were there. Because of Bush we were fairly late to the gig, but we were among the last to leave. I remember seeing JR close up the laptop that was running the slideshow, and thinking that i couldn't even imagine what he was feeling, or what it was like to have found the body. I remember passing by their parents at the end of the night and seeing his mom in tears being comforted by leslie.

at one point, the firehouse siren went off, the long air-raid siren wail that was reminiscent of the third movement of Michael Gordon's Weather. I recorded it on my iPhone wishing that i had a better recorder with me. i went right into it and bathed in the sound both emotionally and intellectually because there's such a power to that sound, something so raw about it, not just the sound but what it represents. I want to do something with it, something that may be a copy of what Michael Gordon did, but with my own flavor. We'll see what manifests.

When it hit dark, Jess drove me home. i talked to my parents in the evening, then got up the next morning, flew on a plane back to new orleans.

I don't remember what it was like when i got back here. I think i felt a little better, but it still didn't feel real, and i couldn't let myself think about it much because it wasn't too long after that i had to prep for my trip to San Francisco. But there was that point after i watched that episode of Leverage where it did hit me, which i wrote about here (which you can't see unless you're my friend on LJ).

Now?

I still drink Jameson every now and again. When i do, i think of doozel, i think of that family of people who i'm so far from yet so close to. It still makes me sad, but i don't let it overtake me. I use it as fuel to keep me moving forward and remind me of what is important, which is to strive to be my best, but to also allow myself to stop and relax, appreciate what it is that i have, and in particular appreciate my friends and my interactions with people in general more than i ever have. because there's too little time in this life to not do so, and you never know when it could be even less time.

to simultaneously keep pushing myself yet be satisfied with myself, where i'm going, who i am, what i want to become and will become; it's a tricky balance. i'm not perfect at it, but i never will be. but i'm trying, and sometimes i even succeed, if only for a moment.

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