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Disappointment is as certain as smoke alarm batteries running out in the middle of the night. And is more difficult to remedy.

When I was a senior in high school I was president of the Symphonic band.

I recently said to my husband, “You realize you married a geek?”

His response was, “Yes, the band thing kind of gave it away.”

I did many things with the band, including organize the Band Ball in December. It was planned and executed with the typical crepe paper, balloons and sappy theme: “Too Much Heaven.” My favorite part of decorating, even more than getting out of classes, was the day we obtained the sled.

The Band Ball was an interesting proposal– put on by the band, it was the formal dance before Christmas that everyone attended, but the Queen and her attendants were chosen from the senior girls in band and only the band members voted. And honestly there weren’t that many of us that year–I think five.

The suspense leading up to the night was: would our beautiful drum major be queen, or would my best friend, who was also very pretty and very well liked, be chosen? I hoped, but didn’t dare consciously think about, to be chosen as an attendant. After all, I spent most of my spare time either organizing events, traveling with the pep-band, or playing poker in the band room during morning break. (My lunches were mostly spent with my FOMA friends–but that’s another story.)

But then I noticed one of the flute players, who never hung out in the large acoustically-designed room, not only coming around, but shamelessly flirting with the guys. She laughed at everything they said, smiled constantly, and gazed into their eyes. It was a skill I wasn’t adept at.

horse-drawn-sleigh_i-G-13-1345-WH2S000ZAnyway, back to the sled. One of the trumpet players had arranged for us to borrow a sled (the kind pulled by horses) for the dance pictures. Several of us carpooled out to the country where the sled was kept and loaded it into the back of a pickup. It was well restored, bright red, and had a black leather seat. Our eyes gleamed with excitement.

We drove back to town and the school, only to find it was closed. However, finding an open door was not the problem, finding one wide enough for the sled was. We walked around the large brick building trying doors. We found an open one and something even more important: The plain, double doors behind the stage, where props were taken through, were wide enough.

(Have I mentioned that no adults were with us?)

After getting the doors open, the guys carried the large sled  through, across the stage, and lowered it carefully off the drop at the front. There they encountered a vaulted room filled with seats, which were divided by narrow aisles. Planning ahead was not our strong point. Undaunted, the guys carried it on their shoulders over the tops of the chairs in the auditorium and squeezed it through the final doors into the hall between the auditorium and the gym. My biggest contribution was holding doors open, but I was having a great time.

I give these details because it was so typical of us–laughing and cracking jokes the whole way, working together like siblings, but not stopping to ask permission. No worries, the sled was a hit that night and nobody asked how we got it there. After that accomplishment, I felt confident about the attendant thing.

What I wasn’t glad about was I didn’t have a date, but we were all required to be there just in case our name was called. Most of us sat in the hall taking tickets and joking with the guys who were there to escort the royalty. Finally the time arrived and we crowded at the door to hear the queen announced. It was my friend! I was very happy for her and gave her a big hug before our mutual crush escorted her in.

Then the first attendant position went to the drum major, who was the only band girl there with a date. Nobody was surprised at either fact. Finally, the second attendant was named. I guess last minute flirting paid off because it went to the flute player. I watched her escorted to the dais, tugged at my new dress my mom had made me for the dance and blinked rapidly. With the ceremony over with, my friend stayed at the dance with her escort and the flute player and I went with a couple of the other escorts for a soda. The driver flipped cookies on the icy streets and I flinched every time she squealed.

So after that memory, this next non-announcement will not be a big deal: This disappointment is much easier to navigate. My book launch has been delayed again. At this point I’m almost embarrassed to even mention it, but I am pretty certain it will be this spring. Therefore, I’m going to take a break from blogging about Cold Pursuit (but you can find past blogs listed on the right).

In the meantime, chin up through life’s disappointments–especially the character-defining ones.

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