Friday, June 08, 2007

encourage is full of ups and downs. So it goes. My brief down cycle lasted a couple of days. I should be good to go for another month or so.

That was supposed to be funny.

It’s all too easy to be self-centered and naval gaze during moments like that, wondering what the hell I’m doing in life as I’m in my mid thirties and I’m not doing what I had hoped to do in life.

It’s even easier to forget how just a month ago I was enjoying myself for 5 days in the Boston area on a dream come true travel event. Opportunities like that don’t come often for undercover workers. My, how I soon forget.

But many thanks to those who offer me words of truth during dark times. Truth lights up every room.


In 1985 I was a high school freshman playing French horn in the school marching band. If you know anything about the French horn, it’s an odd shaped brass instrument. The bell (where the sound comes from) is out to the side almost pointing down to the ground as opposed to straight out in front like a trumpet or trombone.

My marching band gave all the horn players these bastardized versions of French horns to use on the field. It was like a French horn in a trumpet’s body. It had a large horn-like bell that pointed frontward and had trumpet valves. It was also crafted into a smaller tubing length thus making it a different key and thus, the fingerings were different from what jr. high band taught me. It was a terrible instrument.

I was an awkward 14 year-old freshman learning a whole new instrument while trying to move on a football field.

And oh yeah...upper classmen were always yelling at me as it was their job to let freshmen know they suck. Nothing like a little pressure from all angles.

That same year, I was in a beginner level art class. I took a history class over the summer so that I could take Art I, the prerequisite for Photo II – IV. My goal was to get on the fast track into photography, which I did. I regret that I’ve had little opportunity to mess with photography since high school graduation.

In Art I, I sat at a table with a senior named Dickie Hammontree. Dickie, #23, was the star running back on the football team. Later that season, he helped bring the school all the way to the state semi-finals where we lost to Odessa-Permian (of “Friday Night Lights” fame) at Texas Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys play. December 1985...look it up.

Dickie was a very charismatic kind of guy. He was a fun-loving black guy with an all-teeth smile and something funny to say at every moment. He had kind of a Cuba Gooding, Jr type personality.

For some odd reason, Dickie took a real liking to me. We’re talking me here: the tall, awkward, white, skinny, 120 lbs. (I’ve never weighed much more than that), with a bad hair cut that was a compromise between my desire to look like Van Halen and my mom’s desire for me to look like Mr. Rogers. I think the kids these days call that hairstyle a “mullet”. Back then it was just called “long in the back”. Hell, I’d still wear a mullet if I could find a damn barber in the fair mother city to give me one. My Hair Cut Lady refuses. Maybe it’s for my own good.

Anyway, Dickie always offered to defend me if anyone ever gave me problems. At first, I thought he offered this because of some stoner guy in our class that was picking on me once. And I think Dickie was looking for any reason to kick this guy’s ass. But over time, Dickie’s friendship to me and his big brother-type of loyalty turned out to be legit. And I never knew why he liked me.

So one Friday night both Dickie and I were in our respective roles representing our school: Dickie in his #23 jersey out on the field and me, in my sergent pepper outfit carrying the French horn from hell getting ready to take the field with the band.

I was a high school dork. The upper classmen in my horn section went out of their way to remind me of that every minute.

And there we were on the sidelines. And #23, Dickie Hammontree, who just scored some touchdowns and other amazing plays, walks right by me and somehow recognized me under my Funky Winkerbean hat.

And in front of everybody, football players, brow-beating band upperclassmen and all, Dickie yells, “Hey! There’s AGENT B...the super-star French horn player!”. And he slaps me a high five.

No one in the world saw that coming. Certainly not me.

Encouragement is always sweet.


Deana Watson said...

I loved this post on so many levels. :)

Anonymous said...

Me too.
Lil' Sis

Tangerinetinselbreeze said...

Agent B you are a super-star!

Pastor Phil said...

Dang! you spin a fair tale bro. What a great read that post is.

Agent B said...

Thanks Phil. I was beginning to think that this report definitely gets the chick vote.

Just kidding. Thanks gals.

"Next on Oprah...Agent B...

RCM- Steve said...

I love all your tales, bro. Please don't stop writing. It too, is one of your crafts...a beautiful one at that.

Jenelle said...

What a nice story. I grinned at the end. Felt like I was in "Rudy."

I resemble that comment about the girls.

Beyond Words said...

Agent B--I might have to bookmark your blog...a stellar story.