It Is the Small That We Neglect Most….

As I take a break from the evening workload (knowing I owe Robin Lamel some sort of monumental apology for not making it to her recital) I’ve come to a small moment in time where the proverbial waters calm:

We (those of us in “the business who truly ‘get it'”) are in the business of making memories. But we tend to get lost in the process of making BIG memories for the masses and neglect to realize it is the small ones that matter most–the ones that we do not always recognize as being more significant than others at the moment they occur.

It was (and always is when the opportunity presents itself) a privilege and honor to “rub elbows” with Vice President of the United States Joseph Biden and his son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden. Those random and extraordinary moments are fleeting but always exciting.  They are filled with adrenaline and simultaneously quite easy-going (because both men make it EASY on the people they are meeting/speaking with).  The uniqueness of being at the University of Delaware where people of high stature seem to come and go with the same common passing of the sun rising and setting, is again, a privilege.  Simultaneously it also elevates the word “humbling” to a whole new level when you are 1) addressed by name, and 2) are told how wonderful the band is.

I am a college band director…..big deal.  And yet it is, and has been noticed and acknowledged as more than that.  The job is something that if accomplished correctly, brings joy to others–those in the band and those viewing/listening to the band. It is something that represents and speaks for those who actually **DO** all the work!

I have been told my ‘humble hat’ is stapled to my scalp.  This is, of course, quite true.  My role today is the same one it has been for 19 years:  pay the bills.  James P. Ancona is the one who directs the UD Pep Band (a sub-component of the UDMB) and who should have been in all of this afternoon’s photos….not me.  He is the one who is there day in and day out while I walk the arena, shake hands and keep the connections flowing.  My job is easy compared to what he does.  So thank you Jim!

Those are the BIG moments.  Ones that so few people ever get to experience. I remember my dearest friend in the world, George Parks, shaking hands and taking photos with Ted Kennedy, Geraldine Ferraro, and of course, Bill Clinton (prior to his first term as President of the United States). I remember thinking “how cool is that?!” And each moment was, indeed, quite cool to say the least. ….but in the grand scheme of things or of life…..

It is the other moments, the ones spent with the folks we tend to take for granted, the ones we expect to ALWAYS be there, that are more important. These are the ones that last, the ones that matter and the ones that ultimately define us as human beings.  These experiences are the ones that have a life-long lasting impact upon the people who were part of the moment.

To spend time with the Pep Band today was terrific. To hear them play with more quality and musical understanding than ever before was exhilarating—for they built upon the past and continued the evolution of the ensemble.  THAT is a nod to the past in the highest respect.

To sit or stand with individuals I consider friends (not ones I spend weekends with kicking back and relaxing, but those who are ever so slightly more than professional acquaintances) and chat about the daily occurrences of university life, and/or even personal situations, is something that is to be cherished.  There is sincere interest and concern in the inquiries and THAT is so very special and appreciated–yet words always fail to be expressed properly at those times. The reason for that is simple: we all still feel a “line” that must never be crossed at those times.  We want to sincerely thank these people for what appears to be honest interest yet we (at least I do) fail to produce the necessary words.

And then there are our true friends–those who have traveled the journey with us–albeit at a slight distance removed from the complete emotional immersion–who we neglect the most.  Why?  Simple: we take them for granted. We believe they will always be there for us no matter what so we fail to recognize that every moment we share together is precious and should never be taken for granted.

Sure, photos with Biden were exhilarating.  Chatting with the Roselles and Axe was comforting. But bantering with the McAdams, Deena Frank, Jim Ancona and Larry Turner–THOSE moments were, and will always be, priceless.

We neglect the obvious….and one day we will regret having not acknowledged the obvious.