Thursday, July 22, 2010

Incognito


Truth be told, I drink one Tab brand soda every afternoon at 4:00 p.m. It's a little idiosyncrasy of mine: a hearken back to college. I don't see it as an addiction as much as I love the flavor of that woodsy goodness, and a little caffeine helps me be a step ahead of my students until 10:00 p.m. I usually teach that late during the school year. Some of my students and friends notice this bright pink can; frankly it's hard to miss the retro label and distinct color. It became a running joke with a student who won a trivia contest. Which Coca Cola product is the only one ever produced in a bright pink can? BOOM, he rang the buzzer. Later, when asked why in the world he would know the answer to the question, he replied because my piano teacher drinks it during my lesson!

I have this elixir at 4 o'clock, not usually much earlier or later. Lately, there has been a rash of mysterious 4 p.m. ding dong ditches happening at my house. There, sitting on my doorstep is a can of Tab and a new glass, usually some funky patterned retro look, (one was a tiki glass!) with ice. What a treat! And what a love gesture! Someone knows me so well! And it makes me laugh, and my family laughs at the suspense of how it will appear.

Today, the mystery friends came and stayed at the door, but they were in disguise. So was the soda. Aha! It is a recent senior graduate, who was a prize student. We had the nicest conversation. At the very end as they turned to leave, he slipped me a note. I can't even bring myself to read this thank you. I know I'm going to cry. So, I'll drink my Tab and smile, and maybe I'll read it at bedtime.

My heart is full even as it breaks. How do you explain to college music and education majors just what a treasure a career in education is? How do you articulate lives changed, most of the time, my own? I have been asked to speak to my alma mater's music class this fall about the truth of making a career in music teaching. Can it be done successfully, they wonder. They will have very real questions about financial realities, pedagogical ideas, . I have not accepted this opportunity yet because I'm not sure I can put a Groucho Marx soda into words. Does this mustache make my nose look big?

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