I planned out today’s first early in the week. Tonight was Carl Junction High School’s first home football game. It was also the marching band’s first halftime performance of the new school year and therefore, my grandson Dayan’s first time to take the field with the band this year also. And today was Cheese Pizza Day. My evening plan was to attend the Carl Junction football game with Elissa, Josh and Greg, cheer on the Bulldogs, watch Dayan and the marching band give a stellar performance during halftime and then finish out the evening with a cheese pizza! It seemed like a good plan.
One thing that is absolutely true, in Missouri, is that the weather can change in a heartbeat. As Greg and I drove toward Carl Junction, which is a few miles northwest of Joplin, the sky looked ominous. Dark clouds were massing to the west. Dayan was already at the high school. This young man and the rest of the marching band, have been meeting early, EARLY, in the morning, for weeks, to practice the songs and marching pattern for tonight’s home game. Dayan has been rising at 4:30 am and walking the short distance to school in the dark, to take the field. I so admire the determination and commitment of the band teacher, the band, and Dayan. His mom, who is my daughter Elissa, and her charming beau, Josh, were also at the stadium, saving seats for Greg and me.
Elissa and I had a continuing text conversation going on about the threatening weather. From Elissa’s seat on the CJHS bleachers, the sky looked like it was clearing up a bit. She was facing east. I was driving into the west, and as Greg and I arrived at the high school football field, lightning was flickering in the black clouds. Thunder rumbled as we parked and made our way into the stadium. The band was standing on the far side of the field, facing west also, and they too, were watching the sky. Unfortunately, just as we all settled into our seats and prepared to watch the Bulldogs take the field, the storm moved into Carl Junction. A delay of game was called because of lightning. The band members scurried off the field. I got to watch Dayan actually run. He was, after all, carrying a large metal tuba! A moment later, it was announced that we must leave the metal bleachers. As we filed toward the front gate, the black sky loomed overhead. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued and the four of us darted for the car as Dayan and the band gathered in the high school.
I had hoped to have a slice of cheese pizza while at the game, thereby celebrating Cheese Pizza Day. With rain pelting the car and lightning splitting the sky, we changed course and drove to Randy’s Drive In, located at 1201 Pennell in Carl Junction. My first shifted from pizza to trying out this well loved hamburger hang out. Greg and I sampled the special of the day, the cheeseburger basket, while we waited to see if the weather would clear enough for the game to be played and the band to perform. The cheeseburger was an excellent old fashioned type burger. I enjoyed chatting with Greg, Elissa and Josh while savoring the burger. We laughed and shared stories while getting text updates from Dayan. Greg has a great weather app on his Galaxy phone and he kept us apprised of the weather. As one storm front moved through the area, another was forming behind it. And yet another appeared further west. Just as we finished our meal and moved to the car, intending to drive back to the football stadium, Dayan texted that they were releasing the band members to go home. Whether or not the rain cleared and the football team took to the field, the halftime show was cancelled.
I did at least get to see Dayan and give him a hug. He was one tired young man. His attitude was great, as always, knowing that the hard work the band has put in these last three weeks will yield wonderful results when they do get to perform. There will be other home games. Elissa and Dayan pointed out that this was the first time in years that a halftime band performance has been cancelled due to the weather.
My firsts shifted around this evening. No high school football game, no marching band performance, no cheese pizza. However, as they always do, the firsts did appear, exactly as they were supposed to. First cancelled half time performance, first time to eat at Randy’s Drive In. I am one to make the most of what is happening NOW. I enjoyed the cozy impromptu dinner at Randy’s with Greg, Elissa and Josh. And I am so proud of Dayan, who is learning at a young age to also make the most of the present moment. He accepted the gift of the unexpected early end to the evening. He was going to get some rest! We will all be there at the next Carl Junction High School football game, ready to cheer on the team and clap wildly for the Bulldogs Marching Band.