I don’t look good at four in the morning. Actually, one could debate if I look good at any hour, but I will even agree that four in the morning is not the best time for me to be going anywhere. Four in the morning is a sacred time meant for one thing and one thing only, and if I am awake, then that one thing is not getting done as it should be. I couldn’t even tell you the last time I saw four in the morning. Hell, I wasn’t happy when my alarm clock rang at six of seven every morning to wake me up for school. However, this four o’clock in the morning was different.
The alarm still rang, but it wasn’t waking me up for school. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t even home in my own bed and it wasn’t the annoying ring of my own alarm clock. It was the slightly different ring of the hotel clock that woke me up this morning; however it was annoying none-the less. Unlike any other morning, I had places to be at four. I had breakfast to eat, clothes to dress myself, and an instrument to warm up.
No, I wasn’t sleeping in my own bed. The hotel bed that kept me warm for a few short hours of sleep was sitting on a floor, on one of many stories, inside a hotel building, which was sitting on a street, which was placed smack dab in the middle of downtown New York City.
No, the bell wasn’t ringing in my ear to wake me for school. I had a parade to march in. I was just one of about a hundred students chosen from across the United States to march in the 50th Anniversary Macy’s Day Parade. We weren’t holding a balloon, or dancing with a regular marching band. We were 100 tuba players, and we were ready to rock the city down. It was a little awe inspiring. As I got ready to leave my hotel room, I took a second to look back at the week.
Long practices holding heavy instruments, marching in perfect lines to a steady rhythm. After practice each day, we then went to enjoy some of the sights and sounds of the city. Growing up in a rural town, one could find a lot to love in New York City.The whole marching band went out to eat together. I believe it was at Applebee. I can tell you I remember eating quickly then putting my head down on the table to sleep for a few more minutes before the parade. I don’t care how young I may be, four o’clock in the morning is still really freaking early. As we got up to leave the table for the parade, I grabbed my gloves and put them on.
I had hand warmers ready inside them, as the weather outside was starting to get worse and worse. The rain was already coming down, and at 4 o’ clock in the morning, as one could imagine, is about as warm as the Artic at night during winter. Everyone lugged their instruments out of their cases and put them on. Most of us by now had parkas on to try to prevent us from getting wet.
However, not getting wet was beside the point now, we all just tried to not get completely soaked. Maybe I wasn’t ready for the rest of the parade. Maybe I hadn’t thought about what I would see. Or maybe I just thought the rain would keep people inside.
However, as I marched down to Times Square I saw more people than I have ever seen or may ever see again all at one time. And all of these people were clapping and cheering for me! Truly humbling, but at the same time inspiring with a little left over to pet your ego. I was marching in the Macy’s Day Parade. I was soaking wet, cold, and had seen hours no human being should ever be awake to see. However, I was marching in the Macy’s Day Parade, and that is what I had come for.
As I looked over all the faces as I kept on marching. I may have just been another face in the parade to all of them, but I felt like much more. I was part of something bigger, and rocked the streets of NYC right off their proverbial hinges.
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