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Thrailkill Update (11/4/01)

November 4, 2001 by Gene

Greetings from Norman!

It seems as if Karen and I have been out of town the entire month of October. We had a great month and thought we would share some of our activities with you.

First, Texas Weekend – How about those Sooners!!! We left home on Wednesday and traveled to a nice park in Arlington where we camped until Sunday. Took in movies, Grapevine Mills, Bass Pro Shop, visited with friends and in general had a great weekend. The worst part was getting into and out of the Fairgrounds. I suppose it is OK when the bus drops you off at the door but waiting an hour to get in/out and being parked in Waco (slight exaggeration) is not my idea of a fun time. I did not; however, miss the (misbehavin’ students) phone calls at 2:00 a.m. or up with the chickens for the pregame breakfast.

The next trip was one of those “good news – bad news” weekends. I adjudicated for Jerry Hoover at Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield. Originally, we planned on pulling “HaRV” and going to Branson for a few days prior to the Saturday band competition. Since we were provided a comp room at the Residence Inn, we decided to leave HaRV at home, drive the truck and go a day early. While at the judges’ dinner on campus Friday night, our meal was interrupted by a graduate assistant who informed me that “your truck is on fire” – my immediate reply was “yeah right” but unfortunately the fire department, the police department, and half of Springfield were there to extinquish a fire that started 90 minutes after the truck was parked in the band building parking lot. It took one week for Ford to allow our insurance agent to even pop the hood and we are now in our fourth week and they tell us it may be ready in two more weeks. Then it will be a five hour trip back to Springfield to pick it up, drive it home, and see what Ford Motor Company has to say. Fortunately, Reynolds Ford in Norman has really been good and we are in hopes everything will be made right – to me that means a new 2002 truck!

October 20th was Oklahoma Homecoming and it was fun to finally have the opportunity to actually spend some time with my former students. Watching the game from the end zone in the Alumni Band seats was different and how I got rooked into playing cymbals I still have not figured out. Fortunately Gene and Kay Braught were in Norman for the game but were unable to attend the alumni functions. Many alums asked about Gene and our thoughts were with both he and Kay. Kay celebrated her 80th birthday while in Norman that week.

Driving a 2002 Ford Explorer furnished by Ford in lieu of our truck, we embarked upon another exciting weekend. This time, a trip to Athens, Ohio for Homecoming weekend at Ohio University. Karen and I have looked forward to this trip since being invited back by the Ohio University Band Society of Alumni and Friends last spring. WHAT A FANTASTIC WEEKEND!

In 1967 I created what they now refer to as the “modern” marching band at Ohio U. We were treated like Royalty and renewed so many old acquaintences. It was very gratifying for us as the sweeping changes I made in 1967 have been continued and are now established tradition. The uniform, band jacket and insignias, pre-game, etc remain. How many times will that happen when a band changes directors four times in 34 years? We were on the front page of the student newspaper, the “Athens Messenger”, etc. all weekend. The student newspaper questioned why I changed the band to all male in ’67 – it took some manuevering to get around that one. I was asked “why” so many times and you know me – I can’t remember yesterday let alone why I did something 34 years ago.

So now we are back in Norman attempting to answer the 40 emails I have on my computer. In addition I have accepted the “honor” of chairing the grocery portion of the Norman Christmas Store. It is quite an undertaking and extremely uplifting. This Christmas Store is a County project which enables approximately 500 needy families to “shop” for gifts and food for Christmas. In addition to each family receiving a ham or turkey, flour, sugar, and fruit we will sort over 30,000 items of canned goods donated by the community.

So all in all, we are fine. Looking forward to having our mothers here (Gene’s 87 – Karen’s 92) from Illinois for Thanksgiving. Naturally they will get to spend some time with their two great grandchildren. It is going to seem strange not having band students at the house this year for Thanksgiving dinner.

BE PATIENT – We are still working on placing photos on this site.

Stay tuned and Send me mail if you have time. Not just a joke – I want to hear where you are, what you are doing since I last saw you, and family information (photos are encouraged).

GOD Bless you and yours in this upcoming holiday season!

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