I thought I would tell you how I have passed on to my children my knack for having crazy things happen.
My oldest daughter, Lori, especially, when she was in Winter Guard, was always getting hurt in different cities and different states. We were always leaving a trail of blood stains and painful memories behind wherever we went.
You may not know what Winter Guard is. It's a performance that runs about five minutes and is done on a gym floor to recorded music. They use equipment like sabers, flags, and, my favorite, rifles, to spin while they are dancing and performing.
It was life changing for us. We loved it. We traveled about eight or nine weekends, at least.
We traveled to Tennessee, Georgia, Florida and Texas, and we ended up in Dayton, Ohio, for a world competition.
Poor Lori was forever getting hit by someone else's equipment.
We went to Ohio for the big competition and we were staying in a National Guard armory. Lori’s team was practicing on the armory’s gym floor, and one of the guys did a flat toss with his rifle and it slipped, and flew all the way across the gym and landed right on top of Lori’s head.
She fell to the floor in a pool of blood because it had cut her head. So, we have to go to the hospital to get stitches.
It’s snowing outside, so instead of waking our bus drivers up at the hotel to make a hospital stop, the officer in charge of the armory had to carry us in a Humvee to the hospital.
Lori is just a fussing because she is going to perform the next day regardless of a cut and stitches. Bless her heart, she did get stitches, but she did a great job the next day.
OK, she graduates and goes to college at the University of Alabama. She and her friend, Tony, have been in band and Winter Guard at Winterboro and had been in band at college, so why not be in Winter Guard again.
So, they joined a group in Tennessee and were driving back and forth every weekend from Tuscaloosa. So, I go up with our old group, the Blue Nights from Winterboro, so I can see them perform.
We are staying at the same little school as they are. I’m finally about to see her group practice its show, which is about the Depression and the Dust Bowl times.
The music was a country song about those things and an old John Deere tractor. They took their equipment a step further, and some of them were using two-by-fours. Yep, boards!
So, I am sitting facing her, and she tosses her rifle up and it spins six times, and just as she is supposed to catch it, the girl behind her steps up and spins her board over her head (which is what she is supposed to do) while the rifle is in the air spinning.
It was beautiful! Well, it would have been, but the girl hit her in the head with her board she was spinning.
Lori folded like a wounded animal on the gym floor, and a pool of blood formed immediately under her head. I am familiar with this scene.
Someone said, “How do you do this?” I said, “We are used to it.”
Well, she does need stitches, but she is pitching a fit because she wants to perform the next day and she does not want to be drugged up.
She got this perform-military-style-at-all-cost attitude from Jeff Wood, her band director at Winterboro. She never wanted an excuse to not perform and she always wanted to do her best.
After all, she had done it before with a fever and stitches.
She asked a lady in our group, Martha Smith -- she was like our nurse -- could she help her, adding that she didn't want stitches.
Martha said “yes,” so we washed Lori’s hair and got her cut to stop bleeding, and Martha started her handiwork.
She would take small stands of hair on each side of the cut and tie them in a knot, tie it in a knot several times, then lay it to the side. She continued until she had the cut completely sealed all the way down. I was amazed.
Then she pulled them all straight down over the cut and French braided her hair over it, and you couldn't even see it.
Lori performed the next day, completed all of her spins and didn't miss a beat. Oh, and the other girl didn't hit her again, thank goodness! It was just beautiful.
They were dressed like farmers, and at the end they put all the boards together and it made an old fence. They won first place in their division. Martha did a wonderful job of fixing her cut without stitches, and it paid off.
Lori went to Florida without me for the first time with the UA band to march in the Orange Bowl parade.
I get a call from her girlfriend in the band and Tony. “Uh, we are at the hospital with Lori.”
“Have mercy, what did she get hit by this time?”
“Nothing, she is dehydrated, has a very serious UTI and fever, and they are worried about kidney functions, so they are giving her an IV. They will probably admit her.”
I said, “Call me after you guys get through with the parade and let me know how she is doing.
The next phone call was … from Lori. “The parade was wonderful! We marched for several miles. What? You don't think I would miss my one chance to march in the Orange Bowl parade, would ya?”
It is that Jeff Wood training! She got her IVs, drank lots of water, took her antibiotics and off she went military style, just like Mr. Wood taught her.
She was used to having things happen to her and always watching things happen to me. She was a pro at performing with a broken wing, injured head -- whatever is hurt at the time.