Posts Tagged ‘Fresno’
For all the talk of the veterans’ needs, and all the political posturing, there’s a very human element we seem to miss out on.
Soon after Reservist Erin Alaniz returned from Iraq, she was homeless and pregnant, and had only recently left an abusive relationship. She looked around for help, but couldn’t find anyone willing to help her out, she said, her eyes tearing up. Because she was homeless, she didn’t qualify.
Then she met the Sounds of Freedom, who promptly helped her get back on her feet:
“With what they helped me with, I was able to do everything and more I needed to do for my family,” said Alaniz.
But Alaniz says it goes beyond the music and the money.
“They follow up. They call me all the time. ‘How are things?’ ‘How’s the baby?’ ‘How’s your son?’ You have no idea of the magnitude these people care. It’s awesome,” said Alaniz.
One hundred percent of the proceeds go toward troops and their families. Last year almost $10,000 were raised. The funds went toward helping soldiers pay their rent, college tuition, and other needs.
That’s why I play in this veterans’ band. The community is great, and the music is fun, but I stick around for yet another reason.
I’m doing my part to help out — how about you?
I just started at a jovial sort of community band, funded by a local university. I had been having plenty of fun, and though I was busy trying to recruit other but better trombone players for it, I had run into little success. This week, the two guys I had recruited flaked out.
In a jovial, faux-exasperated tone of voice, our director asked me where the two of them were. In a jovial, faux-exasperated tone of voice, I answered.
Hell if I know.
Half of the band gasped. Our director sent me an amused but officially disapproving glare. The community-made half of our band laughed upon recognizing either reaction.
I was as shocked at that shock as half of the band was with my language. I come from bands where instructors will cuss out a band if they feel the band would be better motivated by doing so, and that’s the least of my stories.
One director, upon hearing cacophony where there should be ordered dissonance in stacked seconds, said what he heard sounded like an abortion looks.
Saying “hell” is nothing.
More ironically, I consciously don’t cuss — a habit I most definitely did not pick up from my family, and at the same time one I most definitely picked up because of them. My words don’t get saltier than the silly-sounding “douchenozzle,” and that’s just about the only word I take pains not to say around schoolkids.
Yet I made some college freshman blush because I used language I’ve heard on the playground — the elementary school playground — and I don’t think it’s because she’s a flute player. Either way, I don’t think I’ll ever be in her good graces.
Something tells me I would have spared some nerves if only I had remembered that our sponsoring university was founded in 1944. By Mennonites. Freakin’ Mennonites.
I can say freakin’, right?
My sister isn’t quite three-and-a-half years younger than I am, though whenever I think of that, I can’t help but feel as if we’re closer in age than that. After all, she’s in college. I just got out.
For her own reasons, she decided to attend my alma mater. I’m not sure why she chose the same college I did, though I speculate that her justifications weren’t all that different from my own.
I chose Fresno State because, at the time, it was relatively cheap, it was easy to get into and, as an afterthought, because it had a pretty great marching band. Depending on who you ask, it still does.
I’m not sure whether or not to be flattered that, in some part, she’s following in my footsteps. She joined the marching band, full of too many old acquaintances to count. Her room is in my old dorm, even if she’s on the other side of the building. Her ARD is my first ex-girlfriend.
I only worry because, years ago, she had made a habit of following in my footsteps. The way Dad tells it, my sister was my biggest fan back when we were both in the single-digits, and it didn’t stop until she hit adolescence. I’d hate to think that we’re falling back on old habits — among other things, college is about piecing together self-sufficiency, not about throwing it out.
Even if she did choose my alma mater for the sake of following in my footsteps, the argument is moot. She’s there now, and, God willing, she’ll earn her degree sometime during Obama’s re-election campaign.
For her own good, I should be and will be letting her make her own decisions. I can only hope that she makes more friends, burns fewer bridges and earns better grades than I did.
I imagine the adults in our lives feel the same way.