Sunday, December 21, 2008

Why I had to quit playing the trombone

When I became a Freshman at the Colorado School of Mines in the fall of 1940 I went out for football. After about six days as the personal blocking dummy of Dick "Break-a-leg" Moe, who earned All American honors as a tackle on Mine's undefeated 1939 team, I sent for my trombone and joined the band. A wise albeit cowardly move. The band (a pitful group compared to the saddest of today's junior high marching bands) got to go every place the football team did including Bozeman, Montana (via Yellowstone  National Park) to play Montana State and Fresno, California to play Fresno State (with a side trip to Los Angeles). All this with none of the bruises, aches and pains from playing football. One time brother Dick came to Golden to visit and he and I partook excessively from a keg of Coors at the Beta House. Then we retired to the softball field across the street (unlit and no grass) for a little Michigan hooting and hollering.This was after we got tired of hitting the wood panel walls of the fraternity house living room with our bare fists...(Dick started it...). For some reason I decided to run the bases and slid into second base on my face. As you can imagine, my face was a bloody mess and when a couple of the Beta brothers saw me they started looking for whoever hit me. Dick had to tell them what really happened. Well, when I finally healed up there remained a little crescent-shaped scar tissue in my upper lip (now hidden by my mustache) which ended my career aas a slip-horn player. Small loss, I am told, as far as the music world is concerned. (May 17, 2008)

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