Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Polar Bears to the Bayou

I am giving birth today!! It has been a long and arduous nine months of planning and preparation, but today is the day. Oh stop looking so shocked, at 49, I am not actually carrying a child, I am carrying 165 of them. Take that Octo-mom!!

For the better part of 9 months now, I have worked (with the true help and dedication of my son’s best friend’s mom and my partner in crime) to deliver the Jackson High School marching band to New Orleans so they can participate in the Sugar Bowl at the Super Dome. That little combo has been known as the “super bowl”, “sugar dome” and “super sugar” at various moments in time. Finally, it just became “the Game”.

Today, (okay, tomorrow at 1am) I report to the delivery room in full labor and start pushing these kids out the door a few hours later to buses waiting to take them hither and yon for a delightful experience with the airlines of 3 companies, at two airports, going to 2 hubs, on three planes (6 with transfers). Easy.

The only screaming babies may be the 23 adults going along who have to oversee these kids and all the activities. I am the 24th so count among that group as well though my crying is long over. Going to New Orleans, at New Year’s, for a college football event, has been a challenge in the reservation department. Calling a venue to seat “Jackson, party of 200” who don’t drink, does not get welcomed at the Inn very often. We made it happen however thanks to good people, with small town values, that see the benefit of supporting our youth. 800 breakfasts have been packaged or planned, 54 hotel rooms worked out, 4 buses and 4 swamp boats lined up, and a moving van with 36 wardrobe boxes, 165 instruments, 189 suitcases and a whole bunch of other stuff is navigating the roadways as I write this, to meet up at the loading dock in downtown new Orleans.

At my worst moments, I referred to having been “royally screwed” 9 months ago which lead to this big adventure, but in truth, it has eased my way into the empty nest years. The internet proved to be invaluable for communication with hundreds of parents to make this all happen. Is everybody happy? No, far from it, but then not everyone will ever be pleased with how things turn out regardless of the situation.

Tomorrow, my newborns will experience a city and activities with wide-eyed wonder (it is New Orleans at New Years remember…..with inebriated college kids all over…….) and they will not sleep (no time) and be fussy eaters (Cajun cooking ya’all) and whine when they get tired. They may fuss at wearing their uniforms for hours on end, and play with their toys at the wrong time, and throw a tantrum or two when their love bunny is not on the same bus, but all in all, this group of Jackson students it the best one I have ever worked with (and this is my third time traveling with the band…I must have memory problems…)

Soon it will be time to cut the cord and turn them over to their foster parents, the band directors, while I sit back with my fellow chaperones and get increasingly sleep deprived to the point that everything will be funny as heck. So what does this have to do with art? Well, it proves that all art is not visual, some of it is the art of organization (okay, the purple door hangers were rather crafty of me), and now it becomes the biggest performance piece of my career. March on kids! And Go Bearcats!!


  1. Nicely said, Judi. I'm honored to be joining you. See you in 6 hours!! Karen

  2. Thursday Morning: Grandparents of Luke and Anna
    DeGalan are following you on this trip. Hope to see some of you on TV.