Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Daylight on the Bus Route

When I was in high school, I played the clarinet in "Division Band," which was a wind ensemble composed of students from schools all across the Arcola School Division. Or was it the Arcola School Unit? I remember something about Unit 10, and the office was actually in Arcola, housed in the old Land Titles Office, a wonderfully solid brick building with a brass elevation marker in the yard. The building has since housed a museum and gift shop, and more recently the offices of a trucking company. The school division has become much larger. Back then, though, we would wait after school on Monday for a bus coming from Stoughton and picking us up on the way through to Carlyle for band rehearsal. To fill the time and tide us over, we always had a bit of allowance money to go downtown to Chan's Cafe for a chocolate bar or a little bag of chips. Chan's Cafe stands vacant now, and my daughter works next door in the new "Michael's Cafe and Bakery." She played in Division Band for a while, but the bus was no more, and my understanding is that the band itself fizzled out a few years ago.

Little snapshots of memory remain, not of the music itself, but of scenes: our instruments in their cases waiting on the sidewalk by the gym; an older student silhouetted oddly in the hallway during a break; my favourite conductor Mr. Patterson's smile. We did get a standing ovation at one concert, for our performance of the William Tell Overture. But what I remember most was that particular Monday each winter when we would come out of rehearsal for the bus trip home and find that it was not yet dark out.

Back then it took a week's change for it to be noticeable, but back then I wasn't the bus driver with the watch. These days on my morning run to the school, I notice the difference in the sky from one day to the next, as I turn south or east toward the sunrise: how much brighter it is than when I passed this spot the day before.

No comments: