I had kept a poem, inspired by my playing the bass drum in my high school marching band, in an old box for 48 years, before publishing it.
48 Years Later
By Richard Mabey Jr.
On the seventeenth of May of 1968, my beloved paternal grandfather went Home to be with the Lord. Watson Mabey was a good, hard working, honest man. I loved him dearly. I was devastated by his passing.
A photo of Grandma and Grandpa Mabey with their adorable little grandson.
After Grandpa’s funeral, the next day or two, I returned back to school. I was in my freshman year at Boonton High School. I was a drummer in the high school’s marching band. We were rehearsing for the upcoming Lincoln Park Memorial Day Parade. Basically, it was one of the biggest events in my old hometown of Lincoln Park. It’s a bit confusing, but the high school students from Lincoln Park went to the big regional high school in Boonton.
Playing the bass drum took everything that I had. It was physically demanding.
Doc Warford, our band instructor, had assigned me to play the big bass drum for the Lincoln Park Memorial Day Parade. Well, lo and behold, I found a great therapy in hitting the bass drum as hard as I could. Believe me when I tell you, it’s nearly impossible to hit a bass too hard. All of my pain, all of my heart-felt mourning, all of my sadness that was sweltering in my heart center; was able to be released when I smashed the mallet against the head of the big bass drum.
The very photo that Bill A. had recently posted on Facebook, of the Boonton High School Marching Band.
When the day of the big Lincoln Park Memorial Day Parade came, I played my heart out. I think that Ringo would have been proud of me, that’s how much heart I put into playing the big bass drum that day! After the parade was over, the Lincoln Park American Legion Post gave a free hot dog and soda to everyone who had participated in the parade.
While waiting in the long line, for my free hot dog and soda, I thought up the core basis for my poem about the grandeur and glory of a small town parade.
Well, the line for your free hot dog and soda was out of this world. I remember this so well. It was while I was waiting in line for my free hot dog and soda that I thought out the basis for my poem centering on the grand glory of a parade.
Doc Warford used to always tell me that the bass drum was the heart of the band. Well, I actually used his analogy in this poem. It was shortly after the big Lincoln Park Memorial Day Parade that I wrote the poem.
At Boonton High School, they had a student magazine. I believe, if memory serves me right, they called it “The Student Prints.” After I wrote my little poem about the grandeur and glory of the small town parade, I thought about submitting it to the high school magazine. But, alas, I never did. I never thought it was good enough.
Earlier today, I posted the very poem that I had written over 48 years ago. I included a photo that my classmate and friend, Bill A. had recently posted on Facebook. Well, I was very honored when Bill wrote that he was impressed with my poem. I was very honored that Bill thought enough of this poem to repost it. Also, my friend Arcturas T. wrote complimentary feedback on my poem. I couldn’t help but think, perhaps I should have submitted it to my high school magazine, back all those years ago. I thought about it a lot this evening. I think I simply sold myself short.
Perhaps you might find yourself working toward a certain goal. But, then you question your talents. You ask yourself, “am I really good enough?” Or you might say to yourself, “what if I try and fail?” Well, what if you never try and then you’re stuck wondering if you would have succeeded in fulfilling that particular goal or dream?
Too often we sell ourselves short. We question our talents. Please, if you are working on a particular goal in life, do not sell yourself short. Give it all you’ve got. Step forward with courage and conviction. Believe in your gifts and talents. Believe in yourself. Be brave, be courageous. And, step forward with the conviction that nothing can hold you back!