Rose Bowl Madness

You know, just when I thought I had a handle on Mrs. Austin, she does something completely unexpected. Something so monumentally out of the ordinary, it's both frightening and amusing at the same time. Just more reasons why I love her.

She cries at parades.

Now before I get hogtied for my prose, let me clarify by saying she cried at seeing her High School's marching band perform in the Rose Bowl parade.

Still not convinced? Ok, she cried because she was in this marching band in high school.


The high school I'm talking about is Permian High School out of Odessa, Texas. Ah, now I see the nods of understanding.

You see, in Odessa, since the gas and oil boom have pretty much dried up, there's basically one thing left in the town that defines it; high school football. There's Odessa High School (OHS) and Permian High School (for some reason MOJO is used here as well, but I can't find where this came from.) Permian was apparently the third school in Odessa, OHS being one of the other two, the other I don't know. But, the rivalry was between OHS and Mojo. The rivalry was so intense that Permian High's parking lot stop signs were black and white so as not to match OHS's school colors of red and white.

Yeah, that's what I said.

So anyway, Mrs. Austin was a flautist in the Panther's Marching Band. A band, by the way, that has gone 40+ years with what amounts to a perfect score for Marching Band along with other performing band areas. Mrs. Austin's brother was in the band as well. The school, indeed the whole city, was centered on football and the band and anything involved with them. If you look at the Mojoland website you can see it's primarily about football. I'm sure in doing a search for Permian High School Drama, the only thing you'll find would be a commentary on the movie Varsity Blues.

At noon after a blissfully lazy morning on New Year's Day, a shock of realization went through Mrs. A's brain and she flipped the channel to the Rose Bowl parade and started the digital recorder. "Permian was going to be on in the first half hour of the parade," she said wistfully.

"So why are you recording it now?" I asked, knowing I was stomping on sacred ground.

"Just in case," she said with a tilt of her head like I can imagine an astronaut's wife might look when commenting on going past the 3-minutes of radio silence upon re-entry.

Sure enough, the last band to be seen in the 2004 Parade of Roses was none other than The Permian/OHS Composite Marching Band. 400 plus members all told. They were the largest band in the parade. They played some song that suggested that even though they wore composite uniforms and marched under a combined name, Permian was the major force being represented. Tears flowed, hearts jumped into throats, phone calls were made. I sat quietly sketching my superheroes patterned after the forces in quantum mechanics and wondered just what I'd gotten myself into 7 years ago.

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