Today we stayed in Philadelphia, MS at Choctaw Central High School, which is on the Choctaw Indian reservation.
There was no state of the art, astro turf stadium. Their football field, which we could not use because of the sod being put down on the grass, was surrounded by a thoroughly worn down track and watched over by stands of dull, rough concrete. You’d look at the stadium and mourn the lonely, crestfallen structures of the poor regions of the Deep South. That is, if you believe in the value of money over the value of other things.
We lined all of our rehearsal fields on the back ends of sandy orange baseball fields and they worked just fine.
At lunchtime, the band students and band director of Choctaw Central made and served us a delicious lunch.
As I perused the cafeteria to sit down with my tacos and fry bread, one of the band students led me to my seat, pulled it out from the table for me so I could sit down, and offered me a brown paper bag of snacks, a clear plastic bag of candy, and a small plastic box with a pin of an American flag and another, different flag joined at the pole.
“This is from my band,” he said, handing me the brown paper bag, “The candy is from my church. And this is from The Tribe.” He handed me the pin box.
I will put the pin on my corps jacket. I’ll touch it from time to time and remember the taste of tacos, first rate hospitality, and the unshakable sense of pride of a group of people who made it their first priority to share the love with a traveling circus band.