It was the first time both the seventh and eighth grade bands would play together and I was quite nervous. I was comfortable with my fellow seventh grade band students, but today, I would be meeting the eighth graders for the first time.
Naturally, I was in my seat earlier than most and I sat quietly waiting for more familiar faces to join me. Eventually, Susan Odgen, Greg Jackman, Butch ____, and Brad Hook came into the section.
Miss Simmons, the fairly new and still, very young band director, stepped onto the podium and the room lost much of its pre-rehearsal chaos. Behind me sat the eighth-grade trumpets. They were intimidating.
I turned and looked over my shoulder to seventh-grade trumpets Jeff Becker, Susan Robertson, and Valerie Hiatt. Glances and nervous smiles were exchanged.
I laid my alto saxophone across my lap. I heard something hit the floor near me, but chose to ignore it.
I heard the eighth-grade trumpets, Mick Helpling, Dana Miller and Darrell Whitkamper, chattering about something. In the midst of the unintelligible conversation, I heard the distinct words, “Look! A Twinkie fell out of that kid’s saxophone.”
Who was the kid who dropped a Twinkie and what was it doing inside their saxophone?
I continued waiting for instructions from the band director. An unmistakable discomfort set in. I positioned myself so I could look around without appearing to do so. I didn’t need to look far as the individually wrapped Twinkie was next to my foot.
Vertigo mixed with sudden perspiration. I waited, not knowing what to do.
I heard Darrell Whitkamper trying to get my attention. I turned over my right shoulder and acknowledged him. He was leaning forward with his elbows pressed onto his knees, his trumpet gently swinging.
“Are you going to throw the Twinkie away?”
I reached over and picked it up. Mortification fixed me into a state of rigor mortis as I returned to see him reach out his hand.
“I’ll take it if you don’t want it.”
Somehow the plastic wrapped dessert ended up in Darrell’s hands.
Later that evening I was to learn my mother had placed the Twinkie in my saxophone. I should have known. I had been born to a family that reveled in plotting and executing practical jokes. As a parent, I never placed a Twinkie in any of my sons’ instruments, but I did my share of practical jokes.
Forty-one years later, I cannot pass Twinkies without chuckling.