Saturday, June 18, 2005

and then there were ten ...

Once again it was a weekend night and there I sat in the Imperial Cafe, books lodged securely under the table not to be opened all weekend. In walked Christy and Tami, the Wheaton girls. “Late as usual,” said Tami as she pulled up her chair next to me. Just as they were sitting down Jennifer walked in.

“It’s okay. It’s not as if you’ve missed anything. They’re only just now setting up.”

It was a different Dixie Swing band tonight. They were older, all in their 60s and 70s. The banjo player was over by the ancient upright tuning his instrument. The bearded drummer was screwing on his cymbals. And the man with thick spectacles was removing his huge bass from its case. The three other fellows sat on the raised platform on the corner by the window, holding their respective musical instruments: a trumpet, a clarinet, and a trombone. They may have not been much to look at but when the music began ... well, it’s called Swing for a reason. Each gray-haired gentleman was a true master of his instrument. Never had I been in the presence of such fantastic musical talent. Later we learned that the band had been playing together these 40 years.

As the evening wore on, Autumn, Samantha, and Annie joined our small gathering followed by Courtney, Molly, and Julie. The good fun we had that night enjoying the music and the company rivaled any “good time” those awful, annoying British stag parties could produce. One of our number, Samantha, had met the coach of Prague’s rugby team on the metro the day before. He had given her his number promising her and anyone else who cared to join her a spot on the team’s bus the next day as they went to go play their next game.

I declined the invitation to tag along, since my early experiences with the sport were not pleasant ... He said all I had to do was hold the ball ...

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