Parlez Vous Statesmahn?

A long time ago in a land faraway... Well, how about 1989 in Canada?  Way before cell phones.  Waaaayy before Hubby.   It was a great opportunity: a drum corps competition in Quebec City.  Before this, our jaunts into Canada had been limited to Ontario, which really isn't much different from New York.  Well, except for Niagara Falls... that place is just weird.  But I'm getting off topic.   So, the Empire Statesmen had our first competition in a French-speaking city.  The entire show was announced in French.  We actually won both the all-over competition and many of the caption awards (colorguard, horn line, drum line, etc.) but since none of us were fluent in French-Canadian, we didn't have a clue what we were winning.  All we heard was "Blahblahblahblahblah, zee Em-pahre StatesMAHN!"   And we'd accept the trophy.  Then a bunch more "blahblahblahblah" followed by "zee Em-pahre StatesMAHN!"  And another trophy.  It was pretty funny; we'd just keep saluting, then quietly asking each other, "what'd we win?"  Nobody knew. 

So after the show, we headed out to the parking lot to load the buses.  Another corps in the show was from our hometown, Erie.  I used to march with them, as did my at-the-time-boyfriend.  Let's call him Melvin, because the name Melvin makes me giggle and that way he can't get angry at me for blogging about him.   Because I'm not; I'm blogging about Melvin.   Well, Melvin apparently wanted to visit with all our old friends from the other drum corps so instead of heading to OUR buses, he went to theirs first.  As we all got settled into our seats (Melvin and I had been sitting in the very back of the bus), I realized he wasn't there, so I started yelling up to the front that Melvin wasn't on board.  But one of the horn players, John, assured me  that Melvin was in the very front, talking with the bus driver.  I believed him and took advantage of having the seat to myself while we pulled away from the stadium. 

Meanwhile, the Erie corps' buses were also getting ready to pull out, so Melvin (I'm still giggling every time I type that name) said his goodbyes and headed back to where our buses had been parked.  And found NO buses.  He did find some policemen and asked them to help him get to the school where we were staying the night on the gym floor.  (If you're not familiar with drum corps, having a gym floor to crash on is considered a luxury.  Normally, we'd be sleeping on the bus)  Unfortunately, Melvin couldn't remember the name of the school.  Even more unfortunately, the policemen didn't speak English anyway.  For a while, he thought they did understand, as they had him get in the backseat of their cruiser and they headed out.  But soon reality hit as he spent the entire night in that backseat, repeatedly trying to communicate with two French-Canadian policemen who kept wanting to take him to the Y. 

When our buses pulled up to the school and we unloaded, I quickly realized that John didn't know what he was talking about... Melvin wasn't anywhere to be found.  I pushed my way through the mass of zombie-like performers who just wanted to find their sleeping bag and crash and sought out anyone and everyone who might be able to help me.  But all the powers-that-be assured me that if Melvin had been with the Erie corps, he certainly must have hitched a ride with them.  They didn't seem to care that while this would get him safely out of Canada, it would put him in Pennsylvania, and we lived in New York.  Then again, those powers- that-be were probably just as tired as everyone else and figured, "Eh, he's a big boy.  He can take care of himself."  Of course, I was the doting girlfriend with no one who was willing or able to take me back to the stadium to find my poor, lost boyfriend.  So I collapsed onto my sleeping bag  and fell asleep.  What else could I do?

And Melvin spent the entire night riding around Quebec City in the backseat of a police cruiser.  At dawn, he finally spotted the restaurant we had eaten dinner at the night before and knew they were close to the school.   He got them to stop when he recognized one of our drummers' car.  As we were groggily waking up and packing up our stuff, Melvin came into the gym.  I was so confused; I seriously figured he was on his way to Pennsylvania!   He wasn't confused; he was furious with me.  Somehow, his getting left behind and having to spend the night in the back of a cop car was MY FAULT.  He didn't believe my story that John had said he was sitting up front.  He didn't believe that I tried to get someone to go back for him.   He believed that I knowingly allowed the bus driver to leave without him, I didn't care where he was, and I apparently only wanted to get his prime spot on the gym floor.   Or something like that. 

Now, twenty-one years later, I find it pretty darn amusing.  And if you ask Melvin, he still thinks I did it on purpose.

NOTE:  In the picture above, I'm the one on the ground.  If I tried to hit that pose now, it would be followed by "I'VE FALLEN AND I CAN'T GET UP!"