KS - drums
This was my third experience with a uniformed group as I was in the boy scouts a short while and in ROTC during high school. In the first group we learned a bit about knots, but in this third one the sergeants were tying us in knots of a different type as they made very sincere efforts at making proper soldiers out of us. They did this while using a plethora of lower gradient words I had not been exposed to up to this point in my life. Nor did I have much of an idea such words existed or that they could be used as descriptive adjectives concerning so many things and people.
Our training company – 5 platoons of 40 plus men each – learned to march as a unit with the use of drums – one bass and one snare. Since I had a small bit of experience with the bass drum in high school, I made my first real mistake in the Army – I volunteered for something – the bass. A mistake because not only did I still have to carry everything everybody else did, I had to carry – and play – this large percussion piece.
My playing partner on the snare drum was a Mexican-American with the last name of Diaz – can’t remember his given one. Evidently he had a lot of experience – more than yours truly – but our little combo worked out well – this according to those in charge. On a regular basis – after we had marched a short distance – Diaz would turn off the snare part of his drum, turn his sticks around, we both would throw in a few extra beats and would march to somewhat of a bongo beat.
The two drummers marched between the 2nd and 3rd platoons so the whole company could hear the cadence. The perpetrators thereof, the men in the company and most of the cadre enjoyed our special rhythm. An exception to this was our company commander, because after hearing our unusual beat - a couple of weeks into training – he took a very dim view of it and made us stop. He said it made the unit march funny and he didn’t want his men skipping down the street. We didn’t agree with his assessment but stopped anyway, this being less damaging to our budding military careers.
During this time my inner ears were starting to hear a different drumbeat as well, drawing my soul into a march away from the moral teachings by which I was raised.
TBC - ec