I move on to an air band.
It's my first year of university, and being done exams early in December, I'm looking for something to do. I drop in on the special ed class at my old school, and end up staying to help for three weeks.
I love it. I love these kids...if you can call them kids, some of them are my own age. Most of them have Down Syndrome. Most will end up in sheltered workshops. Some can read. A few dream of getting "real" jobs and driving cars.
The big deal right now is the school Christmas assembly. I don't think this class has ever participated before, but the teacher, an energetic and innovative guy, has come up with something stupendous. The class is going to do an air band routine to Bruce Springsteen's "Cadillac Ranch," a rowdy song that "could make dinosaurs dance." Behind the fake guitars, fake drums, fake sax, will be a slide show of photos of the class, taken on a fall day, somewhere out in the country, with the kids running around a barn, sitting on hay bales, riding in a classic convertible.
Every day they practice. The guys, especially, love riffing along with The Boss. The girls dance. Even the less-verbal ones shout out "Cadillac...Cadillac...long and DARK....shiny and BLACK." But how will it go over in front of the school? Because this class...they're not exactly accepted by a lot of the students. There are snickers when they go by in the halls, in the cafeteria lines. They do not seem to have friends outside the classroom. Most of the time they are very much "other."
Finally it's the day of the assembly. It's time for the song. From the big loud drum intro, through the guitar solos and the last fadeout chorus, they grab their four minutes and however many seconds of fame. Everybody sings, the slides flick by, they do just what they practiced. And somehow...they connect. If only briefly, there is no "other." The applause is loud. The performers cheer and bow and high-five.
You know there's nothing in that song about Christmas, or Christ. There's a line about a little girlie in her blue jeans so tight (and a slide to match...but rumor is that's the teacher's wife). I should be shocked. But I don't care.
Because for those four minutes and however many seconds, I saw people seeing people. I think I saw Grace.
Is that Advent?