So what was your first job? Mine was when I was in 8th grade attending the Goodyear Junior High School on the east side of Akron, OH. My band director, Mr. Hill, set me up with this initial plunge into the work force. Who did I work for? One of the local funeral homes. What did I do? I played taps on my trumpet at all of their military funerals.
That may sound somewhat morbid but, for the age I was then, it was actually kind of cool. On the days there were military funerals, I would show up to school in the only suit I had - a bright blue pin-striped 3-piece that, along with a fake ID, could have gotten me into any local disco hall. At the proper time, a shiny black limousine would pull up to the main entrance of the school and, as all my friends looked out the classroom windows, I would get into the back seat.
The limo would then take me to the cemetery where I would stand back by the military guys who would be giving the gun salute. Once the priest had finished his words and the guns had all been fired, it was time for my 60 seconds of fame as I played taps. I would then load back into the limo who would run me through a McDonald's drive-thru and buy me lunch and then take me back to school with a crisp $20 bill in my hand. WOW! What a job that was!
Actually, my trumpet provided me something even better as I entered High School. I attended a wonderful Christian School (Cuyahoga Valley Christian School in stow, Ohio) where I played in the band. Our band director was named Mr Don Bechtel. He was a kind of mentor to me in many more ways than just music. My senior year I was band president. In fact, band was my life in High School.
During those 3 years in Mr Bechtel's band he taught me one of the greatest lessons I ever learned. Over and over he would say to our band, "Just because it's Christian, doesn't mean you have to settle for mediocrity...shoot for excellence in everything you do!" It is very similar to what I heard Dr Jerry Falwell say many times during my four years at Liberty University. Dr Falwell would say, "If it's Christian it ought to be better!"
My trumpet has been packed away for nearly two decades. I doubt I could even play a note today but the lesson I learned playing my trumpet in Mr Bechtel's band has been far more valuable than a lifetime of limo rides and $20 bills!