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Friday, January 25, 2013
THOMAS TAYLOR: I met Thomas in the 7th grade. He played a cornet as I did, and we were in band together. Thomas wanted to be a great musician but somehow missed the mark too often. This is not to say he was a bad player; no, he played well for a high school kid. Missing the mark: when we were both Juniors in H.S. and it came time to play at the UIL solo contest – held in Brownfield that year – I had been taking lessons from Ted Crager (formerly Monterey HS director – then to a
university) . Ted is a paragraph by
Ted prepared me for contest. He selected the music and taught me how to play the songs correctly. I did all that he asked and used our best piano accompanist at that time, Lutine Harris (again another person who could use a paragraph alone). She & I practice in her living room. We were very comfortable with the music.
So we load up in the bus and head 30 miles south to Brownfield. It was to be a long day of waiting – short performance – waiting for the results – then, waiting while everyone else finished. . . a long typical day for musicians at contest. After we arrived, we all piled out of the yellow dog and scurried inside to wait together, properly. All did except Thomas. He stayed on the bus to practice. He started practicing about 9 in the morning and didn’t stop till his performance time somewhere short of 3 p.m. Six hours of practice is long for anyone.
Thomas was exhausted. His performance showed how tired he was. He suffered a bad rating from the trumpet judge. That shouldn’t have happened, but it did. Thomas was lucky like that.
I can remember that Thomas gave me my first sex education lesson. . . 7th grade. Thomas was knowledgeable because he had an older sister in high school. He said that he had seen her naked. Since he lived in a small little shack that seemed to have curtains instead of doors, it was possible. .
On a band trip – riding in the school bus – Thomas explained something to me that has stuck for all these years. Understand in those days in Levelland, boys were on one bus – girls were on a different bus. Imagine if you will an inexperience naive 7th grade boy, barely into puberty listening attentively. Thomas pointed to his underarm – that place which gives out wonderful odors if not conquered. Then, he pointed to the top of his shoulder as he rambled. He explained that God – yes, God – had made these two products in order for the girl’s shoulder to nestle inside of a boy’s arm pit for that closeness we all desire. Maybe as a 7th grader, you didn’t desire closeness, but I can tell you that I did. Boys will be Boys. Girls will be Girls. And, in my case the two rarely met.
Thomas bought a car in the 9th grade. By today’s standards, it was a junker….2 door blackish Ford with a big ole V8. It was loud and not so fast as he thought. He installed something on the engine that caused it barely to turn over – high compression. I can still hear the starter: RRRRRR RRRRRR (real slow) RRRRR RRRR BAROOOM! RUMBLE! Shake and massive dreams about muscle.
Thomas painted that car himself with a paint brush. It was all that he could afford. If I remember it was somewhat multicolored. Yes, his family was quite poor. Thomas did all that he could to overcome that. You might really admire his efforts.
In the period of time after my graduation from college and subsequent band job, Thomas started working for a
Lubbock music dealer, Delahunty. (Delahunty
could use his own paragraph someday) Through Delahunty’s efforts, Thomas opened a
sheet music store which attached to Delahunty’s instrument store. He worked hard at this. Meanwhile Thomas took flying lessons and
became a pilot of his own plane – no small task. Again you have to admire someone who
overcomes poverty to progress in this world.
Thomas Taylor died one evening. He was flying somewhere in
New Mexico (I believe) when his plane went
down. I suppose Delahunty inherited the
sheet music store.