And Stinky Davis was about six-feet-one and he was just ramrod. And he had this gray, steely eye. He was the only drum major I ever knew who bought his own uniform. He did not use anything to do with the school. He had all his stuff tailored for him—he was a professional drum major. And he wore this big black shako hat, which is a stiff, cylindrical, military-type cap with a visor. Somebody got him a strange badge with a silver skull for the front of his shako and when he turned around you could see his totally expressionless, steely eyes and that silver skull.
And he was a fanatical twirler. This guy always worked with two batons and he would keep them moving all the time. Weaving constantly, but he didn’t do all the kind of stuff the chicks do, like the business of throwing them between their legs. When not twirling, one baton he would carry in a sheath on his side, and the other baton, of course, was his directing baton. The baton was going straight ahead.
On the field, he stood out on the five-yard line with the brass all lined up in a flat line on either side and behind is the body of the band in what we call loose fanfare formation, and at the very end of the end zone would be sousaphones. He would start giving a beat you could barely hear —ticktickticktick ticktickticktick and you couldn’t see from the stands ticktickticktick ticktickticktick. At the precise psychological moment he’d go ticktick, two quick toots on the whistle toot toot and we’d move into this close formation! Like a blot of ink—instead of spreading out—suddenly coming together. Zap! We’d march close together through the goal posts playing “El Capitan” moving straight out to the forty-yard line and then move out in two long, thin lines toward each sideline, the band splitting into a giant Y and the eight sousaphones marching down the middle of the field playing “El Capitan.”
By that time the crowd was flipping out because this band was one of the absolutely best military marching bands in the entire Midwest. We used to get invitations to play at important college games. Tuba and Sousaphone below:
TABLE OF CONTENTS CONTINUED
(This part of Artsy Fartsy‘s table contents includes the Shep portion
of what I plan for the book.)
ACCOLADES What—You never heard of Jean Parker Shepherd? Well look who has and thinks he’s great!
FOREWORDS MARCH Twain, Fields, Kafka: guys who could have, would have, should have provided accolades for Jean Parker Shepherd.
WHAT HOAX? I, Libertine–what was it and why? Bogus and real.
CROSSWORD PUZZLE & OTHER TRIBUTES ol’ Shep up & down and across! (It’s a word-accolade by the New York Times!) Postage Stamp, Brass Figlagee, Shepherd’s Cube (Rubik, put this on your cube and twirl it): all for the love of Shep.
DEE SNIDER & TWISTED SISTER Pulled up in his black Hummer and talked in my Shep-Shrine for three hours.
BOBBLEHEAD Not really a celebrity until one has one’s personal bobblehead. Queen Elizabeth has her own. Shepherd has one too.
LEIGH BROWN ? encounter only through her letters decades ago to her closest friend.
MARILYN MONROE SEPT 1, 2016
LOIS NETTLETON (Gifting—Grab Bag