Becky Novac, an alum of the Bluecoats' color guard, will be contributing a column to DCI.org every Thursday. This is her seventh installment. Unfortunately, I have to walk through Times Square to get home from work. Not that I mind walking but sometimes Times Square gets so busy with tourists that my walk home is slowed down because of random people stopping to take pictures of tall buildings. I don't mind the walk as much when I hear the beat of a plastic paint can, a bike rack, and other various metal trash scraps. At the Gap in Times Square one, sometimes two, men play various objects creating some sort of music that I could never attempt to play.
I love walking past the small crowd that gathers around the plastic beats. I know I get the biggest grin and probably look completely ridiculous but it's just a small reminder of my friends and I really think the music is cool. They kind of remind me of "Stomp" but on a much smaller scale. I had a "use or loose" paid day off from work to use before the new year, so I decided to take last Thursday off and wander around New York, get my haircut, and attempt to start and finish my Christmas shopping. I think I wandered around almost every area of Manhattan. I ended up at Tiffany's because I needed to get my necklace fixed. Somehow I got two knots in the chain that I could not get out. I had to take the elevator to the sixth floor for customer service. I got on the elevator and was pleasantly surprised to find an employee, who pushed the elevator buttons and with each stopped named what was on that floor, "Third Floor -- engagement rings, Tiffany's diamonds, going up." That was his job. I went out with a friend on Friday night and we parked the in a garage. Upon our return, the valet opened and shut my door for me. Plastic drum beats, Tiffany's elevator operator, and the parking garage valet are all little things but they really made my day. I think it's the small things that get you through the day. I can't remember where we were but it was hot, really hot and the flag line was absolutely exhausted. We were running a chunk where the flag line ran five yard lines or more over in about 16 counts, the reps wouldn't stop. It felt like a non-stop run. Out of nowhere I remember our tech Joe started running back and forth with us. Back and forth over and over again, he didn't have to but it really helped me get through. Our volunteer coordinator, Genevieve, needed help with snack one night. We were having nachos. I asked her if she needed help and she said actually it goes by faster if someone serves the cheese. My drum major Casey and I grabbed ladles and started dishing out the nacho cheese. "Hot girls serving hot cheese!" was our motto. Snack went by faster and we got extra nachos. My friend Ben, drum major of the Madison Scouts, and I met up after a show to hang out. Madison had ice cream sundaes, one of my favorite foods, for snack. I wish I could have ice cream every day. He let me have a bite of his and I helped myself to a few more bites. Eventually, when Madison's snack was over, Ben told me to come with him. Next thing I knew I had a chocolate ice cream sundae with whipped cream and vanilla cake all to myself. That ice cream sundae probably made my week. Whether it's a plastic drumbeats, an elevator employee, or an ice cream sundae, eventually all the little things add up. I know that for me they make up the bigger picture. In fact, I probably remember all the little things better than I do the whole picture. The little things mean a lot more to me than anything else. The little things define the moment. Everyone I marched with had a finals performance, but each of us can tell you a different little thing that made the night special. I have no idea what happened in the back of the block when our score was announced. I don't need to know what happened because that's for the drum line to remember as one of their little things. The people I have come across each summer leave a little memory that I always remember. Joe Kempf, a Crossmen alum and former Reading Buccaneers Drum Major, passed away recently. I was in complete shock when I read about Joe. He was my drum major in 1999 with Reading and we often had small talk after shows once we both started marching junior corps. Joe's conversation with me will always be a little thing that made up the whole of my drum corps career. It's unfortunate that we will never have the small talk again. He was a genuinely all-around nice guy, always smiling and always willing to just say hey. I hope this holiday season we all take the time to remember the little things that surround us. Later on, when we look back on all the little things I hope a sense of joy comes to us all. Becky Novac currently lives in Hoboken, N.J., and works for Universal McCann in New York City as an assistant media planner. She is 22 years old and a recent graduate from Penn State University where she majored in journalism and psychology. Becky marched with the Bluecoats in 2000, 2002 and 2004 as a member of the color guard. Past columns by Becky Novac: A Rock star Remembering the passion Banquet weekend Missing out Unknown suitcase adventures The Even years