Here's an MP3 of Emily phoning her thank-you column in. It's a little tough to understand (cell phone to speaker phone to MP3 recorder), but if CNN can use those crude videophones, we can post this. Dear mom and dad, I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for supporting me in this activity. Thank you for not saying "No" this first time I said, "I want to march drum corps." Thank you for helping me with school so I don't have to work during the summer. And thank you for paying my tour fees so I don't have to work during the year.

Emily Tannert
Thank you for understanding when I go to camp over Thanksgiving instead of coming home, thank you for understanding when I miss all those family dinners on Sunday afternoons so I could spend another hour in the practice room. Thank you for sitting down to watch all those drum corps videos with me. I know you still don't get it, and it means the world to me that you try. Thank you for coming to see me perform – nothing makes my show more than looking up and seeing you cheer for me. Thank you for giving up your time to help my corps out. Thanks for coming to camp with me to clean uniforms, and for spending your summer vacation making four meals a day for 135 ravenous teen-agers. Thank you for driving the truck, volunteering for Bingo, and selling souvenirs. Thank you for knowing that I'm not eating enough, that I'm not getting enough sleep, or that I'm not taking care of my injuries. And thank you even more for keeping your concerns to yourself. I see the hurt in your eyes when you see the cuts and bruises, but I appreciate that you trust me enough to be grown-up enough to deal with it myself. Thank you for letting me go away for three months without you there. Thank you for trusting me to do the right thing when I'm on my own, and for believing that it will make me a better person. And than you for taking care of everything while I'm gone. Thank you for all the calls you've given me at camp, sent me cookies, took pictures of me in my uniform, bought me drumsticks, cheered me on and encouraged me when I was down. I couldn't have gotten where I am without you behind me, and while I could spend hours and pages trying to list all of the things I need to thank you for, it all comes down to this: Thank you for letting me live my dream. Send Emily feedback and ideas at Emily Tannert is currently living in Knoxville, Tenn., taking a year off from school before she returns to Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., for a master's degree. She was the 2002 drum major for the Pioneer, and will play in the 2003 Glassmen pit. She will age out in 2003. The Etude archives