Today is my 19th birthday (shared with John Wayne, for all of you Western movie buffs), and that means several things are happening. This day signifies that I only have three years left before I ageout and can no longer be one of the members in uniform on the field. It's depressing. This is also means that tomorrow is the day that I will be boarding a plane headed to Santa Clara for the last time during the 2005 preseason. This day also brings back memories of when I first discovered the drum corps activity and all its ups and downs. In 2001, I thought that once you turned 21, it was your last year in the activity. Later on I discovered that if your birthday falls between June 1 and sometime during August, then you have the opportunity to march during the season that you turn 22. I have finished all of my shopping for tour. Now the task is to assemble all of my purchases into a suitcase and carry-on. Now as I prepare to finish this I'd like to present a few last thoughts. First off, like Paula and Lanah, I must give the warning that I may not be able to write every week. When I do write, it may not always be on Thursdays, so make sure you check DCI.org every day so that you don't miss anything. I must say that I do truly appreciate the fact that so many of you read this week after week. If you would like to meet me, all you have to do is find the Vanguard buses and semis and ask for Joe Smith. I would love to meet the people that read my articles. One thing I would like to strongly recommend for those not marching this summer: Send mail and packages to those you know that are on tour. Mail drop days are something that all members look forward to. It is a disappointing feeling for those who don't receive anything on mail drop days. I can personally attest to this because combining both years I have marched I have only received one letter. Sending mail to a marching member is extremely easy. Corps should supply the address of where to send your mail so that it can make it to the member of your choice. Then just package the items, or letter and send it via U.S. mail. Members will appreciate it no matter how big or small it is -- it's truly the thought that counts. Good luck to those members moving out for the summer soon. I'll see you on the road, and as a song I recently heard said "The road never stops, and the party never ends". Have fun and I'll see you on the field.
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