Despite what Mrs. Stothart thinks, I didn’t join the choir just to sing. As I have told my friends repeatedly, the major reason for joining and suffering through untold practices was so I could get down to Florida and have some serious fun. Mind you, I did try to find another way, but peer pressure soon got too much and I gave in. It was fun (sometimes), and we had a few laughs. But I had ulterior motives.
Before I continue, I should quickly describe the people I spent most of time with while I was in Florida. First of all, there was the group to which I was a grateful member, ours was a group with no name, it was "there". In this group were the following people (in alphabetical order):
Linda is an interesting person to try and describe. She stood about five foot five, blond hair, figure from hell. Besides that, she was plain weird. Oh, she also had this thing about James Dean, and motorcycles. I could say a few other things (believe me, I would too) except that they would not only be unfitting for this story, but may result in the loss of certain vital organs from my body.
(Hilary) Hil was another strange person, mind you I think she had always been that way. Hil stood into the six foot range (barely), and had the figure of (sorry, but this is the only thing that comes close) a pencil, but with womanly curves in the proper places (hopefully this won’t get me killed!).
James was the boyfriend of Linda, and was also blond (hmm, forming a master race?) and only a little weird. Having spent a couple years on the swim team and continuing on into lifeguarding (as did Linda), James had by far the best defined body of any of the "men" on the trip.
Therese was the most diminutive person in our little group, about an inch or two shorter than Linda. Periodically someone might make fun of her about that, but not often. First of all its not nice; secondly, it really doesn’t matter how big a person you are. It’s the size inside that counts (GOD! Gag me with an atom bomb, that sounds corny!) If you could measure her inside, Therese would be pushing ten feet, at least!
Chris was almost a spiritual brother with me. For starters, we shared the same birthday (July 16th, 1972); and the same ideas on some subjects (it always freaked me out when that happened). The only black person on the trip (I’m pretty sure of that), he stood out fairly easily (except in the dark, when he was a pain in the ass to find). Chris had a couple screws loose, his mind was really off the air. Incidentally, by the end of the trip, Chris and I were the only single men left in our group.
(Alison) Ali was virtually the same size as Linda, and was an accomplished flautist (she’s damn good too!). And like the rest of the women who’ve been explained, she also was a little out of normal. Unlike the rest of the women though, Ali was much quieter, she usually kept to herself (unless she was with J, her boyfriend).
Stuart was Therese’s boyfriend, and a good friend of mine. He was the only person who needed glasses that wore contacts whenever possible (J had contacts, but didn’t use them anymore). This guy was definitely loopy, and a good artist.
(Jason) J was the quietest guy, usually. As I mentioned, he was also Ali’s boyfriend. J is hard to explain, I don’t even think God knows exactly what he was. Tell ya what, read on, you figure him out for yourself!
Kathryn was the only single woman by the end of our trip (in our group), but I think there were underlying reasons for that. When Kathryn wore sunglasses, you’d swear you were looking at Meryl Streep as a teenager, it was kinda creepy when you first met her, but you do get used to it.
Lastly (and leastly) was me, The Observer. Actually, I’m known as Geoff Sowrey, but I’d answer to several names. I’ll try to explain myself (I’m partially schizoid, so at least one of me knows what I’m like). There were two distinct Geoffs: one crazy, one solemn. The crazy one I dubbed the Loonatic (yes, LOON is correct – I’m into waterfowl). I liked this particular self because of the strangeness that he exhibited. The other self was usually in a state of semi-depression. I have no name for this self, ’cause I didn’t like him that much. But all of me, to the core, was a Trekkie, and lovin’ it!
Then there were the people that I hung around with periodically during the trip. There was Karl , Geoff B, Neil (I knew him even before coming to Oakville Trafalgar High School), Kara (Geoff’s girlfriend), Ali , Emily , and well, almost half of the rest of the group in Florida. Being cooped up in one area can be suffocating after a while, it helps to spread out once in a while.
Our trip was almost thrown into jeopardy at one point in the early days of 1991, when the Allied Coalition made their attack on Iraq. The school board panicked (big surprise there!), and debated whether or not to cancel out of country trips. Outside of North America trips were cut, but those within were not. Hussein or no Hussein, we were still goin’ south!
Practices continued right through to March Break on a normal schedule. Then they began to get screwy. We didn’t have any practices during the break, resuming when we returned. The first week the practices for choir were normal, Tuesday and Friday mornings at 8:00. The week before we left saw Tuesday and Thursday, Friday was Good Friday (in more ways than one). We would not be returning to OTHS until ten days later.
The general idea behind this trip was the Heritage Music Festival, at least that’s what were told it was called. It’s actual name was the Orange Blossom Festival (I liked the first one better). If it weren’t for that festival, under either name, we would not have gone.
But, what’s done is done, I don’t think the management of the Days Inn that we stayed at will forget us any time soon (there were enough complaints about the noise), nor will Dick, the totally righteous bus driver. On with the story...