Sonny's Favorite Story

Whenever Sonny and I was smoking and joking and telling stories, and especially if there was anyone new in the room, Sonny would yell, "Scotty! Tell the one about the elephants!"

"Sonny, you've heard that story a million times!"

"Yeah. But THEY haven't!"

OK, well, just for you...

So, I'm almost 14 years old and almost 5 feet tall, playing for the first time in the high school marching band. I had played French Horn in junior high, so I was given a valve trombone, which is similar, but easier to march with because it has a big-ass mouthpiece. But you have to hold it up like a huge trumpet. And it's like 4 feet long, and I'm like 5 feet tall, and we're supposed to march like 6 feet apart. The odds did not look good. But it was fun to march around in a uniform and make a lot of noise.

At the second rehearsal - Big News! We are invited to be in The Milwaukee Fourth of July Circus Parade! That means bus trip to Milwaukee (90 miles), stand around for hours in the 95 degree heat*, wearing a wool uniform (made for football weather), and then march in a parade for a mile and a half.

(If someone asked us to do that today, we'd be like, "How much we getting paid? What?! Oh no! You gotta be kidding!")

Finally we are called to get into formation. We are #96 in the parade, right behind the elephants.

So I'm marching along, trying to see around my big horn and my big helmet......

Have you ever seen an elephant pie? They are huge! These steaming mounds are like 3 feet tall and like 4 feet wide! And I'm like 5 feet, and my horn's like 4 feet......

So our parade formation ebbed and flowed around these huge steaming mounds, as we mangled "Stars And Stripes Forever". Finally, after what seemed like hours, the end of the parade was in sight! And as I marched around the last gigantic elephant pie, I glanced down at it. And there, stuck in the middle, was a shoe.

And then Sonny would fall out of his chair, laughing. Every single time.

*Fortunately, this was before the Heat Index was invented. So it was simply 95 degrees.