Orange Leaf, the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band, and Scotland

A good friend who is of Irish descent traveled to Ireland to march in the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin with the Purdue University “All-American” Marching Band. He was at the front of the parade as part of the Big Bass Drum crew. I watched the parade that Sunday morning before church on a computer in the Penn State grad office, videotaping it with one of the cameras I used for my video production class.

After the trip, I saw beautiful pictures on Facebook and the Purdue Band Fan website, and after I’d come back to Indiana for my job, I was able to catch up with my friend in June during a dessert run to Orange Leaf on Purdue’s campus. I asked him how he liked Ireland.

Eyes shining, he said, “I wanna go back.”

Then, he described houses that were four or five hundred years old and still served as homes, the welcoming pubs and beautiful landscapes.

As he talked, I smiled, listening, wondering when I’d be able to go to Ireland. When will I make it there? Or, even dearer to my heart, to Scotland?

Sitting there in Orange Leaf, savoring my frozen yogurt on a pleasantly warm night, the thought dashed from me as quickly as it had run to me.

A year later, my job wasn’t working out, and I needed to leave. It didn’t feel right to take a full-time job here in Indiana, and I started investigating the options of going overseas. This was something I had wanted to do right after I graduated from grad school: take a month to go over to Scotland and visit family and see the sites, a present to myself for making it through grad school. But that trip never happened because my job wanted me before I even finished my thesis and graduated in August. So I thought, the job will be my five-year plan, and then I’ll go.

Now, it looks like, just over two years since I heard about Ireland from an Irish friend, I will have that chance to go. I often wonder if I am talking too much about this opportunity, feeling like I’m going to jinx it.

I hope not.

The seed for my Scotland adventure was planted a long time ago, but the dream was watered, even if with just a few drops, at Orange Leaf over fro yo and talk of Ireland and the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band.

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