Tales from the Quarantine: Week 10

I’m Joe Henry, the new organist/choir master. I grew up in the natural beauty of Northern Minnesota, thirty miles from the source of the Mississippi river. (As far as I’m concerned ya’ll have accents!) At this point in life, I’ve lived all over the place – Ohio, New Jersey, California, Wisconsin, Louisiana, South Korea, and Romania. Now I’m happy to be living in Texas! The DFW Metroplex is exciting and huge!

I’ve been in the army, army reserve or army national guard for over twenty years, and military service has been both challenging and rewarding for me. The challenges involved in being on a cohesive team with people from different backgrounds, abilities, and ways of doing things; and yes, the rewards of being on a cohesive team with people of different backgrounds, abilities and ways of doing things. As an initial recruit, I entered basic training after spending seven years at an uppity, almost exclusively white music conservatory in Ohio (the Cleveland Institute of Music), and now black people, white people and hispanics – the real diversity of America – were among my closest friends. Only those who have been through basic combat training know the special bond that develops between trainees.

Duty in the uniformed services not only means that one wears the same clothes that everyone else is wearing, it also means that one wears these clothes in exactly the same way. This not only applies to clothing, but also to facial hair. Beards are not authorized. So at the beginning of the quarantine, as I became more reclusive, and as my ETS (expiration term of service) approached, one day of not shaving lengthened into two and then three days of not shaving. I decided to grow a beard! It was fun, but short lived; I’m not completely done with the uniform just yet.

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