When the two corps members biked to the city with a pocket full of money to purchase musical instruments, the salesman noticing their intent to buy several instruments, offered them an over-sized drum for a fraction of the original cost. It had not been the corps members intend to buy a drum at this time but they realized that a drum did belong to a fanfare corps as theirs, so they were talked in buying it.
After they had delivered their prizes they were at a loss what to do with the large boom boom drum, since they could not find anybody to play it mainly because it needed two persons to operate it into a parade as the one they were rehearsing for, one to apply the mallets making the boom booming, and one to pull the wheeled drum-carriage.
Ordinarily a drum is carried by the drummer by lashing the instrument to his front, so that he has his hands free to administer the mallets on both sides to the drum, and because it was over-sized it was feared to heavy to carry and because of its size might drag to the ground.
The corps members eyed the big drum from all sides trying to visualize how to operate it, forgetting that they had come together to rehears the new march, because they realized that they had a cheap music instrument alright but that a lot of important parts were missing. There was no carriage, no mallets, no straps, and most importantly, no drummer and no one willing to pull the drum-carriage, if they had one.
Since there was no carriage, how were they going to transport the thing, ride it piggyback onto the rear of the hay wagon filled with kids from the public school, as one suggested.
Uh, uh, cautioned the rest, there were limits that were not to be crossed and that was definitely one of them. No self respecting gereformeerd man would steep that low to be riding on a public school bandwagon.
That was not even worth discussing but what than?
They were out of money to buy a carriage and - they still had no drummer.
Hulbe, remember Hulbe, the big strong Hulbe, who prophesied that the two churches in Hijum would never cooperate with one another, he lifted the large drum up and was surprised of it's light weight. He put the thing gently down again and surprised everyone when he said
“I would be able to carry that thing in the parade, if Gosse (the tailor) makes a strap to fasten
the thing on my back. I'd see that rather than lower one of us to ride the public school wagon.”
That Hulbe, he could say things nobody would think of mentioning, but he was loyal to the cause alright. His papers went sky high in the Gereformeerde community as people would praise him long long after the coming public school event and say
“Rather than become an accomplished clarinet player he sacrificed himself to carry the large drum on his back, a man like that one can depend on.”
But they still had no drummer.
The chairman had an in-giving, which like the final piece in a jig-puzzle, could finalize the deal, as he carefully added
“I know a drummer who lives all the way in Gasterlan, but if we could get him over here while the public school has its parade, then our problem would be solved. I am very sure that if we reimburse him the bus costs we can get him.”
“So than you don't need me,” Hulbe said.
“You will see when and if he arrives that you are needed alright,” the chairman said.
Hijum owned only two telephones, one belonged to the policeman, the other to the mail man.
The chairman wrote a postcard to his brother in-law Johannes who was indeed a drummer in Gasterlan, inviting him to visit with his sister Jakopje, (whose name he again misspelled) and to honor the christian fanfare band of Hijum as its first drummer.
He left out particulars as who's parade it was for, fearing the wrath of his father-in law who by chance might read the invitation and my grandfather Leffert was super conservative.
Who was this drummer Johannes anyways.
I knew the household of my grandparents Leffert and Durkje Roelevink quite well as I spent several holidays with them in Hemelum, a village like Hijum were the members of the two churches though living side by side, had as little as possible contact with each other, other than at their death.
The gereformeerd churches did not have a cemetery around their church like the herformed church had and at their death the gereformeerd people returned home from where they had left a century ago, but in a coffin.
Siebe, the herformed bicycle repairman and grave-digger used to say about the gereformeerd
“In the end they all come back at the old church again, no matter how gereformeerd they are, and I make sure that they don't stray again.”
Uncle Johannes was quite short and also born with an abnormal curvature of the spine toward the neck which was called a high back, he had a roguish face that easily grinned or laughed and joked a lot. As kids we adored him because he was a great story teller about young characters getting into mischief or adventure, like climbing a continuous growing vine which would take them to the moon.
It was a joy to be with the family on my holidays and now father wrote him to come to our place which would bring lots of laughs in our house. I could hardly wait for him to arrive.
If only he'd come.
He did. He send a return postcard with a message that could not be miss-understood
“Dokkumer train arrives Hijum Tuesday 6 pm J R drummer hungry”