At the moment, I am writing this on my phone from the back of Breakers Jazz, one of the bands I play drums in. We are outside at the Rockport Masonic Lodge, where it’s been sprinkling off and on.

I am slated to play seven songs with the group on a drum set that is not mine. Until that happens, I must sit in the back of the group quietly and… do nothing. So I am working on this.

Because it was raining a bit, I grabbed a towel and an umbrella from my car to keep my chair and my music dry.

Since the weather gods have a sense of humor, the first song we played was, of course, “Blue Skies.” We also performed “Sunny.” There are no blue skies at this show, and it is certainly not sunny.

It does appear to have stopped raining, which is fantastic, because we do have a pretty good crowd.

I have performed at the Rockport Masonic Lodge every summer for years now for their music on the lawn series. Some years, it rains and we go inside, but most years it is at least nice enough to play outside.

This is one of my favorite shows to play because after they always feed us burgers, hot dogs and ice cream sandwiches.

There are currently five songs until I play.

The store where I work on the weekends finally decided to reinstate the mask mandate for employees, though customers are still not required.

We got the text the other day that everyone must now wear them, regardless of vaccine status.

I am not surprised, as this discussion has been ongoing. I was enjoying the ability to be unmasked, but sadly we now took a few steps backwards it appears.

I wrote before that I was still going to wear my mask. Well, then the CDC came out with more and more guidance that it was safe for vaccinated folks to go without, and so I did. I will miss my bare face, but such is life.

So, as another Knox County columnist wrote, here we go again.

Three more songs until I play.

I am an adequate drummer. I am certainly no superstar talent, but I am also no novice. I have a very strong grasp on what is known as drum rudiments, and a fantastic sense of rhythm.

I am excellent at playing complex drum parts like “Bollero.” If you think you are not familiar with that song, think again. You have probably heard it on commercials or cartoons. “The Simpsons” has a cover of it as well.

I can keep a beat going on the drum set, and get my arms and legs going at the correct time. I can read percussion music, though I cannot read other sheet music.

I took piano lessons a long time ago, and I can still remember some things. Like “Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge.” That is a mnemonic device for remembering which notes go where.

Where I really struggle with percussion is being creative. Thankfully most music is written down and I do not need to make any of it up.

Sometimes, though… sometimes a piece of drum music will be blank or read “drum solo” or “drum fill.” That is when my mind goes completely blank, and I forget how to play anything.

Give me a complex, written piece of percussion music and I can play it. Tell me to “go crazy” and… nothing.

Thankfully, I am pretty sure the conductor, who has been teaching me music since I was in fifth grade, figured this out by now.

I play the drums like a crazy octopus, with arms and legs going everywhere. I am a crazy octopus in control, though.

Ok, I am up. Wish me luck!

Author’s note: I did play a successful show at the Rockport Masonic Lodge. The rain held off for the entire program.

After the show, I had a delicious cheeseburger that was so much better than any burger I have had in a long time.

And, of course, an ice cream sandwich.

Christine Simmonds is the assistant editor of The Courier-Gazette. She also works at a convenience store on the weekends, and plays percussion in a community band. She has lived in Knox County most of her life.