Bugle: (n) a brass instrument like a small trumpet, typically without valves

The reason “silence is golden” is that talking ends up costing you so much that you can go bankrupt.

I learned this as a young boy when I went to church camp. I had just begun playing trumpet in the junior high band and had miracuDictionary Blously won first chair, so was over-confident and convinced I was some sort of great trumpet player. (I could mention names but since they’re all dead and gone, you would not remember them anyway.)

Arriving at church camp, one of the counselors pulled an old bugle out of a closet. It was once used at the facility to awaken the camp to the morning Reveille.

He thought it would be rather clever to continue the tradition, and when he asked if anyone played the bugle, my hand shot straight up in the air and I volunteered. Actually I volunteered for two separate missions: 1) being the first one to wake up in the morning, and 2) playing a horn which has no valves and therefore demands that your mouth provide the impetus for pitch.

I had never played a bugle.

So I went off to a wooded section of the camp, far from everybody, and attempted to blow it. I don’t know if it was just that the instrument was old and dented, or if bugles are secretly implements of torture, but it took everything I had to get a sound out of it, and felt like I had deposited my lung into the mechanism.

That night at vespers, the counselor announced that I would be playing bugle in the morning to wake everyone up.

And wake them up I did.

But it did not sound like the traditional tune but rather, the mating call of the Canadian goose. Let me add this detail–the Canadian goose if he had been wounded by buckshot.

The first day everyone encouraged me and said it was delightful.

The second day, no one said anything to me.

The third day, I began to get a series of frowns and a couple of nasty notes on my bunk pillow.

And amazingly, when I rose on the fourth morning, the bugle was missing.

We searched the entire campgrounds diligently–or at least it appeared we did–and the bugle was never found.

Everyone acted disappointed.

I don’t think they were.

I actually thought, on Day 3, that at one point I played a note.

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