I had a great time standing in the rain on the morning of July 4th and listening to the sounds of the Blooming Prairie High School Jazz band perform under the direction of Ross Reishus. My dad explained that since the BPHS band is so small, my brother never really knows which instrument or part he may end up playing.
After the concert, we went into the school to dry off. My family was amused by the list taped up in the band room. It was entitled, “You might be a band geek.” The best part, is that over the past year, the list has grown as the students add to it.
In the afternoon, the rain cleared, and we watched my brother’s students march in the parade. They wore tee shirts that say “If you need some excitement…Go play in the street.”
When the parade was over, a rock band of graduates of BPHS performed. They have been writing their own songs since high school. During their performance they acknowledged the guidance Mr. Reishus provided them. (I was not there at that moment, but I was told later.)
That’s when it hit me. My brother has touched so many lives.
My brother turns 43 this week. He has two beautiful, dear step-children, but not any children of his own. However, he has helped raise many children.
I was part of the first generation raised by Ross. He was the activities director in our home. He did puppet shows. Would draw “maps” to drive the Matchbox cars on. He could turn a card board box into the cockpit of a Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper with scissors, tape and markers. And, no surprise, he made us musical instruments out of construction paper and household items so we could “play” and lip sync to our records. Four Reishus kids, four Monkees… you do the math.
Ross is a born teacher, and I am glad he followed his calling. People read what I write most weeks, but soon toss it in the recycling bin. What my brother does stays with his students for life.