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Dear Mr. Cotter, by Julie Howdeshell

posted Jul 22, 2012, 7:19 AM by Largo Gold

Dear Mr. Cotter, When you thought I wasn't looking.......I saw you hug a band mate, and I knew despite the yelling and foot-stomping when our music was less than par, you did care about us. And we could share our thoughts with you and you would listen with sincerity.

Dear Mr. Cotter, When you thought I wasn't looking...I saw your grief when a band mate lost a loved one. I learned you shared our hurts as well as our victories. And we should as well.

Dear Mr. Cotter, When you thought I wasn't looking, I'd watch you straighten your tie and adjust your coat before you went out of the bandroom, and I learned you wanted us to take pride in our appearance as well.

Dear Mr. Cotter, When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw your head bent over, sad and lost in thought, because we came in second place for the first time ever in a competition, then in a moment you were the Boss again, shouting encouragement and reminding us the next time we would win, but we had to work harder. I learned not to collapse during the hard times, but drive myself to do better at the next opportunity. We were still Champions in your heart.

Dear Mr. Cotter, When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you bend your head to kiss your wife, and knew, that marriage was meant forever, and that when I got older, no matter how old, affection and love would still be there for me and my spouse.

Dear Mr. Cotter, When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you scold and yell at a band mate who was floundering at their marching, and I saw them strive harder and practice harder and you smile when they got it right!

Dear Mr. Cotter, When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you help students who had no money for instrument rentals, and I learned you must have charity in your heart. Everyone has the right to participate, learn, and express themselves.

Dear Mr. Cotter, When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you be caring yet hard, loving yet strict, helping others who needed help, and that it went far beyond your job as a Band Director. I saw you were so tough because you knew what was inside of each and everyone of us. And you knew how to bring it out, keep it out, and keep it going.

And, Mr. Cotter When "I" thought you were not saw me and my brother not speaking for three days. You actually noticed this and it will forever be in my heart that you knew, that you noticed a brother and sister who were always together, always close, had not spoken to each other in THREE days. You knew how long this had been going on. You had been aware of our conflict, aware of a problem that no one else knew. Only you. And it broke your heart. You called us into your office and asked why we had not spoken in three days. We had an argument, and you made us realize, the argument was unimportant, that the bond between us was. That nothing was too big to come between a brother and sister, and you ordered us to hug. I have always felt so deeply honored that you and you alone, noticed and cared enough to stop a stupid fight and bring us back together. I will always be grateful and thankful to you Boss.....I watched you, I learned how to make it through this life from you, and I can look back with no regrets. It did not matter if we won or lost, just that we did our job to our best capability and we tried. Something I instilled in my children, as I think all we band members did. It runs in our veins, to remember the words you spoke. Out of the entire staff at LargoHigh School, alot of us felt you were the only teacher who really cared. The others did their jobs and graded papers. You taught morals and lessons for life and you were the only teacher who cared that much. I Thank God we crossed paths, and your life touched mine. I know you are in Heaven, yelling at Gabriel that he is a panty-waist cream puff and if he is to play that trumpet on Judgment day, he better practice his rump off!