"...And the home of the brave!" Except there are no words... it's just the last bar of the national anthem being belted out by a trumpeter standing on our front lawn. Melvin meanders into our side of the 19th Ward several times weekly. His favorite approach is to dress in his full Empire Statesmen garb -- a bright red velvet and polyester marching band uniform trimmed with gold cord and tassels, tucked at the ankle with spats and topped with a sky-high scarlet hat shaped like brand new lipstick in a tube.
He plays his final note, lets it ring, and remains in stance before slowly lowering the brassy trumpet from his lips. This is how we know it's time to come outside and hang out.
Melvin has since left the 19th Ward and traded the marching band get up for Calvin Klein. I look at this picture and think... I grew up with this kid!