Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I love to dance.  I'm not half bad, but I'm never taking home that coveted disco ball to be given away soon on Dancing With The Stars. First off, I'm not a star. Second off, I'm only not half bad.  I just like it.

When I was 4, our small town held a square dance on main street.  A mother with a little boy took her son around and asked mothers of little girls if their daughter would like to dance. Many a little girl before me shyly, but vehemently shook her head 'NO.' I tugged on my mother's arm and whispered "If they get to me, I WANNA DANCE."  They did get to me and dance I did. We didn't know what we were doing, so we watched as long as we could stand it and then we just started moving our arms and legs wildly in a sincere imitation of the real thing. It must have been quite impressive because the whole town stopped dancing to watch us and at the end of the song they did applaud. I love applause.

The next time I got to dance was when our maid took me to church with her. It was a small, white clapboard building next to a river, but they did have an organ and a large choir. When the music started, the congregation did not think twice about getting up, singing loud, and dancing in the aisles.  I didn't think twice about joining them.  At one point, the preacher came up to me and asked "Do you feel the power of Jesus?"  Huh?  "I don't know" I said.   "Well, do you feel like singing?" he asked.  "Yep." I said.  "Do you feel like dancing?" he asked.  "Oh, YES." I said.  "Do you feel happy?" he asked.  "Yes." I said.  "Then you feel the power of Jesus."  Yeehaw.  I liked the way this felt.

In college I took every dance class I could for the PE credits. Square dancing, modern dancing, ballroom dancing, tap dancing. I didn't do that well at tap dancing. Our recital was quite a hit though. We brought the house down. There were about 10 of us in our group, all there to dance to "If I only had a brain." It might have been very good if we had ever actually gotten together to choreograph it. It might have been even better if we had ever actually met to rehearse it. But we didn't. As a last minute hope to stave off total humiliation, we decided (I think I actually suggested this) to put grocery bags over our heads so no one would know who we really were. This made it much harder to see what our feet were doing, so all of us were constantly tearing at the little eye holes while our feet flapped in 20 different directions, none of which were even in sinq with the beat of the song. Arms flailed and flapped against neighbor. Feet flailed and kicked nearby shins. I think somebody actually fell off the stage.

The audience howled. They laughed. They laughed some more.  They kept laughing. I remember managing to get out one of the side doors and falling onto the lawn in gasps of howling laughter of my own. I think it took about a half hour for things to settle down. It was, I'm sure, the absolute worst tap dance recital performance in the history of the world. But as entertainment value goes - the audience laughed their butts off.  I'm still laughing.

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