It was a moonlit summer evening, a dance in the town park.
We paid our five dollars, ate our barbecue sandwich, and as the wrestling team waited on us, the High Rollers sang.
It was a night to remember.
We settled into our lawn chairs listening as the band played “Cotton Eyed Joe” and “Mustang Sally.”
The crowd flocked to the dance floor, a grassy patch, and they began to move to the music. I couldn’t help but notice Ron Gustafson. He was one of the first out on the grass. He grabbed a little cutie and began dancing. I saw John Travolta emerge like “Saturday Night Fever”. We all looked on in disbelief. Surely he would collapse after that dance. But, no! He grabbed another young lady and twirled her around and around. Where did this man learn to dance? He had caught the fever.
I reached over to my sweet Al and said, “Honey, look at Ron. We need to learn how to dance like that. My mind was starting to tap. Why hadn’t we taken advantage of all the dance classes this last winter? They advertised them weekly in the newspaper. A line dance started up, I wanted to join in, but I didn’t dare!
As a few young cowboys 2-stepped by, I leaned over and asked my daughter. “Where did they learn that?”
She said, “Coach Candelaria teaches dancing to all the seventh- and eighth-grade PE classes.” She pointed him out, “That’s him now throwing his wife up in the air.”In the meantime he did another twirl-twist and up his wife flew again.
“I am impressed.”
So, I turned to Al, “Let’s dance. Everyone is dancing.”
Al replied, “I’m not a good dancer. You know my good leg is two inches shorter than the other.”
“You know I don’t pay any attention to that. We need to get out there and dance.”
Al stalled, “I will when there are others on the dance floor. I don’t want anyone watching me.”
“Al, nobody cares how you dance.”
“Maybe they will play Nat King Cole or Stardust.”
“The High Rollers are not going to play Stardust. That’s the music of the fifties.”
“When they play a slow one, then I will dance with you,” he says with a wink.
I waited patiently through many fast songs and a few cake auctions. We watched as a family all in matching plaid Bermuda shorts were whooping it up all over the place. By now, the loud shorts, all the locals and even Ron was on the dance floor again, everyone except Al and I. (Later I learned the Bermuda shorts were driving through to California, saw the hoedown and stopped. They bought a home-made pie and danced their shorts off.)
Finally, the music slowed down and Al said, “Let’s dance.” He led me into the crowd of dancers. He twirled me around, and we began to dance.
Al is holding me tight and I’m looking into his eyes. I’m imagining I am dancing to “My Special Angel.” Memories from days gone by came over me. I was in love all over again.
Suddenly, Al dips; then he trips again and trips again. I’m abruptly brought back to reality.
“What’s up with this?”
“It’s the shoes.”
“What do you mean the shoes?”
This is a man who can’t say no to new shoes. He has twenty pairs of tennis shoes in his closet.
“My soles turned under and I tripped on them.”
“Al, what in the world, why would you wear these shoes with the soles flapping?”
“I glued them. They must have come unglued.”
About that time, I was becoming unglued. “Throw away those shoes when you get home.”
“OK, but they are good shoes. They just need to be glued again.”
The music continued to play and the conversation changed from days of love and memories to Al’s unglued shoes.
We continued dancing, my soul was no longer fluttering but Al’s soles were still flapping.
When we arrived home, I said, “Give me those shoes.”
“No, they are still good. I will wear them out in the yard.”
Do you know how hard it is to pull a pair of shoes out of the hands of a man who has a shoe fetish? Almost impossible!
He proceeded to get Shoo-Goo Glue from the drawer. The shoes are back in his closet. I’m waiting for the right time, when he is gone. Those shoes will soon be gone, too. Maybe I should appreciate Al’s soul like he appreciates a good pair of soles? Well we both need lessons….
Final brushstroke: Dancing is like moving as one to the music that moves your souls or soles, whichever the case might be.
“Feelings of worth flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible .... the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.” — Virginia Satir.
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See my work on http://bettysladeartistlandscapes.blogspot.com and read other articles from the Artist’s Lane on http://bettyslade.blogspot.com. Coming shortly, The Mysterious Life of Mary Magdalene.