DANCE FEVER

(Written 9/17/17)

One Year Ago

DANCE FEVER

When I was in fifth grade, Mrs. Carnes’ class at Caldwell, we had square dance day on Wednesdays.

I can’t say I looked forward to it.

My friend, Lester, and I had learned the manual alphabet after Mrs. Carnes had read Helen Keller to us.

“D-Day” Lester finger spelled across the room.

“I know” I signed back.

“Randy, you and Lester, stop talking.” Mrs Carnes didn’t miss a thing.

The pairings of partners was random.

Sometimes that didn’t turn out so well.

But, every once in a while, I was paired with Jeanna Yeager (who later in life actually flew with the legendary Dick Rutan in the first non-stop,

non-refueled flight around the world in the Rutan Voyager. She was not related to Chuck Yeager.)

In the fifth grade, she was quiet, gentle, and did not lead in dance.

And she was a little shorter than I was.

You don’t have to be in love to be a good dance partner.

Years later, I read her story in Smithsonian magazine.

She didn’t mention me.

The next year, my mom decided I needed to learn ballroom dance.

Monday nights for two months, she would take me to the Garland Community Center Annex where Phyllis Clopton taught us the box step, fox trot, and others.

I had a partner who was quiet, gentle and did not try to lead. I think her name was Linda.

“Don’t sway,” Mrs. Clopton would tell us as she walked around the room, adjusting our posture.

At the end of the two months, we were to have a party, a dance. We were supposed to bring a “guest.”

At my house, we had one phone, in the hallway between the bathroom door and my parents’ bedroom.

It had a four foot cord, and would just barely reach into the bathroom.

I found Anita’s number. (I watched her constantly in class. She loved another.)

“Uhhhmmm, I’m in this dance class and we’re having a party. Can you go with me?” I was sweating now.

Anita sweetly responded, “I don’t think I can.”

“OK. Bye.” I hung up.

I went to the party alone.

So did Linda.

We danced together.

She was quiet, gentle, and didn’t try to lead.

Now, I like to watch So You Think You Can Dance!

Sorry, I don’t think I can.

Journal • Sunday, Sep 17, 2017, 4:11 PM CDT • 189 E Blackbourn St, Hawkins, TX, United States • 90°F Mostly Cloudy

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