Unless you’re a Baptist, I’m sure you’ve been to a number of dances. Before that first sentence gets problematic, I guess I’d better explain. When I was in the Navy, mid-1960s, many of my friends who were Baptist didn’t go to dances other than to listen to the music. I was given a reason by one of those friends why he was not allowed to dance that can’t be explained here without the editor nixing what I write. But if that church has liberalized rules, which parts of it have, and parts have not, good for the liberals. Dancing can be fun without it being thought of as having sex standing up.
Growing up Catholic, like I did, we were allowed to dance, but couldn’t eat meat on Friday, a rule that has since hit the ash bin. Which is fortunate because I knew a lot of adults, including a lot of my relatives, who ignored the rule while insisting their kids adhere to it. Which one of those groups goes to Heaven and which to Hell is up to the big guy in the sky. I think HE is partial to fish.
In the early to mid-sixties when I was growing up there were many small towns with dance halls, but the really good ones were on some backroads out in the country. The ones I went to were, The New Munich Colosseum, Diamond Point, Pelican Lake and the Lakeside Ballrooms.
In that era many nationally known groups played at small venues to supplement their recording incomes. Some that I have seen at the above-mentioned establishments included Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison (who once gave me a five-dollar tip at the restaurant where I worked), The Trashmen, and Conway Twitty. These performers drew in the younger crowds, usually on a Friday or Saturday night.
Sunday nights were reserved for Old-Time and/or Polka music for the geriatric set. I only listened to the ump-pah-pah and goat rider (country-western) stuff if I was invited to a wedding. I just have a hard time getting my mind around the idea that an accordion is a musical instrument and not someone’s idea of a torture device. An ample amount of beer is required to dance a polka and I wasn’t old enough to drink. Legally.
I liked to dance when I was young. My mother taught me the steps to the Waltz, Foxtrot, Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing and several others, all of which I’ve forgotten or buried so far back in my memory that I’ll never find them. Mom loved to dance.
High school brought mixers where the boys and girls of a specific grade, usually just ninth and tenth, were able to dance in the gymnasium to such inane dances as the Bunny Hop and Square Dancing. Whoopie? Since that was boring, it was much easier to go to the dances at the ballroom where dancing was fun.
Unfortunately, I was short for my age and often had a hard time getting a dancing partner. This was especially true when it came to slow dances since my head was dead level with a girl’s, real or not, bust. So, I was a wallflower, well more like a wall-thistle, and that chafed at my ego a bit. There was a girl whose nickname was “Tall-Timber” who was slender, tall, and unbeautiful but loved to dance. She wasn’t asked all that often to dance by boys mainly because her hair could get tangled in the decorations hanging from the ballroom ceiling. She would peel me off my spot hugging the wall and lead me out to the dance floor. My nose and her navel were at the same level, but she was fun to dance with and we are still acquainted, but only slightly so.
A girl, who I had a crush on was always dancing with the athletes and popular boys but one night I cranked up the courage to ask her to dance. Stunned silence surrounded us for a moment before she finally said, “I’m rather particular with whom I dance.” I wasn’t shocked at that reply since I had expected some snide remark from miss hoity-toity. I’m sure she nor her bevy of snobby friends appreciated my reply. “I’m not particular with whom I dance or I sure as hell never would have asked you.”
Arian is a short story contributor to the Sentinel & Rural News. Arian has written two full-length thrillers which have received critical and popular acclaim. Arian lives in Bruce, WI, with his charming wife, Arlene.Profile
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