Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dancing and Dirndls

[Sunday Scribblings prompted us to write about "dance."]

My dad was a great dancer. I don't mean that he was paid to dance or that it was his profession or anything. No, I just mean that he was a really good dancer. I don't remember where he told me he learned to dance, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was at an Arthur Murray dance studio back when he lived in New York City.


I remember my dad and my mom getting dressed up to go out. I think the local Moose Club held dances back then. And occasionally someone rented the American Legion building for a dinner-dance.


My dad taught me how to dance. He first taught me the box step. Right-together, back-together, left-together, front-together. Eventually my feet remembered what to do without me watching them.


When I was tall enough that he didn’t have to bend over to dance with me, I learned to waltz. Not only did I learn to dance, I learned to follow. Dancing with my dad was so easy because he knew how to lead. His hand on my waist pulled me toward him, or didn't. As long as I stayed light on my feet, relaxed, he could subtly push-pull me with him until dancing was like floating across the floor.


We didn't have any special times we would dance. There was the occasional wedding, mostly. And then there was the Altamont Schuetzenfest. It was German culture festival held each fall in the next county over. My dad and brother wore leather lederhosen and my mom and I wore dirndls. There were brats to eat, and the grown-ups drank beer from small commemorative buckets.


And there was dancing. Polka dancing. A live band played polka music for hours, and I got to take my turn on the dance floor. With a big place like that, we could really fly. I loved it. Doing the polka was like skipping - it felt like I spent more time in the air than on my feet. I think I could polka with my brother or with some of the family friends, but it was best with my dad.

10 comments:

tumblewords said...

Oh, these are such happy and energetic memories! I so enjoyed reading this post...

sister AE said...

thanks, tumblewords!

Sherry said...

fond, happy memories of times past....somehow they seem even better when re-told than when first lived. Thanks for your encouragement to me as I start on this journey of scribbling!

Lucy said...

i just loved this story. Your dad sounds wonderful, At weddings I always tried to find 'that' dad and see if I could move in to have him swing me around! YOu brought me back to some fun times.
thanks!

sister AE said...

Hello, Sherry. Thanks, and you're very welcome.

sister AE said...

Hi, Lucy. My dad was a great guy and I miss him, but memories like these help me keep the best parts alive.

gautami tripathy said...

One thing my dad did not know. That was dancing.

Dance of Life

sister AE said...

Hi, Gautami.

LittleWing said...

what great memories ... and yes, there's nothin like a man who leads ...

sister AE said...

Thanks, LittleWing.