Sunday, January 25, 2015

Where did you learn to dance?

Some have been taught formal dancing. There were classes for proper young men and women to follow the acceptable dance moves to perform for the cotillions and the coming out parties at the country club. Proper hand position, footsteps, bowing and curtsying were all meticulously followed so on the special occasion the script could be followed under the blissful eyes of parents. 
Music makes dancing possible. Otherwise you are just going through spastic gyrations. The music was calm and quiet but it still brought bodies together.
Of course there was that wild jazz and swing producing those crazy flappers with plenty of fuel, but now we are talking about my parents. I don’t want to think my parents were wild.
The other excuse for acting strange on an open floor was rock and roll. Electronics intensified the hormonal behavior and gave it a beat. And the beat was and is engrained in our being. It keeps the heart in pattern.
My point in all this shuffling shoes around is, there are some that don’t feel the music. They don’t feel the beat. They can’t get their bodies to move to the rhythm.
All the lessons in the world will only supply girls with soar feet and boys with embarrassed red faces. Others can follow the movements while looking awkward while some feel the beat.
Dancing is one of the few activities that bring the genders together.
And my meaning of together is to hold each other in a hug position and slide against each other’s bodies. Woooo! Is that too much information? Guess what folks, that is what slow dances were made for and EVERYONE danced the slow dance. Even the two left footed kids danced the slow dance.
I personally had some classes on the correct dance moves beyond the box step but it wasn’t until camp that I got the real lessons. Some woman in tights came into the feeding hall on a rainy day to a bunch of boys, cranked up the music, and taught us to shake our booties.
She brought us African percussion, Jamaican rhythms, and Latino beats that got our little feet stomping. Just imagine a bunch of almost teen boys on a rainy day in an empty hall at the beach in the summer heat learning the moves to the Cha-Cha, The Stroll, The Monster Mash, The Hully Gully, The Dog, The Frug, The Madison, The Watusi, The Pony, Hitch Hike and even the Twist. Luckily we didn’t have to touch each other.
The best part came when a neighboring girls camp came over. The music was played and the counselors all beckoned us to dance, but distant walls held our backs. No one was going to cross the floor and ask a girl to dance. One by one we were all prodded to show off our basic moves and one by one we got into the ‘groove’ and started dancing together.
Much of our social life was surrounding gatherings and dances were the reason. A dance was acceptable by parents as long as there were chaperones. Dances were the place where you got the first kiss. Dances were where you got the first drink. Dances may have been where you learn a bit more about biology.
Personally I enjoyed the making of the music more than the dancing, so I was up on stage while my peers were wildly gyrating. No one cared as long as there was a beat.
And then there was the ‘slow dance’.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Weird Night

It is just the way it is in my land
In each of our simple and brief time on this blue marble we are exposed to so much to comprehend. Do we understand it all, obviously not? We, the few and powerless, keep asking questions.
Now with that heavy thought by, I wander into another day in just another life. Nothing special. The usual pattern for the most part. Get up, look at the computer, go back to sleep, dream the dream of misunderstanding, wake up, wash away the darkness with instant grains of something called coffee, and check the weather, for the weather rules the day.
Storm is a coming, or so they say, so the pattern of life adjusts to the weather. Wash the dishes from last night? Maybe later. Wear the same clothing you wore the previous day and maybe the day before? There is certainty in consistency.
The usual routine to open doors and close locks and gather ponies and observe the day and of course welcome my guest the owl. As with many creatures that make this plot of land their home, he looks after the yard for me.
When it rains, they find shelter or put up their umbrellas. When the sunshine’s, they sing and dance and entertain. Whatever food that can be provided is on a regular schedule and the pattern remains the same every day.
So tonight is like a recurrence of any other dark wintery night. Restricted within four walls with some connection to the world through electronic mystery and softened by alcohol.
The thoughts that accrue in a wondrous space may seem bazaar or even gonzo to some, but it is a daily occurrence to reality. A wonder adjustment to daily realization, perhaps but life is funny that way.
Listening to the English group “Yes” on their first three albums and thinking this was the music that both my wife and I agreed on is somewhat amazing. I liked it for the swirly guitar sound and I think she got more out of it than that.
So many and many of year later I listen to the CDs and enjoy the happiness we both shared at separate times.
I wish I had played in that band.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Brother from another mother

What can you say? What can you do? Only offer support and maybe a drunken diversion at a time like this. For I have been here and others have been here but we must all take the journey alone.
Yesterday I attended a ceremony at my brother’s house. It was a celebration of the passing of his wife. I had been to his house many times before but he is not really my brother.
He is my brother from a different mother.
I met him the first week of high school. He was a friend of a friend of a friend of mine. We had no history but made our own. For three years we became inseparable.
The years passed with college, marriages, families, homes and jobs keeping us apart. But yesterday was different. Yesterday he was my brother again.
As with any brother one can console, consul, and be an open ear without judgment or prejudice. A brother can’t fix the problem but can be there as a familiar smile, a comforting hug and a pocket full of love.
Now my brother must decide his new life while sorting out his emotions. No one can do it for him, but we are all standing on the sidelines rooting for you.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Boys Club

The club you do not want to join
Growing up we segregate ourselves to our gender. Teams, scouts, camps, gym classes are all designated to boys or girls. Our social structures no matter what cultural background or continental location, divides us by sex.
Luckily we grow out of that with the mating process and we become intertwined in each other. Though we learn to blend together, we are been programmed to group together with our own kind. Look at sports or red carpet events or even drinking, it is a boy’s room or a girl’s room. Even the act of procreation is a ‘look what I did’ to a ‘look what I made’ variance of mind.
As we learn to live with one another and share the good times and battle over the bad, each moment, day, year, decade changes us into our parents and their parents and their parents. We are not prejudged against each other but rather drawn to one another. For the history may have different fashion and politics and even hairdos, but our species have ingrained sociological patterns and we follow them without question.
The termination of life is a pattern we have grown to accept. Boys are supposedly work harder and stress more from responsibility, but perhaps are weaker than girls who bare the children and mother and nurture the family. Insurance companies, faith institutions, medical organizations and family member assume this eventual occurrence, but it doesn’t always happen that way.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Brief Moment in Time

A Strawberry adventure into yesterday.
 There is this street called Strawberry. It wasn’t always called Strawberry 
but it is now and for a single block is a step into history.

This street was in a working class neighborhood of the 20’s with a school and a few shops and duplexes and corner bars. There were no front yards on the row houses but kids played in the alleys and made their own illusions. By day people would sit on the porches and speak to those passing by and at night the seedy element would come out. Narrow streets kept the traffic slow and the only parking was at the curb.
On this street called Strawberry I had lunch today. A nice café, that hasn’t changed much since the 70’s but is very different from when my friend lived around the corner, presented a pleasant menu and black clad service staff with the same smiles as I remembered.
That is enough of the details, now to the history. 
This little café opened as the street was transitioning from a rough inner city blue-collar neighborhood to a hip yuppie revival hangout. What was a seedy dive became a brass and fern bar with a bathtub salad bar.
Howard, a guy I knew from work, and I would stop in every afternoon on our walks home. He was single and was hitting on the waitresses and I was just thirsty for attention. A beer, a flirt and a good tip became the routine.
Sometime later, another friend said he introduced me to his next wife at this location. Whatever the story, it has always been a favorite and consistent establishment for fine dining and comfort in an otherwise inner city location. If I were to review this location, the tin roof is a bit loud for conversation but the stain glass and chalk drawings creates an artistic atmosphere.
Our conversations were brief and scattered and I probably talked too much for everyone finished before me and were ready to leave. It was a nice visit to an old familiar spot with many memories.
Thanks for inviting me.

No I didn’t take any selfies.

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