Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dancing Queen

Cue Music...


Substitue "old and sweet, only eighty five" in the chorus.



The ringtones on my cell phone:
Alan - the theme to Superman
Jonathan - Chicago (sung by Sinatra, of course)
Bryce - Skiin' in the Mornin' 
Reed - Rock and Roll, Pt. 2 (a sort of jock jam tune)

The ringtone that heralds my mother's calls?  Dancing Queen.

Back in the 40's when she was a college coed - wait...I'm not sure if they called college girls "coeds" during the war since there were no boys around - anyhoo...Back in the 40's when my mom was a college coed at Stephen F. Austin, the kids gathered on the 3rd floor of some building when they had time between classes to dance.  Put a nickel in the juke box, pick L3 for a Glen Miller tune, and the makeshift dance floor filled with girls energetically swing dancing with each other.  She waxes nostalgic when she shares her memories about all the frequent "real dances" after the "boys came home."  The end of the war marked a time for better dancing in my mom's dreamy eyes.

Little Miss Helen has evening dresses and a fine pair of dancing shoes stored in a plastic box on her closet shelf in case she ever gets to go to a "fancy dance."  She actually wore one of the outfits on New Years Eve.  The next day, she called to tell me how much her dancing shoes hurt her feet.  "I'm going to have blisters!  Where did we put the bandaides?"  Then, she loyally tucked those dancing shoes away in the dancing attire box in case they ever stop hurting her feet.  The lucite pumps with lucite heels that "go with EVERYTHING" are still "perfectly good dancing shoes!"

Last Friday night, the boys and I went to visit Mother during Happy Hour at Raider Ranch.  She called about four times during the week to remind us that on Fridays they have live music, free wine and beer - but not for grandsons (her words) - and free hot appetizers.

"You won't need to cook supper!  I always fill up on appetizers!  I get PLENTY to eat."  

A day later..."Did I tell you that we're having Happy Hour on Friday?!"  (They have Happy Hour every Friday.)

A day later..."Do you think that the boys will come to Happy Hour on Friday!  There's free wine and beer - but not for grandsons - and free appetizers!  You won't have to cook supper!  You can all eat for free!"

A day later..."Kenny Maines is going to be here!  You need to come hear Kenny Maines!"

My mother has had a schoolgirl crush on Kenny Maines since the first time he came over to her table and introduced himself.  "When he got back up to sing, he said, 'This song is for HELEN!'  He dedicated the song to ME!  Wasn't that SWEET?!" she brags with a big grin spread across her precious, soft-skinned face.

Last Friday evening at 5:30, Bryce and Reed (Jonathan was in Chicago, and Alan was out of town) went with me to Happy Hour to delight Miss Helen's little 85 year old heart.  Before we left the house, I told them that in appreciation of their giving up time on a perfectly good Friday night to thrill their grandmother, I would pay them $5 per dance with Mimi.  Reed quickly said, "I'll carry her if I have to!"

And, oh, how they danced!  Well, tried to step-ball-change in a sort of side to side hop to keep up with Mimi.  I should have tipped them an extra buck every time she said, "Spin me!"  During one particularly hoppy dance, Mom's arms dropped to her sides. "Dance with your mother now," she said abruptly leaving Bryce alone on the dance floor.  She was just about hopped out.  Reed flexed his muscles making ready to step-ball-change with Mimi in his arms.  Five dollars a dance was a pretty sweet deal.  

Bryce waved me onto the dance floor, and off we step-ball-changed trying to come up with some sort of sloppy 2-step.  Mom was right.  Dancing on a Friday night at Raider Ranch's Happy Hour to Kenny Maines is fun.  Especially when your partner is your handsome, gallant middle son.  Thanks for the dance, Bryce!  And, thanks for not charging me to dance with you.

Oh, let's just let the $5 dances be our little secret.  Let the Dancing Queen revel in the thrilling feeling that "the boys came home."


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