Dancing with the R’s


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So I’m sitting here watching Season 27 of Dancing with the Stars. Among this season’s hopefuls: the first-ever blind contestant, an alumnus from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and a Duke of Hazard. As of this writing, a few couples have been sent packing – no worries, they’ll be back for their cameo – and it’s still too early to tell who will ultimately walk away with the coveted Mirrorball trophy.

Like many of you, I too have The Fantasy. You know, the one where I am paired with a
gorgeous, talented dancer – all spray tanned, pushed-up and scantily-clad. We shake our hips and rock the salsa to a cheering crowd. The judges are breathlessly wowed, smile, and yell “Ten!”

The truth is though, when it comes to dancing, I am my own duke of hazard. Back in the day of youth dances at church, in junior high and at the Teen Canteen, I was among
the guys lining the walls and talking about cars and rock ‘n’ roll bands. We stood around and watched the girls dance together, venturing out every now and then for a slow dance. Dances like the twist and jerk were much too intimidating. I have some Cherokee coursing through my veins and, if given an Indian name, I likely would have been known as Two Left Feet.

For the first 15 years of our marriage,
my bride urged me to take dancing lessons. We finally signed up to learn the West Coast Swing and ended the first session exhausted and sweaty. I loved the experience and couldn’t wait
until the following week, but time had
taken its toll on Joy’s knees and hips (all now replaced) and we didn’t stick with

We’re considering taking lessons again if the time, place and price is right.

Until then, I dread the monthly karaoke clubhouse dances where I’ll be coerced into participating in the requisite dance attempt. I’ve tried to comply with the motivational trope, “Dance as if no one’s watching,” but not only is everyone watching, they’re also pointing, snickering, and making up nicknames for me such as “Spaz” and “St. Vitus,” the patron saint of dancers.

I am on a quest. Inside one of the many boxes we’ve yet to unpack since our move a year ago lies a VHS cassette of dance instructions. Once I find it, I’ll show them. They can just
point and glare at “Michael Astaire.”

We are now in the final stages of Dancing with the R’s (short for retirees). You can go online to cast your vote for Michael at micwrighthamo@gmail.com

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