If I told you to "Weave the Ring," would you know what to do or would you stand there, panic stricken, furtively glancing around the room hoping that someone close to you would understand the direction? Dazed with fear, would you grasp desperately for the nearest basket-weaving materials as your trembling hands fumbled in a futile attempt to fashion a crude ring before you melted into a weeping mass of tears and humiliation? If you would find yourself doing the latter, I would have been in your company - before Saturday night.
A strange and undeserved bit of luck befell my family as we enjoyed my birthday weekend in the California desert. I love the desert of Southern California; it is breathtaking in its beauty and is magic in its ability to offer up some unexpected opportunities that are not to be had in more humid climes. We were there but a few days, but the exciting sights, sounds, and senses we experienced were so varied and plentiful that the next few posts will be dedicated to our adventures. But at wacky tacky, rule #6 is "When in the desert - Dessert First!" So, here is the highlight of our desert vacation!
|A room with a view - of gray skies and rain.|
The weather was less than desirable when we arrived at our destination. It was raining at home as we were preparing to leave and we were hoping that we would not take the inclement weather along. Our hopes were dashed by the pouring, desert rain. As we sat by the fire regrouping and determining how best to spend our rainy weekend, my brother got a call from his friend whose in-laws were participating in a local square dance. All we had to hear was "square dance," and we were in the car and on our way before we even got the particulars. Well, the last time I square danced was over 20 years ago in the music room of my elementary school to a record. I have heard the terms "Right & Left Grand" and "Promenade," but to be perfectly frank, I didn't know my "Allemande Left" from my elbow.
|Little did we know that this was the biggest square dance festival in the southwest;|
couples and square dance groups came from all over to attend.
The picture above shows one of the two dance halls.
We were not sure what to expect. Would we be learning to dance? Were we merely spectators? The packed floor of expert dancers deftly twirling through the most-complicated of formations told us that we were far outclassed in the dance department and our lot was to spectate only. Any disappointment was whisked away by the constant flash and flurry of endlessly-ruffled petticoats providing more entertainment than was deserved by the cost of admission - FREE!
Vendors were present and selling all the skirts and petticoats that a square dancer could need.
The waves of pure joy that crashed over me as we entered the main dance hall were so powerful that I spent the entire evening with a smile on my face and my camera at the ready.
|Petti-pants & Petticoat|
I have seen vintage square dance dresses but the current
crop of square dance fashions have reached new heights -
in hemlines. The prevailing trend is short skirts.
Typically, I would call myself a bit of a purist; I expected (wanted) hillbilly fiddlers and a grizzled, old caller with straw in his mouth clapping out the beat. What I got instead was a new generation of callers who called to pre-recorded tracks on their laptops. The caller in a square dance directs all of the movement on the floor. The neat thing about this aspect of the dance is that, while there are traditional progressions, there are limitless variations because the caller can call whatever movement he desires - and what the caller says, goes! Standard square dance calls like "Bow to Your Corner" were heard but with new callers come new calls; our favorite calls of the night included "Merry-Go-Round," "Jump the Ocean," and "Acey-Deucey."
The callers rotated and the dance floor was relatively-full the entire evening. There was one "young" caller in particular who had the entire floor packed. In honor of Veteran's Day, he sang Neil Diamond's "Coming to America" while he was calling. One would have thought that he was a rock star; it was apparent from the overheard whispers that he had more than one lady's heart doing a full "Do-Si-Do."
The star caller in action.
Speaking of couples, here are some of our favorite couples of the evening.
|The first couple whom we asked to pose for a photo |
was a bit confused but happy to oblige.
|Lucky in love & dancin'!!!|
|This sweet woman wouldn't let us take her picture |
without her husband because they "matched."
We couldn't catch this couple off of the dance
floor, so we had to settle for an action shot!
|A peek-a-boo view of her gold, lame´ petticoat.|
|I loved this couple. Her butterfly-covered skirt coordinated with |
the butterfly embroidered on the back yoke of his shirt.
It might sound absurd, but their outfits (when compared
to every other couple) were the most wearable for everyday.
|My favorite for the best-dressed couple of the evening.|
They say the devil's in the wacky tacky details
and these two were wickedly wacky.
Somehow, I feel that they may have known Lawrence Welk personally.
It is fairly amazing to watch the sea of seniors respond with one accord to the caller.
Doesn't it look like fun?
As you are more than likely aware, it is my belief that there is an occasion for every cartoon and a cartoon for every occasion. For some reason, however, blogger will not let me upload "Hillbilly Hare," an ideal Bugs Bunny cartoon that shows the true power of the caller, so follow the link and enjoy.
Now just so you leave this post fully informed, to "Weave the Ring" is, in essence, to "Right & Left Grand" without the right and left. There you have it.