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Dancing With Dad

Updated: Apr 30

I remember...

Mom and Dad dancing at the Elk's Club around 1985.

My first cousin's wedding reception close to 16 years ago. As many as could make the occasion, the family all gathered to celebrate the joyful event. Everyone dressed beautifully to honor the bride and groom. Like many wedding receptions, music and dancing filled our senses. My dad was a handsome sight to see in his crisp white pearl snap-down western shirt, cowboy belt, Wranglers, and freshly polished boots. Of course, his first dance would always be with Momma. Watching them on the dance floor was like perfectly metered poetry, never out of step. The look of love and many shared years was evident on their faces as they circled the floor. The small New Mexico town of Hachita, a border town where farm and ranch families gathered for fun and fellowship, was my first recollection of dancing. The school gymnasium hosted a band, usually the Aggie Ramblers, on the third Saturday of every month. Dad and Mom never missed an occasion to go, even after my brother and I came along. He and I were just 15 months apart. I remember practicing our dance moves among the adults when we were only about four and five years old. When the night got long, parents laid quilts down behind a row of chairs along the wall to protect the littles who got sleepy before the dance ended. I remember these cozy sleep spaces fondly. At the reception that day, Dad offered his hand as an invitation to the dance floor to many awaiting ladies. His smile and encouragement melted their unease. I don't believe anyone refused him. Back in the day, a man could invite a lady to the dance floor. With a lady's prerogative, one could always refuse him. I believe it's wholly possible that never happened with Dad. I jumped at the chance when he held his hand out to me. These occasions were not usual for us, but I was thrilled to be asked to dance when they did occur. The warmth of his hand matched his loving smile as we took our places on the floor. It was a waltz. With my right hand on his shoulder and my left hand slightly extended and placed in his right, we began to move in step to the three-quarter timed tune. The song was Maiden's Prayer; a song dad played on the fiddle many times through the years. As we danced around the floor cheek to cheek, tears began to collect in the corners of my eyes. I had a conscious thought that day to seal this memory into my heart. As the song ended, I knew full well that these occasions would become less and less. Music, especially guitar and fiddle tunes, knit their way through the backdrop of my years. Most family gatherings found us collected in a circle of sorts playing and singing the songs that influenced our people through the ages. Maiden's Prayer was one of those songs. It has a hauntingly beautiful sound that evokes a melancholy feeling. Even today, as I write these words, the day's memory still brings back a smile and a lump to my throat. There were more years to enjoy Dad's company, but this one will always be a cherished memory. Allow me a spiritual analogy for you to ponder

If you think about it, our relationship with our heavenly Father is like a dance. Sometimes it feels like we're taking two steps backward, but then he'll lead us in the right direction for our lives to flow more in sync. His desire is for us to know him, to follow in his footsteps, and to know His love and grace abundantly. My prayer for you, my friend, is that you will feel the Father's love by capturing each day's dance in a new and inviting way. He is sure to guide you in the steps that benefit your life to the fullest when you accept his hand to dance.

Mom and Dad dancing at the Elk's Club around 1985.

So let the music begin; praise His name—dance and sing

to the rhythm of the tambourine, and to the tune of the harp.

Psalm 149:3 The Voice

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