Slow Dancing onSaturday Night

ELIZABETH SCHUETT

February 05, 1993|By ELIZABETH SCHUETT

MOTLEY, MINNESOTA — Motley, Minnesota. -- In this remote village of 550 people near Lake Alexander, Saturday night means one thing -- dancing at the Ten High Club.

The floor was comfortably filled with happy people -- happy people dancing on a Saturday night. They were celebrating another week of life. Happy to be alive. Happy to be together.

''They play two kinds of music there at the Ten High Club,'' as my friend Steve would say, '' . . . Country and Western.''

Cowboy hats bobbed around the dance floor as boots scuffed out the rhythm. Boy, were they glad to be alive.

There were couples whose dance never changed. The music changed but their dance remained the same. Steady, dependable, predictable, but with just a little variety. Just enough to keep in step with the music but not enough to alter their time-tested style. It's worked this long so why mess with it?

There was a couple wearing almost matching shirts. They were really good. You could tell they had been practicing. They ''strolled'' and ''dipped'' their way through all the fast numbers. Slow-dancing wasn't for them. They mostly sat those out.

The woman in the coral dress wore boots and a big cowboy hat with a feather that danced about the brim as she two-stepped through the night and laughed with her friends. She was like them. Happy and laughing and delighted to be alive and dancing this Saturday night.

There was a heavy man and his heavy wife, probably close to 500 pounds altogether. His hair had gone gray. Hers was beginning to silver around the temples.

They didn't talk very much when they danced. They didn't have to. They moved together with the ease brought on by years of being close and moving together. Their movements accommodated their bulk. They fit.

Maybe that's what it's all about anyway. Maybe it just takes time for all those rough edges to smooth out so that we don't hurt each other when we get too close.

There was a solitary cowboy sitting at a nearby table. He was slumped down in his chair with his ten-gallon hat shoved forward over his eyes. He nursed a warming beer and smoked too many cigarettes. He didn't talk to anybody. He didn't dance. He just sat there.

An hour later he lowered his glass, stubbed out his smoke, tipped his hat further forward and stood up and left. He should have had somebody to dance with.

Everybody should have someone to dance with. What could it hurt if the whole world went dancing on Saturday night?

Maybe it could help.

Elizabeth Schuett, a teacher in Gibsonburg, Ohio, wrote this for Cox News Service.

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