Chapter 2 – The Dance
Later that evening, I stopped in to the Dance. Being at the VFW, there was a full bar so I ambled up to it and ordered a beer. The bartender looked vaguely familiar. I sat at the bar and tried to remember who he was. He came over and said, “Hi, I am Mike Strowsky, I remember you, we went to school together for a little while. Let me re-phrase that, we went to the same school but you were a couple of grades above me”. I shook his outstretched hand and said hello. He went off to serve a customer but try as I might, I could not place him. When he came back, we chatted about the small town and what goes on there which according to Mike, was not very much. As a day job, he worked in one of the local stores.
I stood with my back to the bar and listened to the music watching the dancers as they swirled by. Many were older folks from the big farming community that surrounded the town. They went from one spectrum to the other with old folks and their young kids all hoofing it up on the dance floor. It was fun just to watch and see so many people having a good time doing the most simple and natural thing of all, dancing.
As with every dance floor, there is always at least one couple who think they are ballroom champions and this dance floor was no exception. Only this time there were two couples both of whom could dance a bit and even though they were not officially in a competition, it was obvious to one and all that both couples were trying to outshine the other. I thought it funny and mentioned it to Mike the next time he came by.
“Oh those two. They are like this every time we have a dance. It’s good clean fun and they don’t knock over too many other people and it they do, they get to hear a mouthful”. Mike said.
I continued watching for a while and then turned back to order another beer. I heard a voice at my side saying hello and turned around to find both Evelyn and Angela standing there. I said hello back to them and offered to buy them both a drink which Mike was already coming forward with. Either they were regular drinkers or had telegraphed their order ahead somehow. Actually, as both were drinking beer, it only takes two fingers to order that especially if there is a house brand or one that the house specializes in.
“Cheers” I said, “Glad you guys showed up. Now I have someone to talk to other than Mike and he is not such attractive company as you both are”.
They were both looking very attractive. Both were in their mid thirties with well-kept figures and curves in all of the right places. Both had on jeans and cowboy boots very fitting for a dance. Angela was a blonde and Evelyn was a brunette and both had long hair, always a weakness of mine. Angela turned her attention to me while Evelyn turned to watch the dancers and look at the crowd of people looking for a likely date or at least someone to dance with, no doubt. I turned back to Angela who was nodding her head to the beat of the music. “Would you like to dance” I said to her. “This is a slow one and I can do this without falling over my feet”. She agreed and before long, we were gliding around the floor. She fitted very nicely into my arms and was not interested in my attempts to dance properly, more for the contact than the dance, I thought. We danced a couple more and then when the band played a hot boogie number that required a bit of old-fashioned jitterbug, she gave up and led me back to the table. “That’s too much like work and anyway, I need a couple more beers in me before I can relax enough to dance that stuff” she said.
We sat at the table talking about the people who were on the floor. The band was playing a polka and there was this one older couple on the floor who owned a couple of farms. They were originally of Scandinavian heritage and were just whooping up a storm. The husband was a tall thin rake of a man while his wife was a round jovial sort probably twice his weight who just swung her partner around on the floor. At one point, they swung so hard that he couldn’t hold her weight and she went crashing into the tables surrounding the floor. There was beer bottles and glasses everywhere along with up-ended chairs and tables and in the middle of this mess, she was just sitting on the floor and laughing so hard she nearly bust. Everyone else including the band, who stopped playing, were just screaming with laughter and indeed, it was a very funny moment. Everyone pitched in and in no time flat, order was restored and tables and chairs put back into place and the band played on.
Evelyn meanwhile, was trolling the floor looking for a likely candidate for the evening. She came back to the table with a look of disgust on her face as she commented, “Not much out there tonight. Just a couple of young boys pretending to be men. What a waste of my time, they would be”. I laughed as did Angela and I said to Evelyn, “Why not taste the beauty of youth and show them what it’s like to be an adult in these situations”. “Give me a break. I’ve tried that before and I end up feeling like their mother and want to give them advice instead of taking advantage of their youth”replied Evelyn.
We all laughed and I asked Evelyn if she would like to dance “with an older man”. We got up as the band played another slow dance. Evelyn was not like Angela on the floor. Evelyn actually wanted to dance at a distance and concentrated on her steps trying to follow all of the complex moves I was remembering from my dance lessons, all those years ago. When the music finally ended she grabbed my arm as we walked back to the table and remarked on how much fun that was “and boy, you are a good dancer and I hope we can do it again before the evening is out”. I thanked her and said that we would make a point of it.
It was interesting that I knew very few people in the dance hall. I grew up in this small town but had moved away to college and had not really come back except for the trips to visit my mother. Every now and then, I would bump into a school buddy and we would chat for a while but on the whole, I was more or less a stranger to most of the people and them to me. I was glad of the girls company and I think that they were glad of mine as they made no attempt to join anyone else in the room. They knew a lot more people than me but that was not saying much considering that I was just visiting.
The conversation turned back to me. “How long you in town for” one of them asked. “I don’t know as I still have some business to attend to. I am on vacation from my job which is in Vermont this time around, until the end of next week. This is pretty close to home for me and I know that my next job is in California“. “It must be fun to travel around and see all of these different places” said Angela. “I bet you never get bored not like working in this poky little town”.
I thought about it for a while of the constant changing of town and people, and the fact there was no such thing as a forty hour work week. I was well paid to do what I do and had money in the bank but sometimes, I often thought it would be nice to settle down. Then the sensible part of my brain kicks in and I consider all of the good things that my job offers me and that staying in one place for up to two years at a time is not all that bad. Besides, I have always got my little apartment and the stability that it brings.
The dance was winding down and I managed to get one more dance with each of the ladies, Evelyn holding me at a distance and Angela cuddling up to me. They both kissed me on the cheek to say goodnight and we made arrangements to meet for coffee the next day. I drove back to my apartment and opened up another beer and sat there thinking about the evening. I had learned a long time ago, not to get involved with small town women. It is one thing to take what they may offer but definitely another thing to allow them into one’s mind.