Saturday, July 26, 2008

News (or Lack Thereof)...

Today is a bright summer day here in Wheaton, just outside our Nation's Federal City. Ron is in Memphis visiting his mother. I am here at home getting ready for a cookout this afternoon. The cookout started as a joke from Tim who said, why don't you have a cookout next weekend? I sent out the invites, and quickly friends, friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends indicated that they would be attending. I'm making Happy's Famous Potato Salad, and I'm doing some cursory cleaning. I still need to mop the kitchen floor and sweep off the back patio. I feel so domestic today.

Ron sends his greetings to all of you. Just for your information, he recovered from his tick fever incident and has gone to even greater success. I hope he's checking for ticks in Memphis. I understand those urban ticks can have a real mean attitude, nothing like those hospitable (even lovable!) western Rocky Mountain ticks. Ron's big project for the summer has been to keep the ants under control. Wheaton had a very wet spring, and ants have decided they like our home, too. Ron put ant traps on the shopping list, and last week, he struck back. After surveying the kitchen battle zone, he strategically placed the traps in ant-friendly places. I've seen a few ants since then, but their numbers have greatly diminished.

I guess you all know that my sister Grace and I were in Cleveland three weeks ago at the International Association of Gay Square Dance Clubs annual convention. I have a new name. Many dancers at the convention now call me, "Grace's Brother." It is a worthy and wonderful honorific. Since everyone else calls me "Happy" or "Doodle," Grace also has a new name, "Big Cheez Doodle." Grace roomed with another straight woman from my square dance club. The two of them, and a third straight woman had dinner with Tim and me on the last day of the convention. It was vastly interesting and amusing to hear about the differences between straight square dancing and gay square dancing. Tim and I had a jolly time listening. Juanita and Tonja had definite opinions about the style of dancing, the jokes that callers tell, and the culture difference between the two square dance worlds. I wish I were a sociologist.

Also in Cleveland, I attended a callers school to learn how to call square dancing. It was about the most intense learning experience I've had in many years. It's a little daunting, and I don't have the filler patter that makes my calling smooth, but I've been working on putting together call sequences, and I've called a couple of tips at convention and here in my home club. I've decided I want to be a competent caller so that's my next career (just kidding!) I guess. I've also had a couple of aha experiences about square dancing. It's a dance form that is in danger of disappearing. It's the type of activity that is fun for a group. It brings people together. It's physical. And I'm coming to think I want to do my part of encourage it and to keep it on the American Folk Scene.

After Cleveland, Ron and I spent a week at gay summer camp. It was hot and humid and no air conditioning. But the afternoon cocktail hour made up for a lot of deficiencies. Each cocktail hour had a theme, and the best-dressed camper won fifty dollars. Ron is a couturier of some merit - he won $100 over the course of the week. He looked fabulous. One evening I lead the Doodle family to victory in a Family Feud contest. We were remarkable, and again, it was Ron who clinched victory out of the jaws of defeat. His intimate knowledge of late night television saved us.

Odds and Ends: For those of you who know Perry, the neighbor who lives across the way. He and his cat are doing well. Yesterday the roofers came and installed a brand new roof and shutters. Perry was following our fine example, and used the same roofing company. Ah, life is so sweet in Wheaton! For those of you who know Brian, the guy who lived in our basement for five months three years ago, he came over, and we went out to a new Thai restaurant in the neighborhood. The pad thai was marvelous, and the cashew chicken had a nice spicy kick to it. I hadn't talked with Brian for months, and we had a delightful evening catching up with each other. He's a computer geek and voice teacher. I'm probably going to take some lessons with him for my square dance calling. It's wonderful to get together with old friends.

To end this epistle, I'm starting a square dance troupe. I have some excited dancers, and all I need to do is find a caller and a choreographer, and some rehearsal space. The club I dance with, DC Lambda Squares, often gets requests for dance demos, and they are usually pulled together at the last moment. So I thought, maybe we need a group of dancers who are ready to go dance. We had our first meeting, and we want to incorporate different dance forms within the traditional square dance idiom. It's exciting and a little daunting, but maybe you'll see us on YouTube someday.

It's a good thing I retired!


Brian said...

My dear Happy, I lived in your basement for 3 months, 18 days. It only SEEMED like 5 months! xoxo

Happy said...

I stand corrected. It did seem like five months, compressed into three months and eighteen daze. How could I be so incorrect?