Petersen: Dancing at the school house
Have you been to a school house dance?
You know, the kind that takes place at the end of haying or shipping or just becuz…? Remember those days? I do. Recently, I had the occasion to attend a current-day “school house” dance. As usual, the cowgirls arrived, eyes a-sparkle, hoping to dance their feet off. The cowboys arrived, eyes a-sparkle as they eyed the cowgirls, but with dread in their hearts that they might actually have to…er, dance.
Traveling back along that long trail to early days reminds me of dances in the Swamp Creek Community Hall.
My, how times — they do NOT change…
SATURDAY NIGHT AT SWAMP CREEK
There’s always a dance on Saturday
At Swamp Creek School House Hall
The cowboys come from far and near
Like bulls when heifers bawl.
Slicked up and sharp in clean blue jeans,
Shaved faces reek cologne,
Or beards close-trimmed, mustaches curled—
Make cowgirls softly moan.
The cowboys park their rigs out back
Then head into the fray;
They make real sure their bottled brave
Is not too far away.
Now cowgirls laugh as they arrive
Wearing brand new duds,
Their jeans so tight they could be paint
The sight inspires the studs.
The music starts with heavy beat,
Guitar, kazoo and drums;
The cowboys all are petrified,
Their dancing parts are numb!
The hours go by, the crowd gets loud,
And still the boys sit tight,
Except to slouch from hip to hip
And study bugs in flight.
The clustered girls across the room
Try flirting more and more,
The cowboys shuffle, paw and snort
But STILL don’t cross the floor.
Nervous cowpokes stiffen spines
To ask a lass to dance
The trips outside for liquid charm
Are made at every chance!!
The gals watch out! Wait for the rush!
Get set for Fred Astaire!
A cowboy two-step, waltz or rock,
He’ll whirl a gal through air.
Elbows flapping, arms a pumping,
He’ll gallop down the floor;
His partner clings! Her feet leave earth!
But! she’ll be back for more!
Of course she will…! ❖
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