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  • rutheholleran

Calling the Shots

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

Originally published October 8, 2017

Tonight something amazing happened and I want to tell someone.

So, we attended the wedding of Owen and Jenn, friends of my adult children, and afterward ate well at the potluck reception. After a long delay, the old-timey band began to play, but no one danced. The DJ made a good-hearted attempt to set the expectation, but no one joined him and it was…awkward. It was sad because I realized that two generations, the ones getting married but also their parents, did not have experience with country dancing at celebrations. And this Vermont wedding was just the right venue for a country dance!

My husband and I saw this disaster happening and we grabbed our grown kids. They were itching to kick up their heels. I knew I could call a few figures and make a dance happen.

And we did! At first, three couples; then a huge circle; and the dance after that, two lines with 10 couples each. I led them through forward-and-back, do-si-do, four hand stars, head-couple-sashay and back, peel off and form an arch–moves I could remember from my contra dancing days.

I loved it. It felt like flying a Cessna solo, like taking a sailboat out on the bay, like conducting an orchestra. It was improvisation, and it was engaging in play with people who were shy but wanted to have a good time. They knew they were inexperienced and felt the emptiness of not knowing how to celebrate together as a community. We danced and were all smiles.

Owen and Jenn pulled together their community of family and friends for their special day. When we danced together we held hands, smiled, sweated, walked in synchrony, and hooted in unison.

I might even say it was a case of hootin’ and Holleran.

Originally published on October 8, 2017 on Letters From Hearts Content

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