I remember as a boy, I couldn’t have been more than nine or 10 years old at the time, my mother took it upon herself to teach me to dance. At 10 I had no idea what she was passing along to me until years later, that it was more than just dancing and when it came to the fairer sex how important it was.
My mom, bless her heart, had to listen to me complain and not want to even try while she was doing her best to make my life easier even if I didn’t recognize it. I was sarcastic, insubordinate, and even churlish over the whole thing. It weirded me out to be dancing with my mother, learning how to lead, where and how to use my hands to do so, coordination, and rhythm … I was not the easiest student to say the least.
I could only imagine at the time what a disaster my life would be if any of my friends found out. At that age I was sure I would ostracized and become the butt of every joke and my only option, should someone find out, would be to stowaway on a freighter out of Charleston hoping to land in some remote part of Malaysia where no one knew me or my name.
I was pretty positive if word leaked out I would be forever a momma’s boy, relegated to forever being the last kid chosen to play kickball or baseball and stuck in right field with all of the other spare parts.
I had no idea how much her determination and the obstinate way she MADE me learn would actually be useful later on down the road. All I could think of was coming off like I had some muscular disorder which resulted in seizures as I struggled along.
Over the years those lessons have come in handy more than once.
Recently my friend Sarah received tickets to see James Taylor in Charlotte, and if you have followed along on these columns at all you know how much I absolutely love music, and I was the lucky guy to get her invite as her plus one. As for the show, in brief, I enjoy doing some live music and have been on stage in many different capacities, but I have never seen a performer quite as good. If you get the chance it’s well worth it, especially if someone else paid for the seats.
Without an opening act, Taylor performed one set and took an intermission and Sarah and I stepped away from the seats, not more than a hundred feet from the stage for a cool drink and some good conversation. Fifteen minutes later the music struck up again, but instead of sitting back down I found myself more than happy to spend the next hour or so being serenaded while the two of us danced the rest of the night away.
There were literally hundreds of people milling around us, and I’m sure to some we were a sight, but I didn’t care. It’s not that often you have the opportunity to share a moment such as that one, almost as if the evening had been built just for that brief moment in time with everyone else in attendance nothing more than stage props and window dressing. I realized those lessons in my parents’ living room had indeed been endowed with a purpose and once again just went to prove how smart the woman who raised me truly is.
It’s true Sarah received her tickets as a birthday gift but I got a gift of my own that evening. She couldn’t have paid me a higher compliment than when she pointed out she had seen Taylor several times but none had ever been half as good as that evening. I concur, Sarah.
And mom, well, I don’t think you realize how much of what you passed along to me actually stuck. Sarah says thank you.