Traditionally February is a month of love. I would contest that it’s a month of misery and winter but all the same, this is a time when love stories are told. Now I take umbrage with the fact that love between a couple is generally the celebrated type of love on this occasion. Mostly because there are tens if not hundreds more different kinds of love that should be equally celebrated. The Inuit depend on snow, accordingly they have a dozen some odd words devoted to it as cited by the Canadian Online Encyclopedia. The majority of people I know survive on love and support from their family and friends to get by, yet we have only one word for it. More than a little dumb if you ask me.
Anyway so on today, the day devoted to roses and chocolates and love songs, I’m going to talk about my Dad. And a little bit about Roscoe so as not to upset my conservative readers.
My entire life my parents have danced. My entire life my grandparents have danced. I’m going to take a guess and say that approximately 15% of my childhood was spent in either honky-tonk bars or listening to The Tractors “Baby Likes To Rock It Like A Boogie Woogie Choo Choo Train”.
Consequently, I know how to dance. Sort of. Not nearly as well as my sister but well enough to cha-cha, salsa and West coast swing to most songs. Until I grew up and managed to convince a boyfriend to dance with me, my partner was either my Granddad or my Dad.
So when it came to preparing for the father-daughter dance at my wedding, I wasn’t worried. My Dad is a strong lead, and I figured all of the nights that he spent dancing with my Mom in the hallway while I sat on the stairs watching would make it a breeze.
To dance well you need to be a little musical. My Dad played the trombone and the piano when he was younger and carries his iPod everywhere with him at home. Within the first couple of bars of any song he’s figured out the rhythm and whether it’s a foxtrot, samba or a waltz.
There we are my Dad and I, about to step out onto the large but not as large as I would have liked dance floor at my wedding. Roscoe and his Mom are there as well. (See I told you- he makes a cameo. Roscoe was totally there that entire day for the record.) Just before the wedding ceremony that morning, in the basement of the church my Dad asked to go over the difficult part of the song with me one last time. That was my only clue of what was about to happen.
The two couples walk out onto the dance floor. On goes the music, my Dad and I wait for a count of eight before we begin to dance. A half second behind the beat. With every step this pattern continues; beat, hesitation, step. No one who didn’t dance regularly would have caught it but after years of following my Dad exactly on the beat, I noticed right away. With every beat, hesitation, then step I grew more confused. Could he not hear the beat? What was wrong? As another count of eight passed and he righted his step I realized the problem– my Dad was nervous.
Every time I think of this moment it makes me smile. That small, small chink in the armor of the successful businessman and father that no one else could see. As much as you can love someone for their strengths, you can love them in brief moments of weakness even more.