I overheard several women this morning talking about the cast of some television program called “Dancing with the Stars”, so I politely interrupted and asked them what that program was all about.
Good Lord you would have thought I was questioning their citizenship from the look of shock on their collective faces. It was after the initial shock wore off that they began peppering me with questions such as;
“YOU haven’t seen Dancing with the Stars?”
“WHERE have YOU been?”
“WHAT is WRONG with YOU?”
Then they began running through the list of the cast of the program in unison and to be honest I am not sure I recognized anyone’s name except that lady ice skater that another not-so lady ice skater hit her in the shin with a pipe so the not-so lady ice skater could be in the Olympics.
It was then that it hit me….
There was a time that I was Dancing with a Star
As I have chronicled in past articles I went to six different high schools in four years and although I haven’t mentioned it, with all that moving around it’s hard to meet someone “special” during that time, if you know what I mean.
Now before we go on any further I think it’s important that we acknowledge that regardless of whether you are a man or a woman we all have our “type” that we like so to speak.
So you might be wondering what kind of women I like.
In no particular order the characteristics I like in a woman
A good sense of humor….
I like a woman that isn’t afraid to go through a buffet line….
I can’t stand a bony woman that looks like an emaciated ten year old boy
I also like a woman that looks good in a tight sweater
(Don’t judge me, this is my list)
And I like a woman that speaks her mind.
I found it all in a girl in my senior class that spring named Holly.
She had shoulder length blonde hair and golden brown tan that came from working on her daddy’s farm in the hot Southern sun and she had one leg.
She had lost her right leg when she was younger in a corn picker and she had a prosthetic leg that attached to her right leg slightly below the hip.
The “disability” never slowed Holly down even though she walked with a noticeable limp. She was Southern tough, and funny and could trade insults and barbs back and forth with the best of them and if I hadn’t mentioned it, she wasn’t hard to look at either.
She also cussed a little bit which didn’t sound dirty or nasty coming from her, it sounded cute, like when she said SHEEEEEEE-IT.
As in “SHEEEEEEEEE-IT I forgot to bring that biology homework in today”
I was smitten.
Did I mention that she also chewed tobacco?
I was double smitten.
I also knew that neither of us were a part of the “cool kids” in school, as she was a rough and tumble farm girl that didn’t mind wearing clothes to school that she had milked cows in that morning and I was a foster kid that lived here and there like a restless vagabond.
So with the spring dance also known as “The Senior Prom” coming up, I asked Holly if she wanted to go with me to the big event.
She smiled that beautiful Southern smile of hers and gave it to me straight…
“You aren’t my type I like farm boys, not athletes. But I will go with you as a friend.”
I was elated, even when she finished her sentence with…
“I don’t dance, you know, because of my leg”
The mere mention of dancing and her prosthetic leg was the first time I had ever seen her smile diminish, like she was nurturing some pain inside her.
But she quickly recovered and so did that smile of hers when she added
“I think we will have a good time together”
A few weeks later on the appointed day I borrowed a suit for the occasion and even though the pants were a little big as were the shoes, I didn’t care and I wasn’t self conscious either, because I was going to the dance with Holly.
I also borrowed a car to pick Holly up in….
(Thank God for good Coaches)
I stopped and purchased a corsage too
(This purchase of said corsage was before my revelation concerning “free” flowers that are attainable from any local cemetery)
I drove over to Holly’s house, which was actually her Momma and Daddy’s Farm and I met her parents and they couldn’t have been any kinder or sweeter to me.
Then Holly came out on the porch in that little yellow sun dress that went past her knees.
She was so pretty it would hurt your eyes.
In front of her parents I said…
“You look beautiful”
She was undeterred when she ignored my comment and said
“I spray painted my fake leg so both of them would be tanned; I don’t think the color matched all that well. I got the paint from Ace Hardware”
I reassured Holly that it looked great and I was about to mention her painted toes in her sandals but she cut me off before I got there when she said
“I even painted my toes on my fake foot, so I would look good in my new sandals”
(You got to love a woman with attention to detail)
I escorted her to my borrowed car as her daddy reminded me to have Holly home by eleven o’clock that night and with a “Yes Sir, I will” I opened her door and Holly slid across the seat.
After I got in the car Holly looked at me with a sheepish smile and said…
“I have a surprise for us”
With that being said Holly slid both hands under her sundress and popped her prosthetic leg off and revealed a little bottle of Canadian Club liquor hidden in her leg.
While I was appreciating the genius of her creativity while glancing at her “other” tanned thigh she said….
“Neither of us likes any of those damn people, so I figured we could have a sip or two and have a good time ourselves”
I couldn’t help but smile as I leaned over towards her and kissed her on the cheek and said two words; “Let’s Go”
And off we went…..
We laughed and joked all the way to the school…..
I held her hand as we walked into the gymnasium now decorated with crate paper, streamers and Chinese lanterns promoting whatever the theme of that years dance.
As the music was blaring across the gym, Holly and I found a seat in one of the corners, as I went to get us both some refreshments from the community punch bowl.
Translation: “Refreshments” means something used to mix or cut the booze with.
We laughed and sipped our cups of sickly sweet punch and liquor and laughed some more and then sipped and laughed some more.
A couple of songs were played by the DJ hired by the school for the event and that coupled with the “enhanced” punch we were sipping on fueled my boldness.
So I asked Holly over the sound of the music if she wanted to dance.
A brief look of pain shot across her face and she looked down and said, “I don’t dance, certainly not that fast anyway. Not if I don’t want my leg to come flying off.”
Then she added….
“I don’t want anybody making fun of me anyway”
So after a brief uncomfortable silence we went back to laughing and sipping our punch and being oblivious to everyone around us and enjoying the music echoing across the gymnasium floor.
But that one statement bothered me.
So, sometime later as the evening progressed I thought to myself
I didn’t want to go to a dance and not dance, you know what I mean?
Felling rather embolden after several Dixie cups of “punch” I gently leaned over to Holly and said to her in no uncertain terms…..
“I didn’t take a beautiful girl to a dance, not to dance with her.”
With that I took her hand and said “Come on darling” while she quickly tucked the liquor bottle away in her leg, we walked hand in hand to the gymnasium floor as Elvin Bishop sang “Fooled around and Fell in Love”.
We slow danced and swayed to the music as the half bottle of liquor sloshed back and forth in her leg in rhythm to the song belting out across the speakers.
I say we “slow danced”, it was more like two ships listing to and fro slowly in the swells of the ocean or to the sloshing bottle of liquor in her prosthetic leg if you will.
It was magical
We laughed and danced together like Fred and Ginger through every slow song that night. Holly’s leg didn’t come flying off and nobody made fun of her either.
I made several jokes that “she danced really good for a one legged girl”
Of which she responded with, “You should see me do the Bunny Hop”
We laughed and had the time of our young lives.
Perhaps it was fueled by the “enhanced” punch but I don’t think so.
It was just special
Fifteen minutes before eleven o’clock I pulled into Holly’s parent’s driveway.
I held her hand and walked her to the porch and she surprised me by kissing me.
It wasn’t a kiss that said “I Love You”
It said “Thank you”
Then she thanked me for a great night and the “perfect dance” and she said she would never forget it and even though she may have forgotten it, I haven’t.
A short time later we both graduated from High School
Holly attended a local Junior College so she could still work on her daddy’s farm with her brothers and sisters and I was walking on at the University of Alabama attempting to play football.
A couple of years later Holly found her farm boy and was married and the last I heard they had a passel of children together.
I think about Holly from time to time because she was so much fun, an outgoing spring of life. I truly hope her husband knows what a real star he married.
But I will tell you this…..
I better not ever hear of him being mean or hurtful to Holly.
Or I might just decide to show up on her doorstep one day with a bouquet of flowers and
Sweep her off her Foot