After The Dance

SO, WE WENT TO OUR FIRST DANCE RECITAL. Unfamiliar with the protocol, we arrived very early as we had been advised. Soon the parking lot begin to fill with vehicles carrying little dancers, each with their entourage, some carrying costumes and bags, some running along behind their little Shirley Temples, spraying hair spray, glitter and something that gave the little girls a sort of orange tint. There were bored-looking brothers, dads with iPhones, grandparents with Kodaks, and others bearing enough flowers to make every florist in town profitable even before Mother’s Day.

Soon our tiny dancer arrived. My first thought: “How could this be? How could she be growing up so fast? We’ll turn around soon and she’ll be on the arm of some creepy boy on her way to the prom.”

As we walked into the performing arts center, I was surprised to find plenty of seats available. But quickly we discovered that evey seat in the joint was SAVED. And their saved status was guarded by some aunt or someone, with bedazzled jeans, at least one visible tattoo or two, and a too-tight t-shirt that said, “Don’t Mess With The B!” So I didn’t.

Soon the house lights dimmed. The first group was herded on stage to “Wild Thing” by The Troggs, a song I used to play as the drummer in a little rock band at teen dances back in the 60s. I will admit they were too cute not to be entertaining, althought they apparently abandoned every move they had been taught, opting for an improvisational style.

It will come as no surprise when I tell you that once my Grand-Girl’s group FINALLY tapped onto the stage, the lights got a little brighter, a hush fell over the crowd, and she danced and danced and danced. And if I had had once of those bouquets, I would have thrown it onto the stage, although apparently you only do that at figure skating recitals.

If you know me well, you know I pretty much have a C.S. Lewis quote for every occasion. This one is no different.


“As long as you notice and have to count the steps, you are not yet dancing, but only learning to dance.” —C.S. Lewis

At first each little dancer was aware of the crowd, and some were frozen, as in standing stone-still, not "Frozen" like that movie that all of these little princesses are so obsessed with.
Some were carefully watching their teachers who were doing the moves to the dance just offstage in the wings.

But there were times when most of them, almost losing themselves in the moment and confident of their learned lessons, just danced.

Not that I have to make a moral of this story, but isn’t life fun when we just quit counting the steps and dance? Saturday I did a lot of dancing. Not the kind that anyone could see. But I did the inner dance of a very, very proud Pops.

Thank you Karlee, for teaching your old Pops to dance.

Going To A DANCE

Sometimes people ask (well, someone did; once), “What does the name of your blog mean, ‘About Pops’”?

It sort of has to do with a stage of life, what I call the second-coming-of-age and all that comes with it, stuff like: looming retirement, senior adulthood, your body committing mutiny. But, then there is the glorius side of it all, being a grandfather, or as I’m known to my Grand-Girls, “Pops”.

This Saturday morning is a very exciting for a Pops like me. I’m going to my first dance recital. While I am excited, I’m also a bit anxious. You see I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition where evangelist warned that Jesus would almost certainly return during a dance at Teen Town. “Is that where you want to be when The King Comes!?” And in my 13 year-old brain I’m thinking “As opposed to…?” (More than likely I’m thinking how does he get his hair to stay all puffed up in that big hairdo?”)

Looking back, I think I wouldn’t have minded at all if Jesus had come back during a school dance. I think he would have enjoyed it. In fact, I think even the full-time evangelist would have had a good time if he could have chiseled through all the pomade keeping his pompadour in place and let his hair down.

Today’s recital stars our oldest Grand-Girl, Karlee. I think maybe there will be other little dancers there too.

Thats Karlee, on the left. Today she will be the star!

Thats Karlee, on the left. Today she will be the star!

If you have a problem with me unbashedly bragging on her, in the words of Steve Martin: “Well, exxxxuuuussssee me!!!”

You see this tiny dancer is the one who made me POPS. She has patiently turned me in to a dewy-eyed, sentimental, very proud, old man.

I am so grateful that she can dance without shame. That she can know the joy, the freedom, the beauty of being a little artist. 

I could go on and on and on, but I have a dance to go to. And, if Jesus were to be ready, I think he would really enjoy this, because the children will be dancing.