Good Old Mountain Music

Daily Prompt: Let’s Dance
by Krista

We were kids. Probably around five or six years-of-age. Being that my father played the fiddle at dances, and there wasn’t alcohol allowed on the premises, everybody drifted in to all the dances held; even babies. The entire family bundled into a sleigh or wagon drawn by horses, with irons hot off the kitchen cook stove, wrapped in old scraps of blankets. This kept us warm until we got to the one-room school where the dance was to take place. My brother would have been four years younger. He would lay on some straw covered with a feather-tick and fall asleep to all the musical sounds floating in the air. Fiddles, guitars, harmonicas, and spoons. Yes, spoons. These improvised for drums to keep beat.

Keeping in time to the music, the musicians feet bounced in a jig sort of way, also keeping with the rhythm. A friend and I, the only two about the same age that were not as shy as many others, decided we would give it a whirl. We danced every dance that one night together. She was a bit older and had been to more dances than me, so she taught me the steps. It didn’t take long to pick up the different styles. Before music lessons, we knew the 1-2-3, 1-2-3 count of the waltz. Of course, listening to my father practice when he had a spare moment, I’d dance around the room and my mother taught me different steps once she saw I wanted to learn.

At that time, my favourite was the Schottische and the Butterfly. Hopping and swirling with your partner was the jest of those dances, and when those particular dances were over, always three were played one right after the other, everyone was completely worn out. But not us kids. The one dance we couldn’t do, and was meant for only grown ups at the time, was the Square Dance. It, being a bit more formal, and needing to rely on the instructions given by the Square Dance Caller, was intimidating for younger children. The adults didn’t want to get all in a jumble and lose their places; otherwise, everyone got lost in the shuffle. It was fun to watch when everyone knew their places. You really had to know what you were doing.

A few years later, the dance that became popular was the jive. Today people still do it, but it has changed somewhat. My very favourite dance now is the fox-trot. Some know it as the two-step, and others turn it into a jive here and there. It’s so much fun.

To this day, I love to dance. It’s a time for letting loose, and simply forgetting. It’s a time to be happy and to push those nasty negatives out the door. It’s a time to get exercise. C’mon. Let’s Dance!


10 thoughts

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  5. I love all kinds of folk dancing, but none of my family or friends will try any of it with me. Waaaaaaaaaa My granddaughter loves to dance, and I’m still (at age 60+) still hoping I can convince my hubby to try square dancing. Gotta dance !! I enjoyed reading about your family dancing and making music.

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