Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"To the Ladies and Gentlemen of the Court"

That's how the invitation began. It went on, in fancy script, like this:

"On this festive occasion, celebrating the births of the fair ladies {Name} and {Name}, we humbly beseech ye as a family to partake with us in a joyous evening of fellowship with ballroom and square dancing. We asketh thy presence between five and nine at the {Place} on the Eleventh of January.

Resist thou the urge to bring gifts, instead a small remittance of three to five dollars per family will be graciously accepted to defray the cost of the square dance caller. We asketh ye to honor an old tradition of bringing a platter of finger food. Come thou in regal modest attire, fitting for an elegant evening.

Worry thou not if dancing is not your forte, guidance will be provided. If in your soul thou desireth a special guest to attendeth the event with ye, please useth the futuristic telephonothingy and call {Number} or {Number} to let your hosts take part in the knowledge of how many plan to bless our presence that night."

As you can see, the stage was set for an evening of formal dress but casual attitude.

And that's exactly what it was. Our family arrived to find, as best I could estimate, about a hundred people, mostly homeschool families, all prepared to have a great time. The girls had all dressed in their fancy best, prom dresses and wedding outfits. Even the guys(mostly) were in nice clothes-- some even in ties!

(Interesting note: We had a busy day yesterday and didn't get home from church and a reception till late afternoon. At that time, I changed my jeans, that I wore to church, for a skirt, to attend the party. How ironic is that?)

There is nothing like being in a group of people that are bent on enjoying themselves and each other. Most of us knew either nothing or very little about square dancing, but we all jumped in anyway, doing our best, laughing at our mistakes, applauding ourselves when we did it right.

The square dance caller did an excellent job of walking us through, teaching us how to do the steps. One dance had us all in a circle around the entire perimeter of the room (which was basically a basketball court with a stage at one end). Later, we divided up into groups of four couples to do square dancing. In the middle of the evening we had a break and stopped for water and the aforementioned finger food.

It was a blast. Even DrummerDude, who had brought his camera to hide behind, allowed himself to be prevailed upon to set aside the picture-taking and augment the number of guys, and ended up thoroughly enjoying himself.

I could almost imagine myself in a different era, at a village dance, where somewhat isolated farm families come together, taking a break from their hard work of making a living, to have fun and fellowship, and to give the young people a chance to get to know each other. In a way, this event was just that, because homeschool families can feel a little isolated, in that we are all so busy with schooling, and family, and work (often a family business), and church, that we don't have time to get to know each other, outside of an occasional field trip.

I talked to the mother of one of the birthday girls about the party, and she said the girls (who are homeschool seniors) did it all: they planned it, rented the building, hired the dance caller, sent the invitations (and I can imagine the fun they had writing those invitations!)-- everything. She said it was an exercise in making dreams come true. If you have a dream, she told the girls, let's not just talk about it, let's make it happen. And they did. The girls had a dream of a big family event where people of all ages come together to have a good time. And it happened.

Makes me want to try it myself.


Ornery's Wife said...

Oh, that sounds fun! The hilarity that would ensue with Ornery dancing is enough to make me laugh just thinking about it. He is NOT very coordinated with things like that, but I've always enjoyed putting things like that together.

So what dream are you thinking you want to have come true?

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