Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Two Dollars

After the swing dance in Hales Gym, there was going to be a dance marathon at The 'Sco. When the swing music stopped, David and Daniel and Rachel and Ben were talking about it, and David mentioned that it would cost $4.00 to get in.

When Trudy walked to the other side of the gym to get her coat, Ben leaned over and whispered in my ear.

"Dad, do you have two dollars? I need four for the dance, but I only have two."

Two dollars. I got out my wallet and gave him two dollars.

Does Oberlin plan these things with the kids so that parents feel they're still needed when they come to visit?

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Swing Dance Lessons

After dinner we dropped Ben off at his dorm and went to change into our fancy clothes. Then with some time to kill, we went to Finney Chapel to hear the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble. Knowing we'd have to leave early, we sat in the balcony in the back. The music was great, and the view of the band and the stage and the (quiet) organ pipes at the far end of the hall was stunning. Our 30 minutes passed in a flash, and we snuck out the doors in the back corner and crossed the street to go to the gym.

It turned out that Ben was in the chapel, too. As we walked out, we could see his silhouette crossing Lorain Street ahead of us. We called to him. He turned and smiled and came over to join us. We walked up the steps and into the gym together.

There were a few parents there for the lessons, but it was mostly kids. Most of us were beginners, although it was obvious that some were more beginners that others. The swing club hosts dances periodically, and each starts with a half-hour lesson, so many of the students were at least partially familiar with the steps. Of course, Trudy and I weren't.

Slow, slow, quick/quick. Slow, slow, quick/quick. We'd talk ourselves thru the songs so as not to get lost. But everyone was pretty much going thru the same thing, so it wasn't as intimidating as it could have been. And as the time went by, it got more fun and was particularly fun to watch the kids (and to watch Ben). I've never had that chance before. He was dancing with different partners going thru the slow, slow, quick/quick steps faster than we were, periodically waving to us from the other side of the gym with a broad smile on his face.

So the time went by, and the steps got a bit easier, and then the 30 minutes were over. That's when the real swing dancers showed up. So there they were, flying around the gym twirling and swinging with arms and legs (literally) flying in the air. And there we were, Trudy and I, at the periphery doing our slow, slow, quick/quick, trying not to lose count, getting better with our turns and most of all trying not to get hit. We kept at it. We got better. But at that point, despite our best efforts, we didn't see any slow, slow, quick/quick in any of the steps those guys were taking.

Ben's friends, Rachel, Daniel and David, showed up. We said hi. They danced. We danced. We all got hot and sweaty. And around 10:30 the dance ended. We said our goodbyes to Ben and his friends, who had plans for another dance at the Sco in the basement of Wilder Hall, and we walked (slowly) back to the car.

I was sore for four days.

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