Shall We Dance?

I figure that I have several audiences of this blog. The one that is preeminent to me is – me. It’s not just the “Harry’s Diary” entries its all of them. I suspect some readers are interested in what I disclose about myself too although I doubt that this is a huge percentage. Interestingly, I know of no family members who read my blog. Another group would be people who are interested to know that is happening in the school district. This may be the largest group. Another group might be folks who have discovered a different voice on the subject of politics in general.

Because I receive so little feedback I just don’t know. I don’t know which audience I have disappointed the mosy by my recent blog drought. As I indicated in recent posts I’m preoccupied with what may very well turn out to be my last meeting with my Uncle. I just haven’t had the concentration to write and edit posts even on subjects of great interest to me. I am setting aside some time tonight and tomorrow morning to blog a little but I can’t guarantee which of my audiences will be pleased. This post is about family.

I have had a marvelous time with my Uncle and his family for the past three days. Tomorrow will be my last before I fly home to Duluth on Saturday. The tone for this mini reunion was set within moments of stepping into Uncle Frank’s home and shaking his hand and launching into some time tested family joshing. He was flat on his back in his new permanent bedroom in the living room. If he wasn’t pleased as punch to see me he is one heck of an actor. I was certainly glad to see him and see him in good spirits.

Here’s what Uncle Frank can see from his Denver apartment.

I came in part to interview my Uncle about family history. So far I’ve taken seven dense pages worth of notes including on a long forbidden topic – his service in Korea. He has also given me some nice anecdotes on the subject of my Grandfather, George Robb. They were neighbors briefly before Frank went off to war.

Now, on to the dance. My cousin Devin shared a memory with me which led to another one from his Mother, my Aunt Shalah. They both told me about my Father’s dancing and reminded me of my experience with Dad on that subject.

1st – Devin took a while to find his way as a young man. After a less than middling public school experience some advisor suggested that he consider veterinary medicine. He likes animals. As a kid he loved the books of Gerald Durrell about that author’s quirky love of animals which blossomed on the Greek Island of Corfu. Some of you will jump and say you have just been watching that story unfold on Public Television.

Devin wrote an admiring letter to Mr. Durrell who ran a private zoo on Britain’s Jerrsey island which is so close to the French coast that the Nazi’s captured and held it all through the 2nd World War. Durrell offered my cousin a job working on the island and, by coincidence, my parents decided to take a European trip with my sister that summer. They added Jersey to their itinerary and after getting the Island tour they took Devin to the French mainland for a little exploration which ended most unexpectedly at a ballroom. Devin told me he was astonished at what an accomplished ballroom dancers my parents were.

2nd – Now I must share the link to a column I wrote long ago about my experience with my Father vis-à-vis dancing You really must read it before continuing to my Aunt’s recollection –

I mean it. Don’t go any further until you follow the link above and read that old reminiscence.

3rd – Finally, Aunt Shalah set me straight. In the late 1940’s Dad came back to Kansas from the navy and enrolled in college. He was as enthusiastic about dancing as he had been in high school. He regularly attended college dances. My Aunt Shalah said that there was a collection of about eight young lady friends who clustered together at these dances where my Father was a regular and avid dancer.

Sadly, none of the young ladies were eager to dance with Dan Welty – a second time. They would warily keep their eyes open for him lest he stride into their midst. Properly alerted some of them would try to make their escape to the powder room. Hiding rarely worked for long.

My Father was universally regarded as a terrible dancer. He would suddenly move in a different direction without advance warning or take two steps where one would have been called for. And he so wanted to dance with every girl. Seldom did the members of this clutch of maidens evade a trip to the ballroom floor with my father.

The significance of this story has little to do with dancing, however. It has everything to do with my current mania for collecting family stories. Its significance? Never rely on a single source in your pursuit of the truth. You may be Trumped.