Things We Learn At Dance Lessons


The Tuesday evening West Coast Swing dance was over. We successfully completed number 4 out of 5 beginner classes. A new friend, Joanne, spoke as we put on hats and coats.”There is another Contra Dance this Saturday night up Black Diamond Road. You goin’? Asked Joanne.

“I am going. I had so much fun at the last one,” I replied. “You going?”

“Yes I am! Want to meet up at the old Fairview school house and we can carpool to black Diamond?” Asked Joanne, as we walked off the dance floor at the end of the lesson.

“Sure!” I said. “What about Bob?”

She answered as we both turned to look at him, standing a short distance away. “I’m trying to convince him but he’s not sure. There may be some others who want to go too.” She continued, “Contra is so much easier than Swing. I’ve been doing Contra for thirty years and I know both genders, so it’s easy to me. With Contra, it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake or not. It’s just a lot of fun.” I agreed with her, and took a mental note of her easy manner. I looked at Bob again. He seemed calm and shy and sweet and her relaxed vibe might just succeed convince him to go to Contra and live a little on the wild side, I thought.

She said, “I’ll work on Bob for Saturday’s Contra.” She gave me her card and I agreed to call her to confirm our plans. I glanced down and immediately liked the card. I knew Joanne owned a pet pig and that she ran a home-based business but I had no idea she was so diversified. The card read: Hole-in-the-Fence Farm. Grass Fed Lamb and Mutton, Pastured Chickens & Eggs, Icelandic & Wensleydale Fleece, Roving & Yarn. Antibiotic, Hormone & Drug Free.

Wait. I understood all of it except one thing. Roving? As in, “I’ll go a-roving no more”? As in the really old capstan sea chanty about the sailor and the Amsterdam maid whose eyes and perhaps other parts did plenty a-roving of her own? Or did it have something to do with a-roving migration patterns of Icelandic and Wensleydale sheep? Wait. Sheep don’t go a-migratin’. Right. Or, does yarn go a-roving? I was a-gettin’ close. Hmm, I resolved to look it up when I got home. When I drove out of the dark, misty parking lot, I turned on the windshield wipers so I could see better, and noticed Joanne and Bob, who stood, a-chatting in the fog. No doubt she was working on him to come to the Contra Dance Saturday night. I craned my neck and looked upward through the swipes on my windshield and saw a full moon, whose silver circle was frizzy with moisture as it began it’s roving from one blue edge of night to the other. I was at peace.

When I got home, I looked up “roving” in the dictionary. It is wool run through a carding machine, kind of like messy hair being brushed for the first time. After the carding process, the fibers mostly go the same direction, but a few go contrary to the general flow of the yarn, which produces a fuzzy and soft texture. I realized life is like that kind of yarn sometimes, and I hoped the end result would be something interesting, soft, and durable. Oh, the things I learn at dance lessons.