Bona fide dance classes mend head-slamming ways

Hunka Burnin' Hubby and I have been living on Tulsa time for the past few weeks. We've frequented Kokomo, too, though both destinations look more like a local gym than Oklahoma or a white-sand beach.

We've heard tunes by Don Williams and the Beach Boys so much we could sing them in our sleep.

"I was born to just walk the line. Livin' on Tulsa time. Livin' on Tulsa time."

It's an odd combination, I know, but there's a method to the madness. They drive the dance classes we've been taking lately.

"Aruba, Jamaica, ooo I wanna take ya', Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama!"

Hunka could use some sympathy if you're in the market to lend him a dose or two. I corralled him into taking country swing and cha cha classes without filling him in on all the details. The poor guy had no idea they would swallow more than a couple Thursday nights — four to be exact. He didn't ask. I didn't tell. Sue me.

I blame my manipulative ways on our son's wedding, which is a scant three months from now.

"We don't want to embarrass him during the parent dance," I plead to my disgruntled husband. "We want our new daughter-in-law to think we have a modicum of class, right?"

Hunka isn't buying it. This is a guy who, at the time of this writing, is ripping shingles off his shop — part of an ambitious list of projects he wants to accomplish before the big day arrives. We have a pile of elephant ear bulbs to get started in giant pots, and are pondering a kitchen redo.

I should mention the wedding is taking place in our backyard, and saying we have a lot to do to prepare for it is a ridiculous understatement. Dancing isn't a blip on the radar screen.

The truth is I've always wanted to learn to dance — real dances that don't involve standing in one place, and jerking around like someone slammed your head in a door. When we started dating in the early '80s, Hunka and I burned up a lot of dance floors at friends' weddings, as long as the speakers blared AC/DC, Van Halen, or Lynyrd Skynyrd. But the second Frank Sinatra or Johnny Cash took a turn, we ran for the chairs like drowning men to a life raft.

And that's how it's been ever since. It worked out fine, actually, since it gave Hunka plenty of time to schmooze the ladies at the cake table into slicing him a huge chunk of sugary sweet. But while he was enjoying dessert, I was checking out the generation that danced with purpose — face-to-face, hand on hip, arm on shoulder, one step up, and two steps back, with a swing or two tossed in for good measure. It looked classy and fun, and I swore to myself I'd learn how to do it someday.

Someday finally arrived, and we're giving it our all. Well, as much as our head-slammed-in-door habits will permit. Hunka's been a great sport about it, too, but he's expecting the torture to end this week — the silly, wonderful man.

I've put together a long playlist of Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra songs so we can practice in the coming months, too.

Tamera Schlueter

Tam Schlueter adopts a "strike-fast-and-keep-them-laughing" approach to writing. Her column appears every Thursday in the Hastings Tribune, and showcases the wonder of family, dogs, muscle cars, and folks with blue collars and no-nonsense attitudes.

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