By Barb Hauge
Square dancing has come a long way from the rough sport it used to be in pioneer days. Now men are admonished to "Showcase Your Lady" with her layers of frilly petticoats and short Victorian gowns. We learn "styling" so that all motion is smooth and graceful; as if we were dancing on glass. Our dance across Europe in 1985 took my husband Art and I on a month-long tour with 22 couples, all in jackets of blue.
In Chester, England I lost the blue jackets. I was still shooting film. I had twenty-two jackets. I recrossed the Roman Wall and found those jackets of blue and said, "Dear Canadian friends, am I glad to see you" and danced with them too; good old jackets of blue!
Wales was a land of the big woolly sheep. Lovely pastoral scenes of green all put us to sleep. But Welsh miners in cities keep stirring the pot; for Iron Lady Maggie they keep things quite hot. Still, we found our chance to peacefully dance! To the north we met up with a fine Scottish mist. On the sore throat syndrome we all made the list. We found Edinburgh Castle a horrible place where dour Scottish Churchmen had Mary disgraced. By that castle we again took our stance, to square dance! That night at "Jamies" we all got together; danced the Scottish Fling and said, "To hell with the weather." The bagpipes were loud and the crowd it was merry. I'd found my clan tartan and was I happy? Very. We Bairds did our thing and danced the Highland Fling!
Guide Sue was quite tall with voice cultured and sweet; a fast pacer that no one could possibly beat. She sent us to banks for coin of each realm but banks seemed all broke. No money men held the helm. So we headed for France to Economically Dance.
From the White Cliffs of Dover to Belgium we sailed. Crowds joined in our dancing and nobody failed. The ferry took only coins so we couldn't eat lunch. We went hungry in Brussels with nothing to munch. Starvation did not enhance our hunger dance! Cosmos on the continent gave us Guide Bart whose cronies fondly call him "The Fart." Despite his best efforts we kept up the pace though he tries to loose tourists all over the place. Still, he helped find us our chance to square dance!
Leo, the driver, gets us around every bend though the bus swings and sways from front to back end. Like the French, he prefers his own parleyvous. You no savvy? Sorry. Tough for you! But he drove us clear through from Belgium to France to square dance! Most important of all to this journey is Ron who is forever putting us on. He is the master at every roast; that son-of-a-gun would con his grandmother's ghost! To escape his parlance, we square dance!
In Brussels they make lovely garments of lace. World's Fair exhibitions still were in place. We kept billfolds intact and outran all the hoods. United, our forces moved through all the woods. If pick-pockets took the chance, we'd make them dance! In Holland they made both diamond jewelry and cheese. Rijks Museum had pictures the whole world to please. But handbags were worn with straps around the neck. Canal cruises were crowded, still no one had a wreck. On Amsterdam we took our chance to quickly dance!
When the windmills of Holland came into view, we had arrived as everyone knew. Art's ancestors, from the land of the Zyder Zee had acres of flatland reclaimed from the sea. In his mom's honor we enjoyed our chance for a memory dance!