Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dancing in the Moonlight

In his youth, Allen Palmer had the body of a Greek God and when he aged he was kick-ass cool, bright and amusing.  Allen's death was a loss to the entire neighborhood (and beyond) and so we had a Caribbean themed “Celebration of Life” party. Of course we did.

Allen Palmer, circa 1961
Shot during the filming of  "The Teahouse of the August Moon"

The place was jam packed with friends and family who wanted to pay their respects and remember their friend.  As the night wore on, people began grabbing the mike from the steel drummer and telling Allen stories. Many of them had known him their whole lives so they had lots of fond memories to recount. I had a story too, but mine remained untold. Until now.

Shortly after I met Allen, I added him to my bucket list. That was the day that I discovered he had been an instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studios, the Cadillac of dance institutions. I vowed on the spot to dance with him. I didn't know where, I didn't know when, but I knew. It WOULD happen.  

Jerry and I are extremely compatible in many ways, but as a couple we are lousy at dancing. Secretly, I've always blamed him.  It's not that we haven't tried - we have taken so many dancing lessons over the years that we should be the Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire of our time. I yearn to be that couple on the dance floor that performs so beautifully that everyone else stops in awe and watches their dazzling footwork. Clearly, I needed to dance with Allen Palmer.

And then, it happened. I will never forget that night. We were all at an outdoor concert at the clubhouse and people were dancing on the grass in front of the band. Suddenly, Becky Palmer materialized out of the darkness. “Please go dance with Allen!” she begged. “I'm exhausted.”

She didn't have to ask twice. It was a shining moment which will live forever in my memory. I floated over the lawn to the dance area just as a slow song started. And then Allen took me in his arms. 

God has a wicked sense of humor and this was the longest song of my life, spent stepping all over poor Allen's feet. At one point, I think I may have even kicked him in the shins. It was mortifying. People were looking at us, but not for the reason I had imagined. Turns out that it's me, not Jerry, that is rhythm impaired.

Armed with this insight, I have started my “Afterlife Bucket List” - things to do after I die. First on my list? “Take dancing lessons from Allen Palmer.”

P.S. Jerry, this post is your public apology and the only one you'll ever get so if you don't read it, it's not my fault.

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