by Debra Erfert
This past Saturday our ward, or congregation, of our church had a potluck luncheon. Its theme was a Cowboy Rodeo Roundup in celebration of the 170th anniversary of the Relief Society, one of our nation’s oldest women’s organizations. We were challenged to collect 170 items—any item—for a local charity as part of our celebration. We decided to collect 170 pounds of non-perishable food for the community food bank during our luncheon. We had barbeque pulled-pork sandwiches, plus nummy side dishes and desserts made by ward members. To get as many people as possible to come out on a busy Saturday afternoon, we promised a semi-professional photo booth, (which turned out totally fabulous) I also advertised we would have an instructor teach us country line dancing and the two-step.
Most everything went according to my plans. (I’m the whole activities committee. We have a small ward.) The weather was nearly perfect! Can’t beat 80 degrees during the winter, can you? Did I forget to mention this event was held outdoors in the church’s parking lot? Oops! Well, the slight breeze made keeping the plastic denim looking table clothes in place interesting, but otherwise, the outdoor venue was the perfect place to have our dance.
Oh, yes! Our country dance. I’ve heard over the past few years about delegating jobs, and I learned how to delegate with the best of them. One of the activities I handed over to a friend was finding someone to teach the electric slide and the country two-step. I thought these simple steps would be good wholesome dancing for the youth in our ward. And besides, I wanted to learn them, too.
The night before our activity, I stayed up late and downloaded two hours worth of clean country music from iTunes onto my iPod. Not an easy task, I tell you. If you’ve every truly listened to the words of any song, country or pop, you may be surprised to hear the suggestive sexual situations, or a curse word or three, or lyrics about drinking, or smoking! Oh, my! Finding 30 songs was almost impossible. I said almost! I did finally achieve my goal, and went to bed with a smile on my face and happy thoughts of doing some boot scootin’ the next day.
The only problem I had was with the couple that came to teach the dancing. They had their own ideas about what kind of dancing was proper for our youth and what kind wasn’t. While I wanted line dancing, where everyone could participate, if they so desired, this couple insisted that teaching the youth of our church a dance where “they didn’t have to be part of a couple was wrong.” It was also “wrong for a group of girls to get out on the floor with their little girlfriends and dance together.” I tried my best to understand their theory, but my disappointment added to my already growing migraine I woke up with that morning. I wouldn’t get my dance choices. They would be teaching the Virginia Reel. Being the ever-diligent committee person, I dragged my husband out onto the parking lot dance floor and smiled, while mentally spinning back in time to my junior high school gym class.
Yes, my friends, I learned to square dance when I was a youth.
Is it wrong for the youth of today to country line dance? I’m really trying to understand this concept, and since I didn’t have any daughters, maybe those of you who do have girls, grown or not, could give me a little advice on how not to take this couples' criticism of my dance choices personally. I really thought I had thicker skin.