Meeting Tiny Dancer
I don’t like the symphony. I don’t like ballet, either. At least, that’s what I think.
Last time I went to a symphony, I was ten years old, perhaps. My mom made me go - sorry, took me - to see the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The concert lasted 19 hours, and I didn’t care for it.
So much for culture. Mama tried.
As for ballet, I’ve never seen it but just know I wouldn’t like it. I did see Miss Piggy do ‘Swine Lake’ on an episode of the Muppets. That pretty much confirmed my feelings on ballet.
I’m not a cultured guy. I’m just not. Getting older hasn’t helped. Instead of branching out, I’m digging my heels in, like I’m better off not experiencing new things.
Stubborn, lazy, ornery… pick one.
Word came I’d be meeting a cousin I’ve never met before. It’s odd to say that, but we live far apart. And don’t I have enough family already?
Anyway, he was gonna be where I was gonna be, so I’d finally get to meet him. And his wife.
Since he and I have social media in common, I knew he was married to a dancer from China. Not just any dancer, she dances leading roles for the Martha Graham Dance Company.
While I was looking forward to meeting her, there was a part of me that wasn’t so sure. Wouldn’t meeting her mean I’d eventually have to go watch her perform? And isn’t modern dance like ballet and therefore on the list of stuff I don’t want to see?
As she entered our house, I played gracious host and asked if she’d like something to drink. I had tea. I was confident Chinese drink tea and felt well equipped.
“Got any bourbon,” she asked.
Oh, I had bourbon. In fact, I’ll be upfront about this: I’m a bourbon snob. While I absolutely do not buy bourbon based on price, I like good bourbon. It’s expensive sometimes.
I pour a little over ice as she requests. She sips like a pro and approves. She’s little-bitty; I’m betting she can’t hold her liquor.
I was a bit concerned about the menu. I wasn’t serving rice and wasn’t sure she’d eat steak. Aren’t cows sacred in China?
No? Wrong country? People in China eat something other than rice?
I’m kidding. Chinese probably think Americans only eat McDonalds. I’m not offended by that, actually.
“I love steak,” she informs me.
Turns out, she loves about everything edible, especially everything Southern. Bacon, biscuits, gravy… even fried okra, which I was also serving that night.
I learned something else that evening: dancers have a very active metabolism. Planning the meal, we had cooked large, figuring to have leftovers on another night later in the week. There were none.
Tiny Dancer can eat.
I also learned she has expensive tastes in bourbon. Later in the night, we did a blind tasting. Her favorite was Elmer T. Lee. There’s a store near me that sells Elmer for $199 a bottle when they have it to sell at all. Of course that would be her favorite!
But she was sweet and we liked her. So what happens next…?
“We’d love to see you perform,” says my wife. “Got any shows coming up in the South?”
No. Nope. Nuh-uh, I’m thinking to myself. She doesn’t.
She does. And in just a couple of weeks.
Dang it, boy!
I’ll do a time-jump here and tell you seeing her perform was a fine experience. Would I do it again? She’s family, so, um, yeah.
I kid, I kid.
After the show, we invited her to dinner. Two really fortunate things make this possible. First, there was another couple with us, so we could split the check. Secondly, there was a title pawn shop nearby where we could obtain financing for the meal.
It was a really good time, but I’m glad we live on opposite ends of the country. Girl knows I have good bourbon, and I still haven’t gotten the title to my car back yet.