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Since this is mere looking back, I never danced at any of my three weddings. I have never gone to a prom, a father-daughter dance.

I have never tap danced on Broadway with Tommy Tune, or in high heels and backwards with Fred Astaire.

The few dances I went to with permission of my mother ended up with whispers and warnings from friends in the school auditorium draped with crepe paper, in some attempt to disguise the other use of the room as a gymnasium. My father bursting in, reeking of gin or whiskey, above the sweatiness of teenagers, would grab me by the arm and drag me out, drive me home, and ground me for two weeks.

But back to wishful thinking, I also never danced with John Wayne although I had some custom made cowgirl boots, long gone, just like him. I guess the timing of our lives was off.

If Michael Flatly had asked, I certainly would have said yes to Riverdance or Lord of the Dance. Same goes for Michael Jackson's Thriller or This is It tour. I hear Neil deGrasse Tyson dances a mean salsa and John Travolta anytime, anyplace; I don't care that he's a Scientologist.

I have a list of women I would dance with too...but of all the men and women, it is my mother's brother who I never got to know except through his letters and her stories, that I would do anything for a Lindy Hop that lasted long enough.

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Some years ago I met a girl whose name I now do not recall.

She was a bridesmaid in a wedding I was almost a part of, almost, but not quite. Her sister married a friend of mine, who invited me to come along for the weekend, even though he had enough guys, because he knew I was bored and unemployed. When the best man got sick and missed the ceremony another groomsman took over and then I became a fill-in usher, kind of.

So this girl and I, we had some time to talk in the lobby before the ceremony while the groom and his friends worked out details of who would do what. This was also while the parents and grandparents of the couple argued over propriety.

She had red hair and freckles, I am sure of that. She also had a wicked laugh and green eyes that suggested a quick wit and a dangerous good time. She made me promise her a dance that night at the reception, but I wasn't at the table with the wedding party, so it didn't happen.

Lots of drinking did happen though, and most of it was not at the reception. I know I didn't see her later that night (I am sure I would have remembered) or the next day, when we all packed up and went home.

Her friend (the bride), saw me a few months later and told me that the girl was sorry she didn't get to say goodbye. Say Goodbye Properly, was the phrase she used (an interesting choice of words I thought).

I probably smiled and told her Me, too.

I think about that girl whenever I go to a wedding, but to be honest, it's hard to look back on a moment we didn't have, or a dance that never took place.


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