The dancing champions of Hot Springs

By JASON PATTERSON,

No one who has ever seen me dance would accuse me of being graceful.

It’s not that I don’t like to dance. I probably love music more than the average person. I’m just not particularly good at it.

When I was in high school I was jokingly presented the “I even got that step,” award for a comment I made during one of our practices for an upcoming musical performance. We had finally arrived upon a dance move so simple that I even comprehended it with ease.

That didn’t happen very often.

Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately for my wife, who actually can dance with some style), I’ve never let my lack of skills stop me if I feel inspired.

I’ve never wasted any time caring about what other people think.

But still, I’ve sometimes envied people who can make dancing look effortless. That’s the way it should be.

I’ve always been content with my status, but last weekend my time to shine finally arrived.

My wife Jamie and I had taken our three children to Hot Springs, Arkansas to celebrate our 12th anniversary and Father’s Day, which happened to fall on the same day this year. That seemed appropriate to me because it allowed me an opportunity to celebrate my greatest blessings at the same time.

At the end of a day filled with exploring the city’s unique history and walking mountain trails, we found ourselves in the lobby of the Arlington Hotel listening to a band perform before we called it a night and walked to our nearby motel. The Arlington is an older hotel with a great atmosphere.

The band was good, and a lot of people were hitting the dance floor. Jamie and I were tired from walking all day, and dancing was really the furthest thing from my mind until my daughter Elsie grabbed my hand and said, “Let’s dance Daddy.”

That was a request that I cound not turn down regardless of how tired I might have been. When your little girl asks you to dance, then dance you must.

We stepped onto the dance floor just as an upbeat rock n roll tune began. Elsie was having so much fun that we really started to ham it up.

Before it was over I had twirled her in every direction, and we finished with me holding her arms and spinning so fast that her feet left the ground.

When the song was over most of the people in the lobby were applauding and cheering for us. We received numerous high fives as we made our way back to our table.

Elsie’s response to that was the biggest smile I’ve ever seen, and that is something that makes me happier than anything money can buy.

While we were dancing I kept noticing this little girl about Elsie’s age who was with her mother and watching us like she wanted to get out there with us. As we were getting ready to leave she shyly walked up to us and handed us a note that said, “You dance good.” The note was decorated with smiley faces and hearts.

As we left, Elsie still had that big smile as she proclaimed us the “dancing champions of Hot Springs.” She is still talking about that as one of the highlights of a wonderful trip.

It was certainly an unexpected highlight for me, but it was also proof that you should never hesitate when someone you love grabs you buy the hand and asks you to do something fun. 

That’s an easy step to take.

I even got it.