By Grant McGee: Local columnist
Lee Roy Parnell was in concert at the Clovis Civic Center for Dairy Fest two weeks ago. Lee Roy plays Texas boogie music and is one of my favorite guitarists. I had to go.
Lee Roy and his band were jamming away when a young guy and his partner decided to use the dance area in front of the stage.
And did they dance. I mean there was serious fancy footwork. And the arms were just as important to the dance as the feet. His left hand and her right hand were locked together and they’d pump those arms up and down to the beat.
“That doesn’t look like much fun,” said The Lady of the House.
“Yeah, looks like a lot of work,” I said, the two of us sitting on a bale of hay. This style of two-steppin’ looked like it required significant coordination, tough for a guy like me who can’t even dribble a basketball.
I’m from a part of the country where the dance style I learned was “The West Virginia Shuffle.” This is where you and your partner lean into each other and shuffle ’round the dance floor. For a boogie tune, a little hip-hop or fast country song, just shuffle faster. For a slow love song you cuddle up a little closer and slink around the dance floor.
The two-step was an alien concept to me.
When I walked into my first Albuquerque nightclub I immediately realized New Mexico wasn’t West Virginia.
Every other guy was wearing a snappy Stetson-style hat and shiny boots. I was wearing a worn-out fedora that had been dunked many times while canoeing. The turkey feather in the hatband didn’t help my appearance, nor did my rubber-soled suede half-boots.
Everyone on the dance floor moved like they’d actually taken lessons, feet moving in time to the music. After a couple of adult beverages I figured it was time to go dancing.
I asked a young lady for a turn on the floor. In no time at all she had danced me to the other side of the shiny floor then grabbed another partner.
A kindly woman, probably 40 years older than me, took pity and taught me the two-step. These instructions stayed in my head about five minutes.
A year later, a dance teacher in Roswell taught me the two-stepping method that I could keep in my head.
“‘Step, touch, step, touch, walk, walk,’” she said.
“That’s what you do with your feet.”
The problem was I ended up thinking so hard about what to do with my feet I couldn’t do anything else.
My partner would be chatting away while we’d ease around the dance floor but I wouldn’t know what she was saying at all. I’d just smile and nod because in my head I was repeating over and over, “Step, touch, step, touch, walk, walk.”
My dancing boots are long gone. Both of my old hats are gone too, the one with the turkey feather in it and the imitation Stetson I bought for my boot scootin’ days.
I originally thought The Lady of the House’s dancing days ended with the disco era. She finally told me we don’t dance because she doesn’t want to embarrass out on the floor.
That’s OK, this dancing business is just too much work for an ol’ boy who was born hungry and sleepy.
Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: