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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Father-Daughter Dance

by Terry McLaughlin

There are many moments in a fortunate young girl's life that only a father can share. One of the most memorable nights of my life was a high school father-daughter dance. And for me–fortunate girl that I was–that night was a twofer.

My dad was away on a business trip and wouldn't return in time for the dance, so he asked his dad to step in. When Papa showed up at my door, I quickly discovered one of the benefits of having a date with a much older man: he presented me with my first orchid corsage. He treated me like a princess, and when we arrived at the dance, he flirted with my friends. And he told me, as he pulled me close, that he preferred to dance with his favorite girls cheek-to-cheek.

I can still recall the warmth of Papa's face against mine and the way he hummed the dance tune in my ear before swinging me away for a stylish twirl. Shhh, don't tell Dad–Papa was much lighter on his feet.

Dancing with Papa was so much fun I forgot my disappointment that Dad wouldn't be able to make it. But near the end of the evening, Papa laughed and pointed toward the high school auditorium entrance. I'll never forget the thrill of watching my dad stride through that door and my delight as he drew me into his arms.

There was one more treat that evening: meeting Edward G. Robinson, whose granddaughter was a fellow student. Mr. Robinson took my hand with one of his wide, sweet smiles. "Charmed," he said.

He was right. I was charmed that night.

What special memories do you have of times you spent with your father?

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At 9:40 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

One of my favorite memories of my dad involved rootbeer. In the summer, he taught us kids how to make rootbeer, and we stored it in our basement when we lived in Maryland. He wasn't sure how well it would work when we moved to Louisiana, but didn't exactly share his concerns with my mom. We stored the first batch in the garage since we had no basement. After waiting the appropriate amount of time for fermentation, we brought a bottle into the house. I think Dad had just arrived home from work and was still in his dress clothes.

Have you ever seen a geyser? As the bottlecap was removed, the rootbeer shot up and out and left a brown spot on the ceiling. Rootbeer was everywhere. My mother announced to the family that the rest of it could only be opened outside and that our rootbeer making days were over. Dad admitted that he'd been afraid the heat would make it a little too volatile. After a little time, he convinced her that we could continue to make it, but only in the winter!

At 11:30 AM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

ROFLOL! Oh, Mo, that story is priceless. And it's exactly something a fun dad would do :-).

Is rootbeer hard to make? What are the taste differences between homemade and store-bought rootbeer? I'm a big fan of rootbeer floats :-).

At 12:00 PM, Blogger Judy said...

What wonderful memories, Mo and Terry. Thank you for sharing them.

At 1:21 PM, Blogger Mo H said...

The difference between homemade and store bought rootbeer is that homemade has a slight yeasty taste, and it's a lot less expensive--unless you have to paint your ceiling! Rootbeer is pretty easy. You buy the extract and sugar and yeast. Use tap water. I guess the greatest expense would be the bottles and caps and the bottle capper. We had bottles--remember returnables? And for some reason my dad had a capper. Maybe from his wine-making? We mixed the rootbeer in a clean large trashcan, then used a pitcher and funneled it into the bottles.

At 1:48 PM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

You're welcome, Judy :-)!

That does sound easy, Mo. I'm wondering if the carbonation level could be adjusted somehow--if that's a result of varying the ratios of sugar and yeast.

I'd love to give this a try, but if there's ever a fermentation experiment at this wine-loving household, it's more likely to involve grapes ;-).

At 6:37 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

What lovely, lovely stories, ladies!

All of my memories of my Dad are so special because I was and still am a "Daddy's Girl." I miss him every day, especially now that my writing dreams are closer to coming true.

My Dad worked all the time. After the Air Force he was an auto mechanic and as shop foreman he was always the last to leave. My very first full voice recital was set on a day when Dad got caught up in an emergency repair. I was SO disappointed he wouldn't be there. I sang my first set and we were set to start my second set when in comes my Dad in his greasy work uniform. I didn't care. He saw in the front row and applauded so loudly and stood up at the end. It meant the world to me.

The day he walked me down the aisle was also special. My DH and I got married at the chapel of Judson College where I went to undergrad school. We were standing in the hallway outside the chapel and all of the girls in the dorm upstairs were hanging over the banisters looking at me. I was a little nervous and said "What are they looking at?" He said "You sweetheart. They've never seen anybody so beautiful." And then we started down the aisle.

At 3:02 AM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

Ah, Louisa--your dad sounds like such a wonderful, special man.

Aren't we lucky to have such terrific models for the heroes in our books?

At 8:03 PM, Blogger Merrillee said...

I'm a day late, but I have to mention how my dad used to dance me around the room while I stood on top of his feet.

At 8:10 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Wow, Terry, great story! What a special night that was for you...

I do remember Dad taking all 5 of us in a convertible, along with our dog Snow, for ice cream downtown. We sat high on the back of the seat and licked our cones as he drove us back home. You can't do that legally any longer!


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