by DiVoran Lites
Chapter Thirty Three
Letter to Bill continued.
Brother, this is a long letter, but I thought I’d work on it when I had time then I could put it all in one envelope and save on postage.
I’ll tell you about the dance. Once the band got going, every uncle and male cousin asked Ellie to dance. Believe me, she learned fast to keep her feet out of the way of their clodhoppers. Usually no man asks any woman to dance except his wife and sometimes his sister, but Ellie has a way about her that puts you at ease, and she’s so daggone shiny, they couldn’t help themselves. Dieter, then Arn went off the band stand to dance with her, so I did too. When I got right up to her I suddenly turned shy and didn’t know what to say. I might have chickened out altogether, but she smiled and that got me.
The band started the Varsouviana and she shook her head saying, “I can’t do this dance.”
“All right.” I turned away thinking she didn’t want to dance with me.
“Could you teach me, though?” she asked and my heart flipped over.
“Why sure! Here’s how we start.” We had a couple of laughs wrestling for a hold, and it came to me why people like to dance so much. It so’s they can hold each other. All that practice, just so you can put your arms around somebody, Mother never told us about that part. At first Ellie couldn’t get the hang of it, so I showed her a few steps and sang those words the teacher (Ma) taught us: put your little foot, put your little foot, put your little foot right down.
“I hate to tell you, but what I’m seeing is not a little foot,” she said. I laughed so long and hard she finally had to slap me to make me shut up. Ha, not hard, just a tap on the cheek.
She soon got the hang of it and we rotated around the floor with all the other dancers. Throughout the evening, Nancy and Gertrude took turns with their three hefty brothers and with dad’s brother, David, who lost his wife last year.
I was watching Signor Solano’s grandson, Enrico, when he left the dance. I could see him walk over to the man in the long black coat. What else would you expect from someone who likes to spend his nights in the saloon?
Between dances when folks were resting, he went over and bowed to Ellie like those foreigners do, but then he collapsed on the floor as if all the hot air had gone out of him. The band began to play again and the grandson struggled to his feet and pulled Ellie from her chair. That was when I laid my mandolin down and everybody got out of my way. It only took me three strides to get there. I grabbed the guy’s collar in one hand and his belt in the other, drug him across the dance floor, and threw him in the back of the pickup. By this time all the outside drinkers and the inside dancers had come to watch what they hoped would be a good fight. Too bad that man doesn’t have any fight in him.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Ellie was furious – with me! “You didn’t need to get rough with him, I could have handled it,” she said.
“If you could, why didn’t you?” I had to admire her spunk, but I knew which parts of how you act belong to the man and which belong to the woman. She didn’t. I wished somebody had taught her to tend to the woman part and leave the man part to me.
“You didn’t give me a chance. You knocked him out.” She seemed disappointed in me and that was the worst thing of all.
“He passed out from drinking.”
“Why did you have to go and make a scene?” Ellie lowered her voice. “What must your family think of me — a woman that men fight over?” We heard Enrico moan from the truck bed. She went over and peeked in.
“Ooh, Enrico, are you all right. I’m sorry Aldon did this to you. Are you hurt?” she was all soft and loving.
“I’ll take him home,” she said heading for the driver’s door of my truck.
“You can’t drive my truck.”
“I can drive anything with wheels,” she said. “I’m a woman, not some kind of hothouse flower. Get it through your thick skull that I can take care of myself. Up until now, Aldon, it has been a perfect day. I’ve never had a better one. It’s too bad it had to end like this.”
“Better that he passed out so he couldn’t hurt you. You drive the Touring car.” I told her, and I got in the truck and drove away with Enrico bouncing around in the back.
DiVoran’s Promise Posters, Paintings from Go West as well as other art can be purchased as note cards and framable art