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CHARGE: Carlsbad, New Mexico

Carlsbad, New Mexico

November 2nd 2015  10:40am-11:00am

Phyllis Beaver, Anna, Don and Joe

On our way to Carlsbad Cavern we found Brantley State Park.  It looked like a beautiful spot to camp.  On the long road out there was a pull out on the side of the road by a small creek.  I could see another trailer parked with a campfire.  We decided to save the $14 and boondock (free off road camping) for the night.

I took a small hike around the area.  It was a lovely spot but full of trash.  I wandered by the creek and noticed that the other campers were trying to take a group photo.  Raven encouraged me to go help.  We chatted for a small amount of time.  They are 6 friends all over 70 years of age.  They had met at dance class at the senior center about 5 years ago.  They are all locals.  They meet here once a year to hang out, catch up, fish and play games.  We excused ourselves to the trailer for the night although they did invite us to stay and play games.

In the morning I took my time with coffee then headed back over to the creek.  Anna came out to meet me immediately.  I walked over to their trailers with them and started on my speech about my sabbatical project, hoping they might be interested…their first answer was no.  Phyllis had a sensitive back, Don had a shoulder issue and Joe sat quietly.  I could tell that Anna was considering.  I got my persuasive voice on and started my pep talk.  I won!  We settled on a game plan.  Don would play his guitar and Joe would teach me to 2-Step.

Don began playing “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash. Joe was saying “not right” and grabbed a small CD player.  He was not a teacher and Anna stepped in to tell me “It’s 2 steps then 1”.  As Joe and I danced he explained to me that his 2 Step was unusual and unique.  He once taught it to an actual dance teacher.  Anna videoed and Phyllis, despite her back , and Don, despite his shoulder aches, couldn’t help but to stand up and join us.

I really wanted to get Don’s Folsom Prison Blues, and I also really wanted to dance with Anna because originally she was totally game, so we worked out a quick little sequence of “step touches” and went for it.  Phyllis joined us.  Anna also asked me to show them what I do, so Don played something on his guitar and I think I performed one of the worst solos of my life.  But they smiled and laughed and I am sure it was genuine.

After the interviews Phyllis invited us to come to her house, “where there’s plenty of room”, and stay with her.  She offered to open the garage where we would have a huge dance party with all their friends.  We exchanged information and now plan to visit again.

The highlight for me was this:  As everyone else was chatting, Phyllis walked by me quietly then stood right beside me.  She said, “You touch everyone you meet don’t you?”  It began a thought process that lasted the whole days travel.

Maybe this project isn’t just for me?…

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