I haven’t mentioned it yet, but we decided last week to take a break from raiding until the 6.0 patch. Suddenly, activities that I had been considering but unable to do because they happened to be on raid nights were all open to me. One of the first pieces of mail that arrived at my new address was a booklet of community education courses. I could learn a new language, pick up knitting, do some exercise classes (Lord knows I need more of that) or … hey, line dancing. That looks like fun. I also looked at upcoming polkas and found two local clubs that hold monthly meetings/dances. Hmmm, the one I chose is on Wednesday just like the line dancing classes. Line dancing … polkas … line dancing … polkas … classes that I have to pay for in advance and attend for 8 weeks in a row, or only happen once a month and I come if I want and pay when I get there. Yup, polkas win!
So last night I got all gussied up and left the house to go polka. I drove out to the VFW, told the ladies at the table that it was my first time there, plunked down my cash and bam. I’m a member. I even got a membership card. :D
I sat at a table off to the side by myself where I had a good view of everything … the other tables, the dance floor, and the band. There was about 10 minutes still before the music would start, but the doors had opened nearly an hour earlier so people could enjoy snacks and chitchat. Since I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t bother to get there early. After a few minutes, a man came around selling 50/50 tickets. I said no thank you but I guess he didn’t hear me, but he was very nice and I didn’t want to be rude, so I went ahead and bought some. He introduced himself, asked my name, and asked if it was my first visit even though I could tell that he knew very well that it was. You know, just friendly ice-breaking. And of course, asked if I was Polish … I told him no, but I am Czech, that’s close enough ya?
I happen to live in a city that has a very large Polish population. There’s a weekly Polish newsletter and a radio station that plays no less than 2 hours of polkas a day, 7 days a week…during the 5pm-7pm drive home. After a rough day at work nothing brings a smile to my face faster than a polka. If it happens to include a HUP, HUP, HUP-AH from the performer that smile will quickly turn into a big grin. You see, I grew up in an area that had a very large Czech population … in fact, my grandmother was pure Czech. So I expected to get asked many times whether I was Polish, and in fact I did get asked several times, but since I could truthfully say ‘No, but I am Czech (mostly)’ that gave me plenty of polka cred.
Anyway, as soon as the music started, couples were out on the floor. I watched carefully, hoping I would remember what to do if someone happened to ask me to dance. Now, if you’ve ever watched, you’ll know that each man sort of has his own style. Some are more flamboyant, some barely move, some like to have their lady turn in a circle every so often (my Dad did that. He’s probably the last person I danced with before last night). After about three songs, the man who had been selling the tickets asked me to dance. I said sure I’ll try but it’s been 20 years so be patient with me. Well it worked out alright, I was rusty but not terrible. A couple of songs later, another little man asked me to dance. I had seen him and his wife out there for every song so far. Like the first man, he introduced himself and asked my name and asked if it was my first time there. After that dance ended he said I should move over to their table instead of sitting by myself, so I could talk to people, so I did. I met his wife and the other couples at the table. They all expressed surprise that I came all by myself but hey, if it’s either go alone or don’t go at all, well …
I danced with him a few more times over the night. And the band didn’t just play polkas and waltzes, they did mix in some other things as well. So naturally when (ugh) Achy Breaky Heart was played (I curse you, Billy Ray, you killer of good country music) the ladies waved me out there and I was like, um … I don’t know how! Apparently I have not spent enough time watching my Tauren huntress /dance because one of the guys had to take me to the side and attempt to teach me to electric slide. Hey look, I didn’t need to go to the line dancing class after all, I can learn it at the polka!
Halfway through the band takes a break and they have the meeting. We actually stood and said the Pledge of Allegiance to open. Who still does that? That is awesome. I had to stand up when they introduced the new members. At the end of it we played a quick round of Bingo because that was the theme this month, then the drawings. It wasn’t a straight 50/50, they do 3 or 4 for various amounts, then had a few other prizes too, like coozies and a polka CD. I like that better than one drawing for a big amount, it’s more fun with more chances to win something. Afterwards there was more dancing and then it ended with everyone in a huge circle holding hands as we sang God Bless America.
So, I may have come alone, but by the end of the night I had made several acquaintances and I guarantee when I go next month, I may arrive alone but I won’t be alone when I get there.
P.S. This really has nothing to do with Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword but it does somewhat explain part of the reason the game has such a grip on me!