Rising to a tough challenge

Published 4:27 am Wednesday, August 8, 2018

My late husband, Glen R. and I loved the mountains of Tennessee. Our idea of a great vacation was traveling to a secluded cabin with all the kids in tow. We always found time to spend at least a couple of days at Dollywood. The kids liked the rides, and we both enjoyed the music and dancing.

By the end of a week in East Tennessee we were always ready to return home, but we spent many nights dreaming of retiring to the Smokey’s. After Hurricane Katrina blew though the Gulf South we could practically hear the mountains calling our names.

Instead of taking the plunge right away my sweet hubby bought a vacation home for us in Seymour, right outside of South Knoxville. Our place there was nestled on five acres filled with wildlife. The wind whistled through the steep ravines when a storm blew in, and we adored our rustic cabin.

We rambled around the countryside visiting festivals and trying out the local cuisine. Glen R. was a little disappointed that he couldn’t seem to find a good catfish restaurant, but I secretly chuckled since I had become very tired of his favorite food.

I noticed that anytime someone brought out a fiddle the locals couldn’t keep still. Young and old alike danced a little step that I began to call the Tennessee Shuffle. Since I had never seen this dance before I began to pay close attention in hopes Glen R. and I could join in some day.

Finally, the day arrived. Glen R. and I went with our neighbors to a local adult hang out. The musicians cranked things up, and the dancing began. I suppose the low lighting gave me an extra dose of courage. When I noticed a younger woman on the dance floor dancing the Tennessee Shuffle, I hopped up from our table and began dancing it too.

I danced surprisingly well for my first time trying, and Glen R. smiled encouragingly from his seat. Then something odd happened. The smile on the young dancers face was replaced by a raised eyebrow and … what?

Was that a challenge I saw?

She began kicking a little higher and moving a little faster.

It was on! I started kicking higher and moving faster too. She looked over at me and took it up another notch. By this time an ugly smirk had formed on her lips.

Who does this kid think she’s messing with?

I whizzed around the dance floor every bit as fast as she did. Before too long my chest burned, and my legs felt like weights, but I wasn’t about to let miss smarty get the best of me!

Finally, the music stopped. I smiled and nodded at my unwelcome opponent as I left the floor. The door to the parking lot came into view, and I exited with my head held high. As soon as that door slammed behind me I bent over at the waist gulping in air. I felt pretty happy with myself until the next day when I practically had to crawl to the bathroom! In my case, I learned pride goeth before a crawl!

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.