Night Dancing in the Kitchen

By Chelsea Biondolillo

January 26, 2015

Night Dancing in the Kitchen

It was country-late: the air outside getting cool and damp and purple. I sat at my grandparent's dining table making clothespin dolls while the crickets whined and Teddy-dog sat by the back door smacking his muzzle at errant flies. The doll project made me feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder. I clipped red and white checks and velvet strips from grandma’s quilting stash. My fingers, the wood, the table, were shiny with glue. All of my girl-clothespins had straight hair, because I could not get the curls to stay on. I wanted my grandma to draw the faces, because she could draw tiny swoops that turned into eyelashes and lips, but she'd gone to her room and closed the door. She did that sometimes, for hours, days. But I always had something to keep me busy. If I ran out of clothespins, there were jars to fill with grasshoppers.

Suddenly, the bedroom door flung open, and my grandmother sashayed down the hall in red velour sweat pants and shiny heels.

"I bet you don’t know how to tap dance, do you?" she said, her grin wide and electric. She grabbed my hand and pulled me into the tiny, dingy kitchen with the pink walls and cobwebs. "You’ll learn tonight! Let's start with a kick-ball-chain. Don’t you have any clackety shoes? We’ll make do. We can make do." She started to hum some tune, and I tried to follow her steps, shuffling on the linoleum, our fingers laced, stuck knuckle to knuckle.


Photo "Tap Shoes" provided by Claudia Dunitz, via Flickr creative commons license.

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