Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blood Sweat and Tears

The 1960's group, not life or the related substances of life. It's was a popular group in 1969 when I enlisted. I remember in basic training when when got two Saturday passes. The first one was a town pass, which I learned to regret. A group of us decided to catch the bus downtown (from Lakeland AFB to San Antonio). We ended up on the river walk which was relatively new then.

We walked the distance of it before crossing and walking. Some in the group wanted to go to a porno movie, common then before it took off as a commercial development. Two of us declined saying sitting in a theater was the last place we wanted to be on our afternoon off. So we kept walking until we met the bus back.

The second time is the one that sticks in the mind the most. We had the Saturday afternoon off and I found there was a dance going on at the on-base hall, which was a converted bomber hanger, meaning it was huge, on par of a large convention hall commonly found in downtown centers.

And in the center of it was a huge wooden dance floor. There was hundreds of airmen standing around the floor listening to the music and watching the lucky ones who got a dance with the few hundred young women bussed in for the dance. I don't recall where they came from, all were older high school, young college or just young (18-24) women.

It was kinda the old USO type event. The music was from the sound system by the DJ there to spin the records. All I really remember was walking in the main entrance door which replaced the hanger door to another set of doors to the dance hall from the foyer, probably to help keep control the temperature.

Well, walking into the large dance hall, the first song I heard was Blood, Sweat & Tears song, "You make me so happy." The opening organ and the singer. I don't know why but that song has been with me the whole time, because not long after the song started and I walked to the edge of the dance floor when a young women asked me to dance.

I accepted. So we danced. At the end we parted, I said thanks and she went on to another man to dance. But I still remember and wonder why she picked me out of hundreds just standing there waiting to be asked. Me. A shy, partly stuttering, can't dance young man.

When I finished basic training, and then technical training, and was assigned to McClelland AFB north of Sacramento, CA, I bought a simple stereo system. And their album was one of the first in my collection. For one song, and then liked the whole album, but mostly just one song, a memory and a long-forgotten woman who danced with me when I most needed it.

I don't remember her, obviously, but I remember the song. I stayed until they played it again, never got to dance again, and left. And yes, the song and her made me so happy. If only for an afternoon. It has lasted a lifetime.

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