Thursdays and Fridays are my normal days off from work. Thursdays( when I’m not mandatoried to work that is) I have to myself and I usually spend a good portion of the day working on my writing. Fridays I do a bit but I also keep my four-year-old son, because he only Montessori classes four days a week. We have a good time hanging out together although he does a pretty good job of conning me, which is why I dine at Chuck E. Cheese for lunch about every other Friday, and why I’m slightly out of breath as I type this.
At his insistence, I just finished doing the hokey pokey with him, in my underwear no less. It wasn’t a pretty sight I can promise you. Had someone walked up and peaked in the window they would have been blinded for life. Now believe it or not, this wasn’t my first experience with this particular little ditty.
Sure, there are authors out there who have published multiple books, won awards, sold million of copies, but I’d wager there ain’t a heck of a lot of writers out there who have done the hokey pokey with a New York editor under the musical direction of a Western Swing band. I have.
Every year at the conclusion of our local conference, Frontier In Writing, the speakers and staff along with the local volunteers head to the Big Texan. In case you’ve never heard of it, The Big Texan is a somewhat famous restaurant that offers a free 72oz. steak to anyone who can eat it and the trimmings, a baked potato and salad within one hour. The place has been featured in several movies, magazines and television shows and is chocked full of Texas décor and souvenirs. Every Saturday night in the summer they open the outside tent, bring in a live band and offer a good sized dance floor to go along with your steak and beer.
So there we were better than dozen conference volunteers, two or three agents, a couple of editors and five or six published authors, amid the usual array of tourist and travelers. As one of the few able bodied men I had danced far more than my normal three or four songs. I’d been bust trying to teach the foreigners( in this case anybody not born and raised in Texas) how to properly two step because the thing people do in other states is not the Texas Two Step, trust me on this. Anyway I was several Shiner Bocks into a fun evening, when the band, for God only knows why launched into the hokey pokey. Kensington Books editor, Hilary Sares, (I’ll go ahead and give you her name because I don’t think she would mind. At least I hope not.) grabbed me by the arm and said , “Let’s go do the hokey pokey.” I looked at her and with my most befuddled tone asked, “Are you serious?” “Yeah,” she answered. “Why not?”
Why not? We were in public. Two tables over was a group of my coworkers. The hokey pokey is a kids song and dance. I’m to big to do anything but the two step. My body does not look good shaking all about. Think the gopher in CaddyShack and you get the idea.
But a few second later, there I was sticking my right foot in, turning myself around and yes, shaking it all about. No it wasn’t pretty. Just ask my coworkers who were there and like to remind me about it from time to time.
But I don’t regret it because Hilary ranks as one of the kindest, most generous people I’ve ever met, both within the business and out. Nor do I regret doing the hokey pokey with my son this morning because he will only be four once, and that truly is, What it’s all about.