Around The Rim Country

The Rim country was settled by dancers


It was a classic setup, and I fell for it.

Rim Review editor Jerry Thebado walked up to me and, with seeming nonchalance, said, "So, what are you doing this weekend?"

"The taxes I got an extension on," I innocently replied.

"Could you just take one picture for me," he asked in his most angelic voice.

"As long as it's not square dancing," I countered.

"Well, actually it is square dancing," he said with apparent disinterest, "but I just need a quick shot of the grand march."

It wasn't until I walked into the Zane Grey Twirlers big dance festival that Saturday night to grab a "quick shot" that I realized maybe just maybe something foul was afoot. It would be awhile, however, before I realized I had been tossed to the lions by my very own editor.

What roused my suspicions was the fact that when I walked in, there, waiting to pounce on me, were none other than Elva Jones, Ed Blose and Payson Town councilmember Hoby Herron, three of the world's truly rabid square dancers.

But it wasn't until the flash went off that I woke up. That happened when Herron, the festival's master of ceremonies, grabbed my camera and took my picture, "just because you're always taking everybody else's picture and nobody ever takes yours."

I happily handed him my camera and smiled like the innocent fool I was. Like I said, the flash brought me to my senses.

I had just allowed myself to be photographed at a dance. Me, the sworn foe of dancing, had been duped into providing proof that I actually stepped inside a building where a real dance was in progress.

It was too late to just run out the door screaming into the darkening gloom, "Nooooooooooo!!!" Jerry had told me to be there at 7:30 p.m., but the grand march didn't actually begin until 7:45 p.m.

I was trapped for at least 15 minutes.

Herron handed me back my camera with a wicked leer. Dazed I turned around only to encounter Blose, who chuckled maniacally.

Before I knew it, he was offering to have somebody teach me how to square dance if I would just "stick around a while." My head was spinning as wildly as the round dancers on the floor.

Next, Jones, the chairman of the event, came up for her piece of me, coyly giving me that big, winning smile of hers. "Thanks for coming, Jim," she said. "If there's anything I can do to help, just let me know."

I muttered my thanks and headed for the stage, which, she told me, would offer the best vantage point for my photo and, I realized later for being seen by one and all in attendance. After taking my pictures, I made tracks for the exit.

Once outside in the cool night air, I began to feel better.

Maybe I hadn't been recognized. Maybe this would not sully my anti-dancing reputation.

The next morning, over breakfast at The Small Cafmy illusions were shattered. The couple at the next table recognized me from the night before.

Turns out they were Rim country residents Dick and De Maloney, who not only square dance but also round dance. De quickly told me she didn't think very highly of an earlier column in which I suggested we ought to just ban dancing in the Rim country.

Talk about rabid dancers. A few days later, Dick showed up at the Roundup with a pile of Internet research he had done for me on round dancing.

That was the stuff going on while Herron, Blose and Jones were assaulting me, and I must admit I found it mildly interesting if only because anything was preferable to being attacked by that trio of dancing thugs.

In round dancing, an event held prior to some square dances, couples move in a large circle, performing steps called out by a cuer. It's sometimes called choreographed ballroom dancing.

Round dancers actually perform ballroom dances like the waltz, foxtrot, rumba, cha-cha and tango "every dance you can do on a dance floor," Maloney said.

He and his wife of 33 years, both career "telephone people," retired to Globe and took up square dancing some years back. The only reason they moved from Globe to Payson was to dance.

That's right, to dance.

When my proposal to ban dancing failed to catch fire, I opted for taxing it, with the Town Council and myself splitting the proceeds.

But now I understand. You can say what you want about this place being full of Haughts or Mormons or cow poop, but what this place is really full of is dancers.

If the Maloneys moved here to dance, I can only guess how many pioneers braved Apaches and other hardships just to kick up their heels with others of a like mind.

I can see the writing on the rim, and I understand how the world works if you can't lick 'em, join 'em. If square dancing and round dancing are so dang popular in the Rim country that bands of hooligans like Herron, Blose and Jones are allowed to roam free accosting innocent columnists, then I will invent my own dance and demand equal time at their infernal festivals.

Since I want to latch tenaciously onto the coattails of round and square dancing, I intend to call mine triangle dancing. It will be performed by a couple and one of their ex-spouses, but that's as far as I've gotten.

I can tell you this. We ain't gonna be doin' much do-si-doing. And instead of swinging your partner, I'm thinking more along the line of throwing your partner, or ex-partner as the case may be.

My argument for triangle dancing is that it is more in tune with contemporary lifestyles than round or square, and therefore adds a relevance the Twirlers sorely need.

On the other hand, maybe I should give up the ghost, grab my partner, and follow the Herrons, Bloses and Joneses onto the dance floor. Is it any coincidence we would have precisely the number you need to form a square?

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