You wouldn’t know it to look at him, but Bix the Mississippi mudhound is quite the dancer.
“I only dance until food hits my bowl,” he said.
“You also dance when it’s about time for our morning walk,” I said.
“That’s true, Boss,” he admitted. “Mudhounds are enthusiastic by nature.”
We all dance at the Morris Manse. I put six CDs into the player and hit random. Every now and then, a song comes on that compels one or more of us to boogie on down.
Our dancing doesn’t last long. In my case, it’s a physical stamina issue, but it’s also a question of mental stamina. There’s only so long I can do something that I know looks silly.
In politically correct parlance, I’m rhythmically challenged. To use straightforward language, I stink.
Though I feel self-conscious when I dance, the act contains within itself a core of happiness. Maybe that’s from the spectacle of the other funny-looking movers and groovers in my kitchen, but I think the honest answer is we’re hardwired to let music take control for as long as we can actually stand that loss of control.
Of course, I’m talking about the ecstatic, discipline-free moves that Bix and the family do. None of us are trained.
“Boss, I trained you to throw a ball whenever I want,” Bix said.
“Good point. Thanks for reminding me of my place,” I said.
“No problem,” he said.
I imagine discipline has much to do with the thrill trained dancers experience. Within well-rehearsed, choreographed jumps, steps and spins, there must be a sense of freedom that comes from conquering oneself. It’s simply a structured way of trading the relative safety of stillness for the magnified joy of motion.
Who knows how far dancing goes back in human history? Probably until 15 seconds after the first drum solo.
My first organized dance was in sixth grade.
It was my introduction to dating life, though I wasn’t among the few who arrived with dates.
We broke into male and female camps, then, one-by-one, found the courage to ask partners to the floor.
I remember putting my hands on a girl’s waist, feeling the wrinkles of fabric between her warm body and mine, smelling the exotic combination of perfume, cosmetics and hair creams, and then dancing slowly from side to side.
That was my one and only dance with Stacy Hodges. I would’ve preferred many more.
It’s amazing how much space that night takes up in memory. No wonder I can’t understand quantum mechanics.
I wouldn’t say we dance often at the Morris Manse.
It’s something we do from time to time, when a particular song overrides the usual reticence.
Bix is the exception. He performs his dances of delight every day without fail. There are moments when I truly admire that mudhound.
“I’ve got to be me, Boss,” he said.
M. SCOTT MORRIS is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.