By Sheena Barnett
My often-overly inquisitive best friend Spencer Pleasants thinks he knows everything about me.
He should. He asks a lot of questions.
If ever you’ve met him, I’m sure he’s asked you roughly 1,502 questions right from the start. The first is, almost always, “What’s your sign?”
We’ve known each other for several years, been close friends for almost two, yet sometimes he asks so many questions it feels like we’re strangers.
He knows the important things about me, like my sign (Taurus), my favorites in pop culture (Bette Davis, Joss Whedon, The Beatles, The Beach Boys and, recently, Nicki Minaj) and my fondness for cheesecakes. That’s everything, right?
Only a few weeks ago, Spencer started in on a whole other series of questions.
“You’ve got this mysterious clogging past,” he said. “It’s like this whole chapter I don’t know about.”
I don’t speak that often about my days as a clogger, or more specifically, a Bonnie Todd Clogger.
I took clogging lessons from Bonnie Todd from the time I was about 9 or so until I was 18, and in that time the Bonnie Todd Cloggers performed just about everywhere from Memphis to Tupelo.
If you went to a county fair, festival, parade or mall anytime from the early 1990s to early 2000s in North Mississippi or Memphis, chances are you saw us.
Even after I stopped taking lessons, I still performed for Miss Bonnie anytime she needed me, finally saying my first “no” to a dance recital the year I was a super-senior at Ole Miss and editor-in-chief at The Daily Mississippian.
It wasn’t that I had bad memories; I just assumed, wrongly, that everyone knew.
And clogging doesn’t exactly flow into regular, every day conversation the way, say, “What’s your sign?” does. Actually, that doesn’t either, but Spencer makes it work.
But I just started new clogging classes with Dana Langley in Amory, so the topic came up again.
My first lesson was like deja vu: plenty of shuffle-step, toe, steps, talk upcoming performances and what we’d wear on stage.
My old clogging shoes still clinked as loudly as ever as I tried mastering new steps and choreography.
Still, some things were new – not just the new steps, but new dance partners, not the girls I’d grown up dancing with. New ways to think about dancing.
And my right knee, worn out years ago, certainly fought me during the entire lesson. I don’t remember that happening quite as much 10 years ago.
And I sort-of got to play Spencer a bit, asking Dana lots of questions about steps and moves.
Later, Spencer asked just one question about the class: “How’d it go?”
He got more than he bargained for: I taught him the basic clogging step.
Now he probably knows just about everything there is to know about me.
Now if only I knew everything there is to know about clogging.
I’m getting there.
Sheena Barnett covers entertainment for the Daily Journal. Contact her at (662) 678-1580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.