Along the Santa Fe Chapter 3 page 10
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The Saturday Night Dance

Everything went along nicely the next two days. Nothing unusual happened, and then it was Saturday night and we were looking forward to the dance. The dance was scheduled to start at 8:00, by 7:30 the folks began gathering at the pool hall. So we got ready and got together a couple of blankets and pillows for Alice and Don to sleep on. We would have to take them with us, and the man at the pool hall said we could make a bed for them on one of the pool tables.

At 8:00 we went across to the pool hall. There was a large crowd gathered by this time. The center of the hall had been cleared, pool tables set along the wall in the rear, and chairs set against the walls on both sides. The orchestra consisted of a violin and a guitar, played by two miners. A collection would be taken up during the evening to pay them for their services.

Promptly at 8:00 the music started, and soon the dance floor was filled with dancers. Mother and I sat out the first dance; we wanted to watch them before we ventured out on the floor. It looked easy, and everyone was having a good time. So the next dance we had with our teachers, and then Mother and I tried a dance together. We soon began to gain confidence, and it wasn't long before we were dancing with the others and having fun.

The favorite tunes played seemed to be "Casey Jones", "Tipparary", "Barney Go-ogle", "River Shannon", "Forever Blowing Bubbles", "Missouri Waltz" and "Colorado Waltz." We danced what they called a "Paul Jones", "Virginia Reel", "Square Dance", "Rye Waltz", "One Step" and "Two Step." I liked them all except the square dance; this one was too much for me.

We danced almost continuously until midnight, and then stopped for about an hour while the ladies served coffee and cake, and gave the musicians a much needed rest. We took up a collection during this break to pay for the music and the use of the pool hall.

At 1:00 the music started up again, and we danced until 2:00. Then the dance broke up, the orchestra playing a "Home Sweet Home" waltz which Mother and I danced together. We woke up little Alice and let her walk home, and I carried little Don and put him to bed without him waking up. We were all ready for bed when we got home, as we were pretty tired. We had a wonderful time and really enjoyed the dancing, and we would look forward to the next dance.

In between dances we spent numerous evenings at card parties. A bunch would get together, maybe one night at our house and another night we would go to some friend's house, and play cards all evening. Then we would have a late lunch of sandwiches and coffee. "Five Hundred" was the favorite game. On Sundays we usually got together and a bunch of us would get am early start, and start out on a hike to some mine. We would take along eggs and bacon and cook our breakfast around a camp fire. Most of us could walk, but we had our burros along and the children would ride when they got tired of walking. On some of these hikes we did a lot of mountain climbing, and it was always great fun; we would take enough eats along to last all day. At some of the mines we would get to eat at the boarding house where the miners ate.

Along the Santa Fe Chapter 3 | Prev | Next | Contents |