Monday, March 15, 2010

Ring of Fire

There we were on our honeymoon in a pub at an inn in Newtonmore, Scotland, enjoying a draught, soaking up our surroundings. It was a rather small pub, but things were picking up. It was a Friday night, and most of the patrons seemed to be happy to be able to relax and start their weekends. “Live” entertainment was provided, meaning there was a guy playing guitar and singing along to a karaoke machine. It was kind of weird.

It was especially weird to hear classic American songs being sung with a very pronounced Scottish accent. Specifics escape me at the moment – I want to say he did some Elvis tunes – but whatever he was playing would occasionally make me want to swingdance.

I had taken lessons and danced for a few years before meeting my husband Sean. The first time Sean saw me being flung around by some other guy besides him, it made him jealous enough that he took some beginner lessons before our wedding. Although he is a good leader, he was not so comfortable yet dancing publicly, and neither of us were that extroverted and emboldened that we wanted to get up and dance in front of a pub full of people in a foreign land where no one else was dancing, and where there was no dance floor and, in fact, very little space on the carpet.

But the longer we sat there, the more this karaoke-bard cracked us up, and the more beer we drank. The more beer we drank, the more we loosened up, and the more loose we got, the more we wanted to enjoy living in the moment of our honeymoon. I think I started to tear up when the karaoke-bard did a rendition of the Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” from the movie Benny & Joon. It was just so typically Scottish of him! But he was a one-man band, and he had no backup singers to help with the chorus. Half-way through, Sean and I joined in by yelling out the “DA-di-lat-da” parts. I thought this would be the epitome of our vacation, which was only just beginning.

I kept looking at Sean pleadingly, trying to get him to dance. I said, “Well, what if he plays ‘Ring of Fire’?” (This was a favorite of ours, and we danced to it at our wedding.) Maybe Sean figured that this oddball guy was not likely to not know any Johnny Cash, but he agreed.

Karaoke-bard was accepting requests, and I kept muttering under my breath “Ring of Fire. RING. OF. FIRE.” between songs, hoping maybe Sean would be ready to request it. I didn’t think the bard ever heard me, but suddenly he started playing it. I couldn’t believe it, and neither could Sean, but he kept his promise.

We got up in front of everyone and started swingdancing. This totally livened up the place, and when the song was over, everyone was clapping – for us as much as for the performer.

An older lady who had been sitting at a large table nearby came over to me immediately and said, “Oh! my husband and I used to dance like that! We’re here with our family celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary.”

“Wow!” I said. “Congratulations! That’s awesome! We’re actually on our honeymoon.”

Well, she and her husband and their family were so friendly and happy to share in our celebration, THEY wanted to buy US a drink. After learning we were from America, they insisted we simply MUST have a shot of scotch while visiting their country. We were happy to oblige and raise a glass with them.

We hope to pay it forward someday, should we meet some newlyweds dancing on our anniversary. But if the band plays “Ring of Fire,” the newlyweds better get the hell out of the way and make room.

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