SV Country Dancer is the name of a Catalina 470 sailboat. But really its the story of a small ship and the adventures two people shared while living, loving and traveling aboard her. As I write this the story is not yet over, and you are being invited to join us in the adventure. What I have chosen to do here is tell that story, in a way that is new and perhaps unique, and we will begin it with the two people that are stiil making the story happen. And although it’s the story of two individuals with completely different histories, the story of Country Dancer begins when they met.
In Feb of 2003 my brother Greg and I had started a construction company in Tallahassee, and he needed to get a couple copies of our first house plans made. He and his wife Felica went to The Blueprint Shop and got into a conversation with the Counter Clerk. She happened to say someting about knowing a good man, and Felicia’s ears went up. They “interviewed” her on the spot, and called me that evening. They had met a “cute” nice girl about my age, with a new grandchild that was also a competitive dancer…. would I be interested in a “blind date”. We could all go out together and they could make introductions.
At this point in life, I had plenty on my plate and the idea of dating again just wasn’t very appealing so I said no. But a persistant brother convinced me it couldn’t hurt. It would be easy, there would be the four of us, and if it didn’t go well, I could always leave. But being the “Plan B” kind of guy, I agree if I could take my 7yr old son Michael with me. After all, 7 year olds can get sick on a moments notice, and if this girl didn’t like my son, she wasn’t going to work out anyway.
A few days later, we met at a local TGI Friday, and the 6 of us had a nice time. SIX, yes, Jodi brought her grandson…. just in case she needed to leave. We knew there was common ground right from the start.
A few nights later, we had a “real” date. I took her to a local bar with a dance floor and country music. If I was going to date a competitive Country Dancer, we might as well get off on the right foot – so to speak.
When we sat down at Julie’s – a local country western bar and restaurant – there we 3 or 4 couples on the dance floor. After we both ordered a steak, it looked like this is might be fun for a while. The sizzling steaks arrive at the table just a few seconds before a guy that must have been 6′ 4″ came to the table and said “sir, would you mind if I ask your date to dance?” WHAT… the steak had just come, its our first date, you look really big…. what is the proper etiquette here…first date in several years, and I already have a dilemma.
“Uh, sure.” I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? She might think I don’t like her? She might think I am a wimp? I might say the wrong thing and this guy will prove I AM a wimp? Geez.
Jodi got up from the table and he lead her off to the dance floor while I listened to the sizzle dying on the steaks.
As they entered the dance floor, one of the three couples retired, and soon Jodi and the new guy were taking up about 1/2 the dance floor. Very soon a second couple left the floor and now the third couple was trying to fill less that 1/4 of the floor. It only took about one stanza, and they gave up too. Now the new guy is tossing Jodi around like a teddy bear… well a very light and very smooth teddy bear… well actually she seemed to be doing plenty of the tossing too… actually they looked pretty darn good.
Since they had gotten started after the song had started, it wasn’t very long until the music wound down. In its place was an astounding quiet, and then a sudden screeching as every chair in the restaurant was pushed back and all the diners (all but one) stood and gave the dancing couple a rousing ovation. IN A RESTAURANT. Oh, the one… his mouth was still dropped open and his chin hanging over his cooling steak with a totally stunned look on his face.
The hand writing was on the wall. If I was going to date THIS girl, I was going to have to up my dancing skills by about 100%. The rest of the dinner was fun, and Jodi confessed that she and “Big Mark” had danced this routine many times before. On our way home, jodi told me the name of her “dance teacher”, and I was quick enough to get her phone number. The next day I was enrolled in Susan’s Wednesday night dance class, and another date had been arranged.