By Barb Hauge
Lucky for us, square dance callers from Africa to Japan have all learned their calls in English although trying to follow the accent is something else. Even Cockney gave us a bit of trouble. During Dance Across Europe in 1985, we did manage.
In Switzerland we took a cruise all around Lucerne's lovely lake; saw a wooden bridge it took many artists to make. We went up Mount Titlus to the very top peak. Those alpine heights can make you a mad, raving freak! Up there no one rants about the need to square dance! We dined in a loft with a yodeling caller. To hear one another, we all had to holler. Men took turns on the Alphorn and nearly blew out their brains. A kiss from a Swiss miss was all they got for their pains. But it gave us a chance to folk dance!
On to Gay Paree, the City of Splendor, we joyously trooped. At the Cabaret, dancers revealed their breasts and some in the group got quite looped. At the Eiffel Tower, with fountains all lighted beneath the stars, they took our picture. It seemed like we were on Venus and Mars. For we'd always wanted the chance to dance in France!
The funniest thing we saw in all of Paree were the streetside toilettes. Better have the right coin clutched in your fist or the doors would fly open and the world watch while you urinated. Those doors were on a timing device and they really didn't work very nice! They'll never tell you, but beneath the Eiffel Tower toy flutterbirds are sold at every hour. Young black men fly them into your face. Such a startle could end in disgrace and you'd need to change your pants before you do a damp dance!
High in Eiffel Tower we went for Paris to view. Half of Canada was over there and America too and as we triumphantly marched through the Arch, we were glad the forces of freedom had made that last march. For we will not soon dance to any other tune!
The palace at Versailles is an overpowering place. King Louis XIV reigned there. He was a disgrace; living in splendor while his people got the raw deal. His heirs ended their tyranny in the Bastille. On those marble floors we'd sure like the chance to royally dance!
Our cultural tour took us to cathedrals grande. These great churches adorned every city and land. But they seemed so dead; in grime encrusted; no one caring enough to have them cleaned or dusted. But from nine to five choirs from all over the earth brought them alive. The old castles of Europe are mostly in ruins. They need to fix them up or build some new ones. Such awful things happened within their walls, I guess no one cares when another one falls. Murder done for wealth and power was the game played hour after hour.
So we've been to the lands from whence our ancestors came. For escaping greed and oppression they are not to blame. Evil rulers of both church and state caused the people to suffer a horrible fate. They had little reason or chance to joyfully dance!
Yet the artists, the poets, the playwrights and such from way over there have given us much. They helped to reveal each evil situation; to topple corrupt king and priests, unworthy of high station. So we have reason, perchance, for our victory dance! Yet tyranny keeps raising the same ugly head even when we think all the tyrants are dead. Nuclear weapons are the most dangerous that mankind could hold; more destructive to humankind than all the tyrants of old. Please lets give our grandchildren a chance to joyfully dance!