The Mad Dance

Last evening I and the other women on the team leading the Ignatian Colleagues Program five-day retreat offered a prayer service titled In the Voices of Women.  It included song, scripture, readings, a litany to anonymous women, a beautiful ritual of flower offering.

As part of the service, I shared a short piece written by my now-deceased mother-in-law back in 1932, when she was 18 years old.  Even then, she was an extraordinary women in so many ways.

Someone last night said to me, “That piece you read should be published.”  The comment prompted me to share it here with you.  I do so with love, admiration, and gratitude for all Mom/Betty/Nana gave to all of us who were part of her family

Here is the story written by Elizabeth Rocky (later Drueding), on February 12, 1932:

The Mad Dance

             In a small village, once upon a time, a group of young men assembled to see who could excel in dancing.  Every family in that village had a father or a son participating in the contest; and the excitement was high.

            When the dance began, each contestant felt light-hearted and sure that he could win.  As each one watched his neighbors, however, he quickened his pace and lost some of his jaunty self-assurance in the effort to excel.

            At first, the onlookers laughed and joked, citing the abilities of one and the awkwardness of another.  Soon, however, the dancers were whirling around feverishly, until the dance was frenzied.

            The spectators, realizing that their husbands, and fathers, and sons had worked themselves up to a dangerous, uncontrollable pace, became worried.  Suppose that one should fall and be trampled on by the others!  Suppose that the dancers should whirl themselves into the midst of the onlookers!

            After some discussion, all the women ran to their houses and returned with pans and ladles.  Huddled in an excited group they caught the rhythm of the mad dance and beat it out with their pots and pans.  Gradually, they decreased the rhythm until the dancers, conscious of the outside influence, slowed and finally stopped.

            Surely the women were ingenious.  Maybe women always are.  Maybe they ought to start beating out the rhythm of world peace on their pots and pans.


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