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11.26.2012

SOULLLLLLLLLL TRAINNNNNNNNN



I flashed back to my youth.  There I was, a white girl from a farming community in the Midwest.  Nothing about me screamed cool.  I didn't have a very developed sense of rhythm.  Even rollerskating was a rhythmic challenge for me.  Dancing, well that was just not a part of my fundamentalist rearing. 

My dad would say, every time I asked if I could go to a school sponsored dance or roller skating party, "Well, you are going to have make that decision.  I just ask you, 'what would Jesus want you to do?'"  I always felt a little like the dinosaur from "Toy Story", "Great! Now I have guilt!"  I usually went any way, truly feeling that Jesus was more than ok with rollerskating and dancing.  He made our bodies to move about.  It was part of their God designed function.  In that instance I felt immediate obedience to God's design for my body.

That too is how I felt about Don Cornelius' "Soul Train" (televised syndicated predominantly African-American dancing show airing from 1971-2006).  Please reflect upon the fact that I was a Midwestern white girl, no sense of style or rhythm, living in an all white community.  I loved Don Cornelius' voice, the Soul Train dancers, their hair, clothes, shoes, free spirited movements all seemingly happening with little to no thought or effort.  It took a great deal of my effort to try not to be uncool.  Even with all that effort, I really didn't succeed at it in comparison to the Soul Train dancers. 

There was not an excess or really even a smidgen of "soul music", modern styling clothes, platform shoes, big afros, or effortless rhythm showing itself in the neck of the woods I hailed from.  There were also no African-American people. 

My fascination with "Soul Train" wasn't that their skin was black. We are all just humans first and foremost which levels and connects us all irregardless of any differences.  It was that in comparison I had no soul and no inherent God-given rhythm.  I wished I was a Soul Train dancer.  How could a Midwestern fundamentalist reared white girl get what they had?  I coveted their coolness.

My lack of rhythm highlighted itself in my poor dancing, inability to play the piano without music, my almost frigid and straight only rollerskating ability.  I couldn't whistle to save my life either.  That too was a marker of my uncool rhythm-less existence.  Maybe I cared too much that I was going to look as stupid as the cacophony of uncoolness, which played inside my head, said I was.  I just couldn't cut loose. I was white to the core and way more.

I tuned in every Saturday morning to watch and envy the coolness, the freedom of the music and the dancers.  I tuned in to hear sweet Don Cornelius' voice.  I tuned in every Saturday morning to study those dance moves, peruse the wardrobes, listen to some great music and wonder if I could ever be so cool.

I'm still wondering.

2 comments:

  1. Don't discount all those concerts on top of the toy box!! You got the moves! Lolol

    ReplyDelete
  2. Don't discount all those concerts on top of the toy box!! You got the moves! Lolol

    ReplyDelete