I recently discovered that I have been stricken with a strange affliction: I suddenly can’t dance. I’m not saying I was the Second Coming of Michael Jackson or Fred Astaire to begin with, but I had my moves, executed them well, and could mostly avoid snark and condemnation at weddings and clubs. But that has all gone away.
I was the last one to notice. The first one was my Innocent Flower of All Things Perfect, who at eight-years-old, has not yet developed the filter section of her frontal lobe. I was rocking out to the B-52’s, jumping around the kitchen while making dinner, when Unicorn Goddess looked at me blankly and proclaimed, “you don’t know how to dance, daddy.” I would have actually preferred it if she’d said, “your dancing sucks, dad,” because that would have implied that my ability was up for interpretation. Instead, the inference was that, obviously, I was missing was any kind of knowledge on the subject whatsoever.
Shortly after this, a friend of mine shared her observation with me at a bar in San Luis Obispo. The band that night was kind of lame, but after I downed a few pops, they miraculously got better. I went up to the front of the stage to rock out, and when I came back to the table, my friend said, “when I watch you dance, a piece of my soul dies.” I asked her if she could be a little less vague and ambiguous. The evening did not end well.
I finally had to accept the disappearance of my dance skills a few nights ago, again while I was in the kitchen making dinner. My son, the consumate music hipster, turned me on to this German, art-pop DJ named Roosevelt. His song “Colors” came up on my mix, and I found myself dancing like Chris Farley in that old SNL skit:
I stopped. I tried again. I stopped again. Wow.
To reiterate, I’m not saying that Justin Timberlake ever dropped by the house to get a few lessons before heading off to his next video shoot. I think I formally learned one or two actual dance moves from my brother Dave, which he had stolen from the Solid Gold Dancers in, like, 1974. But yeah, I had my own flow. I grooved. I shimmied.
And then suddenly, I didn’t.
I decided I needed to trace my steps backwards (pun intended) and see where I went wrong. As I mentioned, I love dancing to bands. Did it all the time when I was in a band myself, and used to be in the clubs pretty much every night. Until I stopped. In 2002.
Of course, dancing around the kitchen just comes naturally. I put on some music, pour some wine, and let the ritual begin. At least…I do now. Back when the Cold Winds of Emotional Desolation blew through my marriage like the ice storm surrounding the White Walkers, the kitchen was, as Shakespeare wrote, a melancholy place of death and sorry execution. Not so much dancing there. For years.
Practice makes perfect. It’s the kind of annoyingly true cliche I laid on my son when he got a skateboard for his 12th birthday and wanted to be Tony Hawk the next morning. It’s what I tell my daughters when I let them paint my nails and it looks like some kind of jungle fungus disease.
As true as this motto is for dancing, the real thing that needs to be practiced is happiness. Dancing is an expression, it’s an art and a ritual and a way of emoting a feeling so powerful it can’t be contained. The soul has to be filled to the point of bursting, or the dancing is simply robotic (although as a dance, The Robot kicks ass).
So…more practicing happiness. More laughter, more dinners with friends, more wine (for the love of God, more wine), more of these weird little origami cat things my daughters just made me that I can’t stop laughing about. The moves will come back, because the moves will mean something again. In the meantime, more reruns of Soul Train. For the laughter, you know…
Practicing Happiness So You Can Get Your Dance Moves Back Pairs With: 2014 Black Cat Vineyard Napa Valley Syrah.
It’s probably unfair and selfish to review a wine you may never be able to get your hands on, but hey, this is my happiness, and it can be found in pure liquid form in this Coombsville Syrah. As you know, I’ve been homing for Coombsville for years, so much so I still sit on the Board of the Coombsville Vintners & Growers Association. This affords me an incredible opportunity to taste some magnificent, small-batch wines, and Mother of All That’s Holy, this one is stunning.
Tracey Reichow, Winemaker & Proprietor of Black Cat Vineyard, has been growing and producing Syrah from her small, estate vineyard in Coombsville for years. She is the definition of a “best kept secret” to the public, but winemakers as esteemed as Elias Fernandez of Shafer consult with her on Syrah skills. Rocky volcanic soils, light morning fog and afternoon breezes create idyllic conditions for this Syrah. Best of all, it helps create a wine that allows me to use one of my most favorite wine-snobby terms: Varietal Typificity. In other words, the Black Cat Syrah typifies what a Napa Syrah should taste like, and could easily be a benchmark for Syrahs worldwide.
The wines are only available at the estate and through the wine club, and from what Tracey has told me, getting in the wine club isn’t all that easy as well. However, I suggest you give her a call and drop my name. After she says, “who?” then just beg her to get in the wine club. Happiness guaranteed. www.blackcatvineyard.com