As usual, I walked in the door from work and Himself, the Rambler, was in mid-dither.
“I’m going to post about ‘Play That Funky Music’ because Kathy (from the Junk Drawer) mentioned it.”
“Yeah. Although I don’t remember everything….”
“I tell the story better,” I said.
“Want to do a guest post?”
“We have to have pictures though. Pictures of me being an ass. Dancing.”
“No need to use the wedding album,” I said, “ I have pictures from the day in question!”
So, after a brief robbery-worthy toss of the office, followed by a delicate straightening of the pins to the scanner plug with my good eyebrow tweezers, I bring you The Story.
The year was 1995, the place, Baltimore Inner Harbor. My mother, sister, friend Julie, Bryan, and I all bought tickets for a country music dinner dance party cruise, compelled to do so by a mutual friend who was selling them as a marching band fund raiser.
My mother, a fan of CMT’s Wild Horse Saloon and a line dancer extraordinaire, was excited about the country music dance party part. My mom turned 50 that year and it was all about Doing Fun Things With Mom Because She Was 50. The rest of us were less possessed of an “Achy Breaky Heart” and more excited about the open bar.
There are a few things about the Rambler you should know that you may or may not have picked up from his blog.
1. He’s a very gregarious person in public and talks to everyone. He gets this from his father.
2. He is not a big drinker. He gets this from both his parents, who do not, and, as far as I know, HAVE NEVER consumed alcohol.
3. When he does drink, see number 1, multiply it by 10, and enclose it in stars and little wavy exclamatory lines and smiley faces.
On this particular day, we set out in fine weather and sailed out into the Harbor to take in the sea air and discover a bit of Baltimore history. Himself discovered the Melon Ball. With each foray to the bar his return trip was slightly longer, as he added ‘new friends’ to his rounds. At one point, convinced he’d fallen over, I found him deep in conversation with two realtors from Glen Burnie.
Dinner was uneventful, and the music started. It didn’t take us long to discover that even if we DID want to dance, the dance floor was too crowded and the music sucked. Himself and I drifted outside. As we looked out at the lights, we heard it.
Different music. Better music.
“Let’s go to THAT party!”
“No! We can’t just….”
“Oh, they won’t care! C’mon!”
Before I could stop him, he’d thrown open the door to the upper deck and waded into the humanity. I had no choice but to follow him. Into the All You Can Eat Shrimp Party Cruise, hosted by the Sheet Metal Workers local, GM Plant, Wilmington, Delaware.
I’m pretty sure these people knew we didn’t come with them. It could have been Himself’s oxford shirt and sweater looped around his shoulders a la J Crew. It could have been the fact that neither of us looked capable of building a Saturn.
Or it could have been the fact that the black folks to white folks ratio in the room was 125 to…us. The Rambler pressed on in cheerfulness to the bar and got us a couple of drinks. We found ourselves on a small deck chatting with two guys who looked like they might just bend metal without use of machines, just for a smile. They, and everyone else we met, were very nice.
We danced. And danced. Himself is quite a dancer with Midori as a muse. I was dancing with him, facing the DJs. I saw them watching us. One of them thumbed through a case of CDs, pulled one out, and showed it to the other guy. He laughed and nodded.
The song ended, and there was silence. Then it started.
Rambler’s eyes grew wide. “I LOVE this song!” He pronounced to all in hearing. Then, in the words of an instructor in ‘Center Stage’, a film I’ve seen far too many times, he “danced the sh*t out of it”. At one point, shortly before I stopped looking at them (or anyone else, for that matter) I caught a glimpse of the DJs, gripping each others arms, laughing hysterically.
From that day forward, at every wedding reception, banquet, or party where this song was played, he would jump up and dance because they were playing HIS song. He’d dance with so much joy that I waited eight years to tell him that it had been chosen for him as a joke. He didn’t, and doesn’t, care. When that familiar bass line drops, he still jumps up, gets out his thumbs and funky overbite, and ‘dances the sh*t out of it’.
Himself, the Rambler, and Myself, the Shieldmaiden, can be found at
Himself also can be found at