Tripping the Light Fantastic or…..Flipping Out On the Filipino Tinikling.

Filipino Dancing

These gals look pretty good doing the Filipino Tinikling. They are not as nimble as I proved to be when I got my ankle caught between those bamboo sticks.

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I tried dancing outside the sticks because I thought they were trying to hurt me.

Athens, Georgia, the town where you would naturally  expect the assimilation of all things cultural and if you did, you would be right on. The Culture Clubs recently strutted their stuff in Downtown Athens during the International Street Festival.

I had to be there. I am an expert at the Filipino Tinikling. I’m sure you’ve seen film clips of folks in the Philippines doing the Tinikling.

It’s relatively simple. You get two brain dead bozos to hold two bamboo poles parallel to each other and as these clowns clap the sticks together you have to dance, quickly I might add, between and in and out of the sticks without getting tender ankle flesh entrapped between the poles thereby suffering an injury that can lead you to becoming non-ambulatory. That would result in a serious need for crutches or a wheelchair.

I tell you I had to go. I just knew the Tiniklingers would welcome me with open arms once they saw my skill and grace as I performed this daring dance of the Philippines.

There was just one thing I did not take into consideration. I had forgotten Americans are not welcomed with open arms (by just about anybody) in the world anymore and the Filipino men who were in control of the ankle bashers did not seem to appreciate the fact that a tall, dark, and fairly ugly Americano could do their dance so well.

I was really getting into it (this would have been in the first three seconds or so) when things began to fall apart. They started banging those sticks together so fast that even Fred Astaire would have grabbed his top hat and run like hell.

I was at their mercy. I made my slickest move but it didn’t work. They had my right foot in a vise. I wear a size twelve shoe but by the time those guys got through with me just my left foot was a size twelve.

My right foot was only two inches wide at the widest part and it was almost seventeen inches long. I rolled around on the floor a while and cried a little bit and then crawled over and leaned on a wall while angrily protesting they had changed the tempo on me and fouled me all up and ruined my favorite foot.

They answered my accusations with what seemed to me to be quite a bit of joy and one of them said. ‘Oh no, meester, the Filipino Tinikling is in three quarters rhythm and you were trying to dance in four-four time.’

I called Katie Mae to come get me but she told me I should have known better than to go down there and act like an old fool. She sent me a cab about an hour later.

My foot will never be the same. I think it is gradually reshaping itself but it’s kind of scary because the new shape resembles the long face of a nine year old mule my Daddy used to own.

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I think these clowns have hit this poor girl on the right foot too. It looks like she is about to wear them out with her shoe when she finally gets it off her foot.

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Learn To Do the Tawny Crazy Ant Dance.

Aunt P, Bob Fowler and Ben

Coach Bob Fowler, Ben Swilley, Priscilla (Aunt P) Fraser Swilley at Albany (GA)High School Class of 1960 Reunion, 2010. Ben is not telling a lie. His lips are not moving. We lost Coach Bob way too soon and he is much missed.

Recently Katie Mae and I made a trip to our old home town of Albany, Georgia. While in Albany we visited our dear and wonderful sister-in-law, Priscilla, who is the widow of my late beloved brother, William Ashley. We affectionately refer to Priscilla as Aunt P.

We had to yell through a window to get her attention . She ran and opened a door for us and then she charged back into her laundry room where she went back to doing this amazing dance routine. I thought it was a new kind of Yoga Boogie. I had never seen anything even close to this except in old movies from the 1920’s.

She was putting a 21st century twist on dances from the Roaring Twenties. Aunt P was bringing back the Roaring Twenties of a hundred years ago all by herself in a laundry room in Albany, Georgia.  It looked as if she was dancing The Charleston, The Lindy Hop and The Black Bottom all rolled into one. I was fascinated. I had not seen Aunt P move that fast and for that long since 1972.

We finally pulled her over to our side of the room and got her to stop before her heart gave out. We thought it was best to stop her before we had to drag her lifeless body out of the wash room.

“My Gosh,” I yelled. “What has come over you?”  She kept pointing back toward the laundry room while all the time gasping, “We’ve got to get ’em. We’ve got to stop ’em.”

So I went back into the little room and sure enough, there were literally thousands of strange looking tiny tawny crazy ants running erratically in all directions. The only way you could attempt to control this mad invasion, if you didn’t have any ant spray on hand, was to stomp them. I even took a shot at it. I broke into a wild Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly inspired tap dance for at least 14 seconds. That’s about all the energy I could come up with on such short notice. I think I smashed three ants and I wear a size 12 shoe. My method seemed to be lacking.

It was kind of fun at first but I couldn’t last as long as Aunt P. She’s almost three months younger than I am. I quit dancing and attacked them by swinging wildly with the faithful old fly flapper. I was killing hundreds of them but there seemed to be an endless supply. I finally went out, got some super ant spray and subdued the mad masses.

Now I learn that we are being invaded by these new ants. I won’t bore you with the scientific name of this marauding invader but I can tell you the generic name is really “Tawny Crazy Ant.”  They are going to become so invasive that they will displace or eradicate other ant species. They may even wipe out fire ants. They are smaller than fire ants and they don’t bite (we are told).

Our problems are going to be their craving our food and our inability to keep them out of our homes. Another big problem is they are attracted to electrical boxes and outlets and this can cause electrical short circuits that are bothersome, costly and dangerous.

The good news for me is they probably will not come as far north as Athens because it gets colder here but for all my South Georgia pals, “Look out! Seal all your doors and food containers  and barricade your pantries.

Meanwhile, Aunt P is getting our musically inclined children and grandchildren to put together a YouTube film clip of her doing her version of “Aunt P’s Tawny Crazy Ant Dance.” She figures if a short fat kooky Korean kid who used to ride a stick horse can use that same stick horse riding motion to create a sensational international dance fad  and call it Gangnam Style and make tons of money with it, she knows her unique style of twisting, turning and ant stomping is going to make her one rich woman.

I’m going to be her manager.

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The Prancing Pig Partner.

I'm All Yours, Baby!

I grew up dancing. My father was such a terrific dancer that the people who later feasted with him at a Fourth of July Bar-B-Q celebration were said to be as good as any professional dancer you ever saw do the Johnson Junction Pig Jig. Unfortunately after he passed away we had no one left to bring home the bacon and we had to move to the swamp and grub for a living. I never got to dance much after that because dancing shoes were so expensive and in order for me to really dance well, I had to wear two pairs at a time.