Eddie Garcia was a ski instructor and worked maintenance in Teton National Park and that’s all she knew about him, except he taught her to dance the two-step.
Jackson Wyoming is a cowboy town. The town square is entered by one of four arches made entirely of elk horns. In the local shops a whole cowboy outfit with varied degrees of sparkle can be purchased, if that takes your fancy. Stetson, boots, huge metal buckle belt and fringed jacket adorned many store windows. She resisted temptation and bought walking shoes instead. After a days hard shopping, the world famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar beckoned. ‘You will be asked to dance.’ she had been told. She hoped it was true. She wanted to be true.
Walking inside the bar was like meeting characters from the movies, men strode into the room with cowboy purpose – a confident certainty to their gait. Two long smooth bars stretched down each side of the room – perfect for sliding drinks! The bar stools were old saddles complete with stirrups. While in the far corner, stood the stage and a small dance floor.
Just after 9pm the band struck up the first tune and the dance floor was full. Couples whirled and twirled, each clearly knowing the steps – men and women dancing together. None of the hesitancy and separation of an English disco. She didn’t see him approach. She just heard the request and up she got. Ballroom dancing was the stuff of her youth. However this was different. It was unfamiliar and it was with someone. Two steps forward, one back and move in time to the music. Conversation was limited, since words from her mouth sent her feet the wrong way.
As the music died, she returned to her seat satisfied to have been asked once. Age thirteen the last time a man had asked her to dance. It had been a long wait. So she was very shocked, when Eddie returned for a second and third try. His gentle humility and eagerness, a welcome novelty. The third dance was more difficult. Try as she might she couldn’t pick up the rhythm at all. The other couples swirled furiously, while Eddie had his own pace, which involved a lot of arm twisting. A very real potential for a broken wrist, she thought!
After a brief chat, her ride back to camp was departing and she had to leave, like Cinderella before midnight.