Lady Antebellum sings this song “DANCING AWAY WITH MY HEART” which has inspired me to pen a few lines in tribute to my father as it is close to his birthday and his death date. I first heard this phrase from my Daddy more years ago than I really want to remember, but this is my way to honor the man who fathered me. He was not the best Dad in the world but he was mine and I miss him terribly.
I looked up at my Daddy so handsome as he leaned against the door jamb on one of his rare visits home, tapping his foot to the beat of the music on the radio playing in Grams kitchen. When the tempo changed and Patsy Cline began to sing ” I FALL TO PIECES”, Daddy reached out his hand and said “May I” as I giggled I put my hand in his and felt the hand of a working man with its callous’ busted knuckles from bar fights, as much as from the nails and boards he worked with every day, and stepped on the tops of his work boots.
He said “Step on up there good now,” as he held my hands tightly but gently so I felt secure. We began to dance he moving his feet slowly but to the rhythm of the music, turning, twirling, gliding across the dining room into the living room on Grammies waxed floor singing the song along with the woman on the radio. As it came to an end Daddy dipped me and I laughed as he said: “Daddy’s girl dance away with my heart!” I twirled away and he called me back to tell me he was leaving for work in California and he would be back as soon as he could. It was many years later as a grown woman expecting my first child that I visited my father in California, he took his girl to Disney Land and treated me to dinner after. He placed the order at the restaurant while I visited the loo and it was a wonderful joy filled dinner and conversation was full of the days’ events and the years past, catching up but feeling like we had not been apart. As we exited the restaurant and waited for the car, Daddy asked if I had enjoyed the meal then proceeded to tell me I had eaten rattlesnake. Now I don’t know with expecting his first granddaughter or the real idea of that meal did it, but suddenly I was stepping to the side of the building to lose my dinner. That night Daddy played that old Patsy Cline song on his record player, holding out his hand he asked “May I?” this time I laid my head on his shoulder and enjoyed the security of being held by my father after so many years apart. He asked after my happiness and the baby and her father. And when the song ended he said: “You will always be my little girl now dance away with my heart”. I laughed as did he, those are the only two times I ever danced with my Dad and I am so glad I have those memories. I love and miss you so much, Dad. HAPPY BIRTHDAY and take care of my little girl, dance with her among the clouds and stars as you did with me.
Keith Carlos Williams
May 3, 1928, – May 19th, 2003