Squaring Away the Holiday

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A summer buffet would not be considered a true hoedown without dancing. Just what is a “hoedown”? Webster dictionary says, “hoedown (ho’doun’) noun

1. a lively, rollicking dance, often a square dance
2. music for this
3. a party at which hoedowns are danced
Etymology: prob. of black orig.” *

I don’t suppose there will be square dancing at many of the July 4 parties we’re about this summer, but I have my own theory about the origin of hoedown: a lively party with rollicking dance represents a time when partygoers did just as the word says; they put their “hoes down”, took a break from their work in the fields, and romped their way through a well deserved session of merriment.

Put down your hoes or, as in my case, just a small garden trowel, and take a break. Kick up your heels, imagine the following frolic and celebrate the holiday.

Summer Sounds
(singing square dance call)
Circle left,
Listen to the music of the carousel,
The ting a ling of the ice cream bell.*
Allemande left your corner, partners do sa do
Men star left once around you go
Do sa do your partner, your corner allemande
Come back and promenade around the land
Here come, summer sounds
Summer sounds I love.
(Heads) star thru, pass thru, circle round the track
Head men break and make a line, go forward up and back
Pass thru, wheel and deal, centers star thru
Pass thru, cloverleaf, the new center two
Square thru 3/4, turn the corner by left
All the way round and promenade the set
Happy summer sounds
The summer sounds I love.

*Alternate lines: – Listen to the paddle of a steam boat on a Sunday cruise, The sizzle of the hot dogs at a barbecue. – Listen to the shrieking of the rollercoaster way up high, The whistles on the beach as a peach goes by. Join all your hands and circle left go dancin’ round the ring.

We should all follow this advice from Jim Penrod’s Ground Rules of Square Dancing found at www.penrod-sq-dancing.com:
DON’T FORGET “A SMILE ON YOUR FACE HELPS YOUR FEET WORK BETTER.”

Suggested reading: Amy Axelrod, Pigs in the Corner: Fun with Math and Dance, Simon and Schuster, NY, 2001.
From the “pigs will be pigs” series for ages 4-8, Mr. Pig fills in for the missing caller at the square dancing recital, in a title that combines square dancing and math in a foot-stompin’ good time.

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