"Come on, baby, let's do the twist."
Chubby Checkers may have made it famous but the moves of the dance came before that.
We grew up in a small town in Wisconsin. Our father worked in a canning factory just two blocks down the street and across the railroad tracks.
Hiding in the bushes and running out with rakes in our hands to pull fresh pea vines off the passing trucks was great summer entertainment.
A long driveway separated us from the big white house immediately to our east which housed a strange family who had chickens in their backyard, and we did get to watch when they chopped of a chicken's head and then the body would run around the yard.
One of their daughters, about my age, liked me to sit on her and pinch her nose and cover her mouth until she nearly passed out. They moved away before we could fall in love.
Midway down the driveway, hornets would build a nest in the ground near their oiltank input pipe. One day some friends ran down the driveway, quickly to avoid being stung.
I lagged behind. They urged me on. I finally ran fast, but I could see the line of hornets exiting the hole coming right for me.
Damn that hurts. These days I swell up like a balloon when I'm stung.
One summer day, early evening, we're in the front yard, and my little sister comes out and she's about 4?, and wearing one of mom's dresses, way too big of course, and she was infinitely cute.
We're all having a lovely time and she suddenly starts dancing. Something small kids sometimes do, they just love life. She's dancing, really making some cool moves.
We're all commenting on how agile and groovy she is.
She was doing some serious dancing, not just twist, but she probably invented
break dancing that day too.
It suddenly became apparent that something was wrong. A wasp had flown into the big floppy dress and was stinging her and she couldn't get it out, and had been too hysterical to tell us what was happening.
She survived and moved to Houston. I skipped the inbetween parts.
Next, more family life, how we ripped holey pajamas off of my older sister.