Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Erin's Chicken Dance

On this, the day after the 40th anniversary of Mankind's first step onto another world (the moon), I'd like to discuss Erin's Chicken Dance.
Now traditionally the Chicken Dance is an oompah song composed by the Swiss accordion (Handharmonika) player, Werner Thomas, from Davos, Switzerland in the 1950s.
The name of the original song was "Der Eententanz" (The Duck Dance). Sometime in the late 1970's the song acquired the name "Vogeltanz" (The Bird Dance), Vogerltanz (Little Bird Dance or Birdie Dance).
The dance was introduced in the United States in 1981 during the Tulsa, Oklahoma, Oktoberfest by the Heilbronn Band from Germany. They wanted to demonstrate the dance in costume, but there were no duck costumes available anywhere near Tulsa. At a local television station, however, a chicken costume was available which was donated for use at the festival, giving the "Chicken Dance" its name.
Interesting as this may be it has absolutely nothing to do with Erin's Chicken Dance, which she apparently discovered while watching the now defunct television sitcom, Arrested Development.
Let's step back a moment and take a look at this with a fresh perspective.
Apparently, during our Fourth of July festivities on the Second, games and feats of physical endurance had been planned, with lovely gifts to be given away. However, with the clowns making off with Erin and all, the tragedy of Robert and the triffids, and the general melee, not to mention the hoopla, the gifts were never given out and remained within the cavernous interior of Erin and Paul's office, specifically encircling Erin's desk.
"It was most unsettling," she would later tell me.
Not wishing to let the situation escalate, the two industrious (and in Erin's case... adventurous), case managers came up with the idea of disposing of these pesky gifts during an impromptu Bingo game, to be held, for some unfathomable reason, smack dab in the middle of when our Thursday Cooking Club should have been taking place.
Near 11:45 last Thursday, Jose and I, fresh from the Hippie Kitchen, arrived at the Defiance Space (where we hold our yoga classes) just as both Erin and Paul drove up.
Erin, dressed in a brown blouse and Summer shorts, unlocked the door. Paul said, "I forgot the prizes. I knew it was just too easy. I got the sodas and chips, and thought, wow, that was too easy."
I offered my services, and Paul and I drove back to his office and collected the brightly colored gift bags, about 15 in all.
"Should we get ice?" Paul asked me.
"The sodas aren't cold?"
"Do we have a tub?"
"Yes, we should get ice."
We drove to the nearby ice store and purchased a 40 pound bag of cubed ice particles, then returned to the Defiance Space.
I held the heavy bag of ice over the tub while Erin and Paul threw cans of soda in. Erin used my Bosun knife to cut open the top of the bag of ice and I began to pour it over the soda.
"Should I cut it some more?" Erin asked me.
"A little. Just to the point where the ice comes out."
Soon the twelve of us who showed had cold sodas to drink and chips to eat, while we hungrily watched Erin eat a Subway sandwich, and Evelyn, one of Erin's and Paul's supervisors, munch on Church's chicken.
Anyway, soon the game began.
The game Bingo can be traced back to Italy in the 1500s, in a game called... ah, skip it.
Evelyn, Erin, and Paul seem to enjoy calling out the Bingo numbers, making all kinds of weird sounds while maintaining a festive atmosphere. They would tease us, asking us, "what numbers do you need?" and "Who's close? Who needs one more?" Stuff like that. They were certifiable.
I stifled a yawn.
At one point, for some reason, Erin broke out in her chicken dance, high stepping forward, while flapping her arms. She did this repeatedly, thoroughly enjoying herself.
It was rather alarming actually.
Her boss, and many others liked it and laughed with Erin in joy.
I happened to win a gift bag that day. Jose was the only one who did not, although he won a dollar for guessing correctly the number of a bingo ball Paul had pulled before calling it.
I received some badly needed shampoo, a toothbrush, some nonfat lard, and a bright new coffee cup that I'm using right now for tea. Please excuse me while I take a sip.
Eeemm, that was good.
Today when prompted by Diane out back during our Garden Club meeting, Erin performed the Chicken Dance yet again. Her uninhibited nature is exceptionally charming.
I have to admit, I'm secretly practicing her technique late at night, up in my box. Please don't tell anybody.
I should have it perfected within a year or two.

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