Rhonda Cagle

Archive for May, 2012|Monthly archive page

It Takes A Village

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2012 at 10:07 pm

It’s said it takes a village to raise a child. It’s also true that it takes a village to grieve one. That’s the subject I’m exploring in my latest column for The Arizona Republic.http://www.azcentral.com/community/swvalley/20120514cagle-aftermath-suicide-navigated-help-friends-other-resources


Shaelee (left) and Megan at school.

Making Peace With the Pieces

In Uncategorized on May 9, 2012 at 9:50 am

It’s a conversation we don’t like to have. We avoid talking about mental illness and suicide. But when we do, the victims – people such as my goddaughter and my best friend – suffer in silence. That’s why I’m talking about it in my column in The Arizona Republic. I hope you’ll join the conversation.http://www.azcentral.com/community/swvalley/articles/2012/05/07/20120507cagle-sometimes-lifes-pieces-never-fit-leaving-shattered-peace.html


Shaelee (left) and Megan wearing matching Mickey Mouse t-shirts on a visit to Disneyland at the end of First Grade.

Swayin’ Alive

In Uncategorized on May 6, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Growing up Pentecostal, we didn’t dance. At all. If the religious rhetoric was to be believed, we didn’t listen to rock ’n roll, wear pants, or go to the movies either. More progressive Fundamentalists (I know, it’s an oxymoron) might overlook women wearing pants, but dancing was a conga line with a groovy beat that led straight to Hell’s gates. In fact, there’s an old joke in Pentecostal circles that asks why Pentecostals don’t have sex standing up. The answer? Because people might think they’re dancing. Apparently, Pentecostals also don’t believe in a well-developed sense of humor, but that’s a subject for a different day.

Like all recovering Pentecostals, I’ve moved beyond the restrictions of my youth. I love rock ’n roll (put another dime in the juke box, baby), I’ve embraced pants, and I occasionally watch a movie, when I have time. But I still do not dance. Not because of any moral compunction, but because – well – I can’t. The age when one learns to move and groove came and went 25+ years ago for me. I’m awkward. Self-conscious. I’m middle-aged. I’m 20 pounds too heavy to “shake my groove thang.”Whenever I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine and am tempted to hit the dance floor, I instantly hear in my head the screenplay of the movie Steel Magnolias and the voice of Clairee disdainfully commenting to Ouiser about the mayor’s wife, dancing at a wedding reception… “Looks like two pigs fighting under a blanket.”

In my professional life, I have occasion to attend events that involve drinking, dinner, drinking, more drinking, and dancing – usually in that order. As other couples take to the dance floor to dance the night away, I look for a seat so I can watch. And yes, my feet hurt and I’m thankful to slip off my heels and hide them under my gown or the edge of the tablecloth, but I’m also slightly wistful.

Young women, my daughter’s age, take to the dance floor with a date or with their girlfriends, moving gracefully and mindlessly to the beat. For them, there’s no thinking about how to move or how they look. There’s only movement – allowing something primal and magical and innate to find expression in rhythm, melody and lyrics. They are mesmerizing and captivating, their youth and beauty more beautiful than their dresses or jewelry.

As lovely as these young women are, it’s the older ladies who really hold my attention. They have raised children, welcomed grandchildren, and held together families and neighborhoods. They have weathered storms, buried spouses and survived illness. They take to the dance floor, not because of their appearance, but simply because they can. They dance for the sheer joy of being among the living – knowing both are a gift and miracle worth celebrating. It is breathtaking to watch.

Photo: Birtchtreephotographyblog.com

I wish the Pentecostals of my formative years could have known this wisdom – could have understood that dancing, like breathing, is simply an expression of life. I’m glad my heart has learned this. Someday, I hope my feet can, too. But in the meantime, the band will keep playing and the people will keep swaying. And I’ll keep watching, seeing life dance before my very eyes.

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