Transfixus Sed Non Mortuus

Here I Stand, Pierced and Transfixed

Browsing Posts tagged dancing

Feel the Music

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I’ve posted before about the power of music, and I love to see examples like this in everyday life. Jacob seems to really be feeling it, and that is pretty cool to see!

Our eight-year-old blind-autistic son Jacob enjoying some fine acoustic guitar by a musician in downtown Lawrence, Kansas on May 13, 2012.
Tyler … Thank you so much for letting Jacob feel the music! http://tylergregorymusic.com


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKXkbs55KXU

This weekend was quite an excellent time for me.

First, I was able to go to my cousin Shelby’s wedding on Saturday. The mass itself was in the amazingly beautiful Holy Redeemer Church in Detroit (a few blocks off Michigan Ave). My mom, two sisters, and myself were able to bring the Walsh contingent. We arrived at Holy Redeemer quite early, so we hung out in the parking lot talking. A pack of three pit bulls sauntered by, and we got to talking about some of the wild dogs that must roam Detroit. We weren’t sure if these were wild or not, but we definitely didn’t want to take our chances on trying to catch them! They looked like they were on a mission as they went in single file across the parking lot to the dumpsters, and then moved on. It actually felt like a scene from a documentary about hyenas or something.

We went inside the church a while later, and looked around. I had been there many years ago, and it was nice to remember some of the lovely memories we had there. I had been there before heading off to the St. Patrick’s Day parades that the Walsh/Carey family always used to participate in. We had been there for some of the quinceaneras as well. I remember being taken aback by the sheer size of the church when I was a kid, and even on Saturday, I felt it was quite breathtaking.

After Mass, my family and I went to Fuddruckers because there was a three or four hour break between the Mass and the reception. We had a blast hanging out and talking. My mom parted ways with us after a few hours, so my two sisters and I hung out at the Hotel Fairlane (where the reception was to be).

While we were hanging out in one of the long ornate hallways, we saw an older couple come in. By his stride, looks, and the way he carried himself, I could tell the man was an Irish folk singer. They set up in the lobby where people were congregating before the dinner.

As he started playing, my one sister asked the other, “Isn’t that Charlie Taylor?” His voice sounded very much like him, but the other sister said, “I don’t think so.” I too remembered Charlie Taylor as a larger man with broad shoulders and belly. However, it turned out that we were mistaken. In fact, it was Charlie Taylor himself.

For those of you who don’t know, Charlie Taylor is an excellent Irish folk singer, and was a very good friend of my grandfather’s. He is classically trained in operatic singing, and has a lovely voice. My grandfather gave him his start at Walsh’s bar in Detroit many years ago.

When we found out it was him, we stood nearby for a while. When he sang “Danny Boy,” it immediately brought me back to some of the Irish funerals where he had sung that song while we were interring someone. A little later, I brought my two sisters over and we introduced ourselves to him when he finished a song. He seemed genuinely happy to see us, and said, “Oh, I remember you. Your grandfather and I had some great times!” We talked for a few minutes, and then let him get back to playing his set.

We talked to a few other interesting people, saw some relatives we hadn’t seen in years, and generally had a nice time waiting for the dining area to open.

When the dining area finally did open, we took our seats. At first, my two sisters and I were sitting all alone, but a couple who didn’t have any seats joined us named Andy and Corrine. They seemed like interesting enough folk. However, I was very excited when Charlie Taylor and his wife sat down with us!

Charlie and I talked about the Irish language and everyone soon joined in, laughing about the huge “difference” between pronunciation and they way words are spelled in Gaelic. Charlie talked about some of the moments in his life, and Andy asked about the Old Shillelagh. Charlie talked a bit about how he and another gentleman started it, though he was quick to tell us that he was the one who had come up with the name of the place.

Charlie told the girls the story of the exploding potbelly stove at Walsh’s Bar. I had heard this story before, but it was great to hear Charlie tell it. Basically a gentleman and friend of the Walshes (whose name I’ve forgotten) came in to Walsh’s Bar with a brown paper package of steaks and a few other groceries. When he wasn’t looking some practical jokers switched the steaks out of the package and replaced them with coal. However, they didn’t notice that there were two cans of soup at the bottom. As the gentleman got up to leave, they stole his brown paper package, and started tossing it around the room. They were all laughing and carrying on playing “monkey in the middle” until one clever prankster decided to throw it in the potbelly stove that heated the place. They all had a good laugh about it and explained to the gentleman that they had not actually thrown his groceries in the flame. He was greatly relieved, until a gigantic and resounding explosion rocked the whole scene. The soup cans had exploded from the extreme coal-fired heat. In fact, Charlie told me that the potbellied stove was ruined and had to be replaced.

Charlie gave us lots of other great stories and anecdotes about his life and his travels. Before I knew it, a few hours had passed. Charlie’s dinner didn’t agree with him, so he and his wife left. So, the girls and I went out on the dance floor for a while. We shook our booties and had a great time.

Before we knew it, it was much later than we had planned to stay and we said our farewells. We were able to take my cousin Margo home and talk to her for a little while longer, and then we headed back home.

I woke up the next morning very excited because it was the day of my “2011 Winter Sports Crawl.” I had been planning this event for a long time, and I was very excited. The idea behind a sports crawl is to have multiple games and sports throughout the day. In one way, it is sort of like the olympics, but the biggest difference is that its main idea is that it is a pick-up type game where anyone and everyone plays and is welcome.

We played kickball in the snow at first. We used a sled to make the “track” to roll the kickball. It was kind of fun because the kickball would sometimes jump out of the track at the last second, making the ball really hard to kick. We started out by just throwing it a few times while we waited for people to arrive, and then when we had enough for a team we played a few innings. I had a lot of fun with that!

Next, we played football in the snow. It was a lot of fun to just lay out and catch the ball. Andrew was on my team and was covering my other friend John, but John was super fast and was running some great routes. Andrew said for me to take over because John “has cleats, or at least that I’m going to tell myself.” We had a good laugh about that, but then I wasn’t laughing so much trying to keep up with John. I had a couple of good defensive plays, but that man is fast!

We then played “snow gauntlet” and “snow pie.” I had originally planned on ice skating, but no one really seemed to want to do it. So, we played the “snow pie” for a lot longer than originally planned.

When we had finished with all that, we took a break and went to dinner at my friend Robin’s house. We had pizza and pop and just hung around for a while.

Then, we went to Veteran’s Park and finished the sports crawl with some sledding. The hill was very fast and a bit icy. We decided to go to a smaller hill near the big one to avoid injury. Then, Adam and Andrew proceeded to ride a picnic table all the way down that hill! It was pretty impressive from where I stood.

A few of us went out to McDonald’s afterwards for some hot chocolate and socializing. Since, it was Sunday, we didn’t stay for too long, said our goodbyes and went on with the rest of our merry lives.

To sum up, this weekend was simply wonderful, and I am really grateful for the lovely times and memories. Even though my body took a bit of a beating and I’m still sore even now, I wouldn’t change any of it!

Dance and Look Up

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Look to the sky. Look to the sea. Look unto the heaviness of the land. You can dance if you have the time, but only if you search amid the wreckage of a long-remembered past. There, in the lilies and the moonlight lie the shadows of the world you left behind.

Like lotus eaters on an island in the sea, you travel with Giovanni and Heracles, while the world around you dances. Dance then, for the life you look to be is spinning nearer than your half-expectant reveries. And lo, the answers of Hannah’s upward-looking eyes draw yours too, if you’ll let them go. Look up, then. Look up like Hannah did so long ago. Dance, look up, and see that clouds are lifting.

Thousands are Sailing

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The island, it is silent now
but the ghosts still haunt the waves.
And the torch lights up a famished man
who fortune could not save.

Did you work upon the railroad?
Did you rid the streets of crime?
Were your dollars from the White House?
Were they from the five and dime?

Did the old songs taunt or cheer you,
and did they still make you cry
Did you count the months and years
or did your teardrops quickly dry?

“Ah, no,” says he, “twas not to be
On a coffin ship I came here
And I never even got so far
that they could change my name”

Thousands are sailing
across the western ocean
to a land of opportunity
that some of them will never see.
Fortune prevailing
across the western ocean.
Their bellies full,
their spirits free,
they’ll break the chains of poverty,
and they’ll dance…

In Manhattan’s desert twilight,
in the death of afternoon,
we stepped hand in hand on Broadway,
like the first man on the moon.

And “The Blackbird” broke the silence,
as you whistled it so sweet
and in Brendan Behan’s footsteps,
I danced up and down the street!

Then we said goodnight to Broadway,
giving it our best regards,
tipped our hats to Mister Cohen,
dear old Times Square’s favorite bard.

Then we raised a glass to JFK,
and a dozen more besides!
When I got back to my empty room,
I suppose I must have cried.

Thousands are sailing
again across the ocean
where the hand of opportunity
draws tickets in a lottery.
Postcards we’re mailing
of sky-blue skies and oceans
from rooms the daylight never sees
where lights don’t glow on Christmas trees,
but we dance to the music
and we dance!

Thousands are sailing
across the western ocean
where the hand of opportunity
draws tickets in a lottery.
Where e’er we go, we celebrate
the land that makes us refugees
from fear of Priests with empty plates
from guilt and weeping effigies,
and we dance to the music
and we dance!
~Shane McGowan

I really like this music video, and not just because it is funny and silly (two things I hold very dear to my heart!). I also like this video because the gentleman with the glasses reminds me of myself. I have always been the nerdy boy doing nerdy dances, and people have often told me that I’m doing it wrong. When people have told me that I am doing something wrong, I have sometimes allowed the joy that I was building fall away, and then I stop dancing.

I understand the joy that comes to fruition after months of practicing dance, and seeing it all “come together.” That is an amazing rush to move with the precision of a clock. There is a certain joy in that. But for me, I the most joy is built in me when I can forget the world around around me, the dance moves, and my impressions of what people are thinking. Then, I can just let my body tell me the dance moves, not a choreographer. I might look incredibly idiotic, but I love that feeling (when I’m not too sensitive). I love to be free and happy, and dancing is a great way to feel like I am, even when I’m neither free nor happy in all actuality.

Lord of the Dance

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My grandfather on my dad’s side died when I was two (I think), so I have no recollection of him whatsoever. However, being the seventh child, I was able to hear stories of “Pa” from my many older siblings. Though I never knew him, I have come to associate certain songs with him. One such song is “Lord of the Dance.”

My dad had an old vinyl “45” record that had “Lord of the Dance” on one of its sides. I believe the artist was my grandfather’s good friend Charlie Taylor. Sometimes on a Sunday afternoon, my dad would take down that record from a shelf in the closet of his room (where none of us kids could reach it), and bring it to the room where the record player was. Very carefully, he would attach the yellow clip to change the diameter of the 45 to the size that would fit the turntable. I remember a few of us would gather around watching this like it was a production.

We would look at each other with excitement as he started the turntable, and as the needle hit the record, the speakers filled with a bit of crackling noise. In the crackling silence, the excitement would continue to build. Then, all at once, the music started. The upbeat tempo was electricity flowing across the room, into and through all of us, and we would start to dance so laughingly and joyfully. Lord knows that we didn’t know HOW to dance a lick, but like kids do before they’re trained in steps and hand positions, we flailed about madly, freely, and happily.

We would sing as much as our breath could allow while we stepped to and fro across the orange carpeted living room, sometimes running into each other, sometimes joining hands, and sometimes floating apart in every direction imaginable.

I remember my sister Rose’s high steps, and my brother Sam’s silly turns of his body to the quick beat of the music. One image that sticks in my mind is of Sam and Rose actually holding hands while we all danced around in a circle. The same went for Rachel and Joe. I remember thinking that the “Lord of the Dance” must have some sort of powerful magic, because no way would my siblings (who are normally so at odds) ever be holding hands unless someone made them. I remember Mary and I doing a dance together, and how my older siblings circled around us clapping because we were the youngest (and I’m sure the dance was quite silly). I’m sure we didn’t dance with the rhythm of the song, but nobody cared about all that stuff. It was like all our hearts were touching pure unadulterated joy and acceptance.

I felt love, belonging, happiness, joy, and peace all at once, rolled up and mixed together into one great big “YES” feeling. As the song continued, I remember my legs being so very tired, my heart beating in my chest, and my mouth gasping for air, but continuing the dance anyway to see if that feeling of freedom and fun could somehow become more free and more fun if I kept at it. In fact, I would try to dance faster! I didn’t want it to end! But the song would eventually end, and we would beg our dad to play it again and again.

Looking back on those memories and that song, I don’t necessarily know why I associate it with my grandfather. Perhaps a sibling or parent once said that Pa liked that song or maybe that Pa would have loved to have seen us dancing so crazily.

One thing I do know is that whenever I hear or sing that song, a sense of where I’ve come from and of a grandfather who I barely knew come together into a strange, blended, and beautiful emotion. I say to myself that I am a Walsh. I am the grandson of William Walsh. I am the son of William and Dolores Walsh, and I am the brother of Bill, Rose, Sam, Dan, Joe, Rachel, Mary, and Theresa Walsh. I’m a Walsh, and I love my family no matter what. It’s true that when I say those things, I smile with my mouth, but I can also feel that my heart and soul are smiling too.

The Weekend

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This weekend was nothing short of amazing for me.

On Saturday, I was a groomsman in my friend Bryan’s wedding. It was really amazing to witness the love that he and Christina share, and it was such an honor to be a part of it. I really enjoyed the “pre-wedding conversation” that Bryan and I had, and overall, it was a really nice day.

The reception was also great fun. They had it at the Bauery Restaurant up at Mount Brighton (where they had their first date). Bryan contracted a few members of the band Millish to play, and they brought a few of their friends to make up a “bluegrass” band. They were a blast to dance to. I spent nearly the entire night dancing my little heart out, and generally having fun. Some of my family and friends came out, so it was great to dance with them, as well.

When I got home that evening, I just crashed and fell fast asleep. When I awoke, I was a little sore from all the cutting of ye ole rug the night before, but I stretched out and prepared for a wonderful day, for Sunday was the Third Annual Sports Crawl!

You may be asking yourself, “What is a sports crawl?” A sports crawl is an amazing event where we play multiple games/sports for an entire day. Before the day was done, we played football, sand volleyball, basketball, soccer, kickball, and light-up ultimate (in the dark). It was such an amazing time! There were about forty people that showed up throughout the day, and I had a lot of fun with everyone involved.

This morning, however, I woke up, and my muscles felt very sore, and boy was I tired. However, it was totally worth it. A weekend filled with good friends really helps keep me grateful for everything that I am blessed with.

Uncle Dan

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She can dance to the flute,
dance to the fiddle.
she’s as neat around the waist
as a cow around the middle.
Let ‘er go, let ‘er go,
you’ll find another!
There’s a lot of pretty women
at the head of Grand River.

Now the Widow Malone lived by the strand
for forty years without a man.
She danced around and she waved her fan
and set her eyes on me uncle Dan.

She can dance to the flute,
dance to the fiddle.
she’s as neat around the waist
as a cow around the middle.
Let ‘er go, let ‘er go,
you’ll find another!
There’s a lot of pretty women
at the head of Grand River.
~Irish Descendants

Now he would not listen to my advice,
so he married her there on a wintry night.
She had all the grog at the party fair
and drank every man clean under his chair.

She can dance to the flute,
dance to the fiddle.
she’s as neat around the waist
as a cow around the middle.
Let ‘er go, let ‘er go,
you’ll find another!
There’s a lot of pretty women
at the head of Grand River.

Now when he got home on his wedding night,
me uncle Dan got a hell of a fright.
She hung her leg upon the wall,
down on the floor her teeth did fall.
One glass eye, off came her hair
and down the road me uncle Dan did tear!

She can dance to the flute,
dance to the fiddle.
she’s as neat around the waist
as a cow around the middle.
Let ‘er go, let ‘er go,
you’ll find another!
There’s a lot of pretty women
at the head of Grand River.

Now they claim he ran to France or Spain
and sent a letter home to her sayin’
“Darling, if you ever need another man,
you can’t count me out, Love, Uncle Dan”

She can dance to the flute,
dance to the fiddle.
she’s as neat around the waist
as a cow around the middle.
Let ‘er go, let ‘er go,
you’ll find another!
There’s a lot of pretty women
at the head of Grand River.

She can dance to the flute,
dance to the fiddle.
she’s as neat around the waist
as a cow around the middle.
Let ‘er go, let ‘er go,
you’ll find another!
There’s a lot of pretty women
at the head of Grand River.

Tightrope

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Janelle Monáe – Tightrope

The great and amazing trip down the Thornapple River (back row (from left): Me, Travis, Liz, Andrew, and Jason, front row (from left): Crystal, Adam, and Zach)

I was able to get away this weekend for a wonderful trip in Hastings, Michigan with a few of my good friends. We were originally going to camp in Augusta, Michigan but there was a huge oil spill in the Kalamazoo River. We were able to rearrange our plans.

My friend Andrew picked me up and drove me to Jackson, Michigan, where we met up with Ray and Liz for an afternoon of jet skiing on Portage Lake. That was only my second time on a jet ski, but I loved every minute of it. We had a “Scottish” rock throwing contest as well, which I really enjoyed.

Afterwards, we packed up our things, got a bunch of groceries from Liz’s house, and headed out for the amazing weekend. My friends Zach and Travis met us at our campsite, which was located at Welcome Woods Campground. We couldn’t have asked for a better site. It was off in a far corner of the campground and it had a lot of good shade trees.

On Saturday, a few more of my friends came for the tubing trip down the Thornapple River. We had a great time! The water was perfect, the weather was perfect, the group was perfect, and everything seemed to go just swimmingly!

That evening, we had a dance party on the beach, and then we sat around the campfire, talked, laughed, and generally had a great time until Sunday morning. We jumped in our tents for a few hours of shuteye, and then ate breakfast and headed back to the “real world.”

It was a great weekend. Actually, it wasn’t just great, it was extraordinary! I am so grateful for the friendships I have, especially considering how much I’ve leaned on them over the past months. It’s good to be friends with good people.