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Saturday, June 11, 2005

Cotton-eyed Joe!

I haven't been to a honky-tonk in years, never actually anticipated returning to one, but I wouldn't trade my experience last night for many others! Of course I experienced it through eyes other than mine, that those were the eyes of my new Russian friends. Natalia Shiroglazova and Yulia Smakulova have stayed with us since Thursday, and we'll be sad to see them go tomorrow. They and their friends Anna Karpova, Olga Chikova, and Larissa Permyakova, all of the city of Izhevsk in the Republic of Udmurtia, are delightful. The five are visiting Rotarians in District 5790 are currently the guests of my club and the other two Abilene organizations.

They've done the proper, expected things. Since Olga and Anna are physicians, they visited Abilene Regional Medical Center. Natalia, a university professor, was at home when they visited Abilene Christian University. Yulia who is a travel agent has visited with her Texas counterparts, and Larissa who works for a governmental agency and maintains English-language web sites saw our courthouse. They've eaten the best Abilene has to offer and are now seeing Frontier Texas,
the Grace Museum, the NCCIL and the 12th Armored museum.

At the ladies special request, though, Bill Page and I experienced a honky-tonk with them last night. What great fun! They sat on the high stools gathered around a little table, drinking their beer and thoroughly enjoying watching the dance floor. I kept wanting to ask some of the men to ask them to dance, but I didn't see any of the probation officers who were the only men I thought frequented bars that I might know. I didn't need to worry, though. When the opening strains of Cotton-eyed Joe! began, and other women started dancing, I suggested they get out there. They did! From that point on, others asked them to dance and most of the time one or more of them were on the dance floor. It was a great night, and as Bill said to me, "I don't think these ladies will forget Abilene!" And I certainly won't forget them, and Cotton-eyed Joe! will always have a fond place in my heart as well.

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