Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Anniversary (04/11/05)
TITLE: The Last Dance
By Linda Ellis
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Draped with hues of silver and red the hall was beautifully dressed. Candled hearts cast a satin glow across the polished floor.
Having transformed a common fellowship hall into a romantic ballroom, our hostess was beaming with pride, eager to show us where to set our cameras. We were there to capture the images attending this years Valentines Day Dance in a community of retired senior citizens.
Though complimenting our hostess on the beautiful, yet rather large table in the center of the room, I knew we would have to take special care with the cameras for the table not to overshadow the surrounding smaller tables.
“It’s a special table for a very special couple”, she said. “Everyone wants to sit with them. Tables are never large enough, but we do our best.”
Intrigued, I was about to question her further when guests began to arrive. My questions would have to wait, for I was sure this gracious hostess would want to greet them all. But it was as if she had been put in charge of a mystery when she said, “You’ll know when they arrive. They’ll want lots of pictures. And they always dance the first dance and the last dance. You’ll see”, as she hurried away to greet her guests.
Wow! Curious-er and Curious-er. What made this couple so special I wondered? And they’ll dance the first dance and the last dance? What does that mean? Good heavens! Had royalty retired here from some obscure country?
While guests filled the hall it was becoming apparent that this was going to be the dance of the year. Keeping a close watch on the center table I noticed everyone moving towards the door. At first I thought they were leaving. But soon I could see the receiving line being formed on either side of the door, cleverly arranged to look like an open heart.
This must be the arrival of the special couple for whom everyone was waiting. Without standing on top of a table, which would be at the top of common and rude, it was impossible to see over the sea of red, with crowns of salt and pepper, silver and white on every head. I would just have to wait for what I was now sure would be the Prince and Princess of Somewhere.
No surprise that he was tall and handsome while she was small and beautiful. They appeared to be in their early sixties, dressed in the simplicity of ivory. Hair that had once been black was now threaded with silver. Hers was adorned with an unusual comb, and the flower in his label matched the ivory bracelet around her wrist.
Even the most jaded eye could see they adored each other. Could this be the reason everyone wanted a seat at their table? I could hear the music of the band as if to say, “Let the dance begin”. All eyes watched the only couple dancing the first dance.
I had much to ask but knew my questions should be brief. Up close, they were stunning. Perhaps they truly were Royalty. Dare I ask?
He was brought to America from Spain at the age of fourteen and she at the age of nine. They met in America and fell in love. They had no children but were devoted to more than 20 nieces and nephews living in Spain.
My last question was simple and brief enough. Yet the answer rendered me speechless as tears threatened to fall. They barely looked sixty, and in this day of so many broken homes and divorce, I felt as if I was in the presence of awesome love and very great wisdom. Royalty Indeed.
He was the age of 90 and she was 91. In younger days they had agreed to dress simply, yet always to match. The comb in her hair was a wedding gift from her Mother. On this night they were celebrating their 77th Wedding Anniversary.
Yes, they danced the last dance. A few months later she quietly died, and he followed before their next anniversary.
The image of Royalty captured was the image of Christ dancing the first dance and the last dance with His Bride; A King and A Queen. Now is there anyone left to wonder, why many wanted to sit at their table?
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