Friday, January 20, 2012

Dance, Little Bird

Beak-2-3-4, wings-2-3-4, tail-2-3-4, clap-2-3-4
I picked L.E. up from daycare today and her daily report said she loved doing The Chicken Dance. That completely warmed my heart and made me tear up. See when I was in nursery school, we learned The Chicken Dance. I loved it because it was easy to do and didn't require a lot of thought like The Hokey Pokey. Also, it's a polka. Polkas were a huge part of my childhood because of Pap. He would listen to them every weekend on AM radio. This was in Southwestern Pennsylvania where the Eastern European influence was still strong. Polka halls were not a thing of the past.
  Jack Tady's Polka Place was Pap's favorite polka program. It was on every Saturday and Sunday. Jack Tady and the Tady Bears were pretty big on the accordion circuit. (Yes, there's an accordion circuit. Be nice.) They toured with Frankie Yankovic, the Polka King of Cleveland, many times.
As a card-carrying member of the SNPJ, Pap was very proud of his heritage. And I absorbed as much of it as I could. To this day, I not only know what a Kishka is, I may actually know who stole it. When someone says, "Hail Hail, the Gang's All Here..." I know to respond with, "What the heck do we care, what the heck do we care..." So when I learned a dance that goes to a POLKA at SCHOOL(!) I couldn't wait to tell Pap. The only problem was, this was before the internet and the song had no words. I only knew it as "Dance Little Bird" but didn't know the artist. I wanted to own this song so I could do the dance any time I wanted. And when you told Pap you wanted something, no matter how vague, he would get it for you.
We went to every record store in the tri-state area. He called K-Marts and Hills Department stores. Nobody had it. Finally, he decided to call the only man who had a direct conduit to all things polka: Jack Tady. Jack was nice enough to order the record for him. It cost $7. I could not have been happier to have that 45 in my hands! I could beak-2-3-4, wings-2-3-4, tail-2-3-4, clap-2-3-4 to my heart's content. And it was all because of Pap.
When my sister got married, I made sure the DJ played that song so that Pap and I could Chicken Dance together. So hearing that L.E. enjoyed it so much really made my heart burst. We came home and I brought up the song on YouTube. She did the dance once and really wanted me to pick her up and twirl. So that we did. We rolled out the barrel of fun, all in triple-time.

No comments:

Post a Comment