“Uncle Dan, I’ve got a problem.”
The blind uncle stopped rocking in his chair and turned his head to face the boy standing on the porch.
“And what is it?” responded the old man in a soothing voice.
“It’s Priscilla, she’s asked me to be her date to next week’s prom,” said the bashful Ernie, a good looking young man of sixteen years who was clueless about girls, even neighbor Priscilla, who he’d known and played with since they were toddlers.
“Doesn’t sound like a problem to me,” replied Dan, “she’s a smart and kind girl, and I’ve heard she’s quite pretty.”
All true thought Ernie, Priscilla was the neatest girl he’d ever known, and so pretty he often found himself tongue tied when she spoke to him.
Perceiving the boy’s silence as confusion, Uncle Dan pushed, “so what’s really bothering you?”
Ernie stammered, then blurted out, “I don’t know how to dance.”
Dan laughed, then cried out, “of course you don’t. But we can fix that easy enough.”
Wide eyed, Ernie replied, “Really?”
“Really,” answered Dan, who then gave his nephew instructions on where to find a box in his bedroom closet. Ernie disappeared, then returned moments later with a small cardboard box. He held it out to his uncle.
“Open it,” said Dan.
Ernie removed the lid. Inside was a pair of brightly shined new shoes, and not just any shoes. These were hand made, sleekly fashioned shoes with leather souls.
“What did you find?” asked the old man.
“The finest pair of shoes I’ve ever seen,” exclaimed the boy.
“Them’s dancing shoes, son. With those shoes on, you can dance all night like Fred Astaire. Them’s the shoes I wore to take your Aunt Winnie out dancing,” said Dan, then added softly, “and how we loved to dance.”
“Really?” asked Ernie, touching the shoes reverently.
“Magic shoes, boy, you put them on and you can dance anything, just let them take you away with her.”
“Wow!” said Ernie, picking up one of the shoes and eyeing it closely. They were truly beautiful shoes.
“Put them on,” insisted Dan.
Ernie stopped, “No, I can’t, they’re yours.”
“Only memories now, son, Winnie’s gone and our dancing days are done. Time for some new feet to use the magic.”
Ernie sat down on the porch steps and cautiously put on the beautiful, shining dancing shoes.
“How do they feel?” asked Dan.
Ernie stood up, wiggled his toes, bounced his feet up and down on the porch.
“It’s amazing. They fit perfectly.”
“Of course they do, they’re magic shoes,” replied his uncle.
With that, Ernie began swooping and swaying, embracing an imaginary partner as he pranced and danced about the porch. Uncle Dan smiled.
Finally, Ernie stopped in front of Dan and asked, “can I borrow them?”
“Of course,” said his Uncle, “but, you must do one thing to keep the magic going.”
“Ernie listened intently.
“Once you start dancing with your true love, dance with her every day until the music stops.”
* * *
In the cool evening air, Ernie looked out as the sky turned crimson. He rocked slowly in the same chair, on the same porch, his uncle had shared with him years ago. Ernie had gone to the dance with Priscilla, worn those magic shoes, and they’d danced every day for nearly sixty years, until Priscilla passed.
He smiled, remembering when his mom had told him those shoes were meant to be a present from Winnie to Dan on their fiftieth wedding anniversary. But Winnie’s heart had failed before they could share that dance, and Dan had never worn those shoes.
Moral: If you are blessed to find your perfect partner, dance, dance, dance until the music stops.