Have A Tall Attitude

Elita Sohmer Clayman

In a foreign language, the word nistar means several things. It means something like concealed or hidden miracle. It was used in the book of Esther in the Bible when Esther was called upon to save her family from the evil doer.

We can have our own hidden miracles that may or may not be concealed from our conscious beings. Many of us do not know of our inner strengths or know of our inner abilities especially since we are getting older which is life’s process.

Have you ever thought how words can hurt or soothe you?

I have a friend who emails her daughters daily. They both live out of town. She always signs the emails ‘with love from your mom.’ One daughter responds the same way with love from your daughter. The other one responds once in a while that way and other times nothing at all. The woman gets very upset when she sees this. She seems to need the other daughter to respond with the simple word of love to soothe her day.

I want to tell my friend that at this age in her senior life, she does not need the approval of this daughter. She knows she was a good mom and if this daughter cannot put down the simple word of love knowing that her mom craves this; then this is the daughter’s meanness to her aging mom. I tell her that she cannot let her daughter steal her life at this moment in being.

I was cleaning out some drawers and found a piece of paper from when I went back to get a college degree at age thirty-three. The Hungarian professor had quite an accent and the first day I heard him speak in the lecture room, I thought it would be hard to comprehend what he was saying. After the first time, I had no trouble and he and I became great friends.

When the semester was over, I sent him a thank you note for encouraging me, the oldest member in the class at age thirty-three. The rest were all teens and I was the most attentive and productive classmate he had seen in a long time. One day during the semester, I brought my three year old to class with me because his pre-school was closed for the day. The professor, Dr. Z. John Levay looked at me and said that he did not think it the appropriate place for a tot that day since we were discussing psychology and sex. I told him that if he misbehaved, I would leave immediately and that he could not understand what he was lecturing on.

At the end of the class, he came up to me and my son and said what a wonderful and well behaved child he was and at that moment Jeffrey jumped into his arms and hugged him. From that moment of hugging came a long and sincere friendship between our family and Dr. Levay’s family. We went to each other’s happy events and celebrated with joy those lovely times.

When he passed on eleven years ago, I gave one of the eulogies at his funeral ceremony in his church. I told of the time that Jeffrey jumped into his arms and how Dr. Levay had said to me on the first test essay paper- Mrs. Clayman; you can and will do better. He gave me a B on it and from that day forward, I attained all A’s and graduated the college with honor five years later.

The simple wording of you can and will do better encouraged me to excel. That is what we can all do in our dancing regardless of whatever age we begin to dance. Our teachers can instill in us the faith that we are special people taking on a lovely sport or hobby and that we will do fantastic things with it. We can compete, we can social dance and we will make many new dancing friends at the dance halls.

One day at the college before I graduated, I wrote a letter to the dean supporting Dr. Levay’s quest for his full professorship. The college was withholding it for some reason and I wrote this letter of what he meant to me in my life and to everyone who he offered his hope to do well. Lo and behold, the college who had been suppressing the confirmation of the professorship in full awarded it to him.

He wrote me a thank you note and in it he stated

"To my star student Elita Sohmer Clayman who has earned my sincere respect because she has found herself and who, as an adult became a child again; a Child of God, by virtue of being a peacemaker."

That was in 1970. I had bridged the wide gulf between the school administration and their petty ways in withholding what was surely due this gifted scholar and teacher. The teens and I loved him and he introduced to all of us, regardless of age, that we were special and we could transcend any expectations we had of our schooling.

We can all be peacemakers if we implant the seed of learning to someone who thinks they cannot learn because of age or youth or even impairment. We fortify and embolden them that they too can be successful in anything new they attempt. It can be ballroom dancing, piano lessons, and sewing, anything they desire.

We who dance know that to dance is to enhance our life to the fullest. We reap benefits that one cannot imagine from dance. We have better health, we have extended our mind’s ability to think, we breathe better, we smile more often and most of all we have fun.

Fun helps to make us happy and health officials say that if you are happy, you possibly live longer. Like the daughter who does not put the word love down and she knows that her mom would be so happy to see it; we need not withhold anything from letting us assist someone to feel better. To be a child of God because we are peacemakers is probably the highest and finest ideal we can yearn for.

When we have become good dancers and we can show someone else that they too can be adequate doing this dear deed, then we will be a peacemaker .It will be a hidden miracle, a nistar and it will no longer be hidden. It will be displayed for everyone to view and mainly for us to be thankful that we ignited a flame in someone else who may not have had the thought to try.

My female podiatrist (us dancers have to keep our feet in good shape) because we use them a lot dancing. She and I were talking about height. I said how tall are you. She said five feet four. I was stunned. I thought from looking at her she was at least five feet eight. I said so. She replied this awesome line "I have a tall attitude." Can you imagine that line? It is so full of accomplishment and dreams. Her name is Dr. Sharon Siebold. What a brilliant person she is.

I have a tall attitude can mean many things to all people. To me it means that I can shine when I talk about ballroom dancing; to you, it might mean I do so well at work, I feel so tall. To someone else, it could mean, look at me, I am important and see my value.

When my brother Herbert was about sixteen, he was almost six feet tall. Mom and Dad were about five feet four. His next door neighbor Arnold was about five feet four. Herb had the attitude that in order to talk to Arnold, he had to lower himself to the five feet four person. Dad said to him one day "Herbert, do not lean to Arnold’s height, stand tall, be proud. Let Arnold look up to you, not you down to him". I thought that a marvelous thought and here Dr. Sharon Siebold said about the same thing; except she is the shorter person and says she has a tall attitude which made me think she was so much taller. Bravo to that kind of thinking.

So thinking and acting like you are taller or even excellent at something can spin off to others and they will think you are that.

So help someone to accomplish something they think they cannot and even a shorter person will stand tall, erect and give the look of a demeanor of something they or not.

We then are at peace and we know that we accomplished something special because we allowed our hopes to extend to possibly a stranger and they were no longer strangers because we did not hide this dance love and it became a nistar, unhidden, alive and vibrant.

I heard this on a television show recently. May the road rise up to meet you and the wind

always be at your back. May the sunshine warm your face and the rainfall softly fall on the field. Till we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

We, the people we are right today in this coming New Year of 2012 can be a nistar miracle, a peacemaker and make the road rise up to meet folks who we try to encourage to ballroom dance for their health, happiness and overall heavenly happenings. We will be doing what we love-dancing and we will be extending that love to others to at least try. Once they attempt it, they will know that it is for them.

Life will change for them because they will be doing something so different, so special and most of all so rewarding. We will be the ones who get the dividend- we will have the prize most coveted by all. We now will feel absolutely that the road has risen to meet us and the sunshine will have warmed our face. We will be the peacemaker because we will have found our self. We will be standing tall with the finest attitude there is.

Elita Sohmer Clayman
December 2011

You can email me at elitajerrydancing@verizon.net .


Published by René Zgraggen
Montgomery, AL