The Good Samaritan and The Furniture Owner’s Visit

By Elita Sohmer Clayman

I was 44 when I started taking ballroom dance lesson and a year or so later competed as an amateur with my pro teacher, the professional. It was called pro-am. Before I danced in that category, I appeared at the dance studio in a fancy cocktail dress and danced before dancers at the studio. Many I knew, others I did not. While I was dancing and very nervous to be that age and dancing before a crowd, one of the patrons there, a very obnoxious fellow named Pat, yelled out "smile, baby smile." I heard that and felt peculiar, but I smiled.

A few months later, my pro teacher and I danced in a competition in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. I was among about eight couples and came in sixth which was pretty good for the first experience competing.

A year so so later, I went with my husband and this coach to Florida and danced there in seven heats as they are called and won five trophies. I was so excited and when I came home I displayed my five on specially built shelves in the kitchen. I dust them every week. Now I have fifty-eight trophies and medals and certificates.

When we came home from Florida, I wrapped my five trophies in towels. They checked our carry-on luggage and from the bag they were in, they looked like guns or rifles. The checker opened each towel and saw they were trophies, looked at me and smiled and let me go forward.

Winning gives you more confidence in your dancing abilities and is a great ego enhancement for your mind and body and soul. I continued to take ballroom dance lessons long before the craze that has now hit the country from the dancing shows on now.

We ballroom dancers knew back then in the seventies and eighties that ballroom dancing excites the brain, stimulates the brain and causes adoration in one's heart for having accomplished this great feat.

No pun intended but the feat stimulates the feet to move and to be active and to create.

Creating is what it is all about and now thirty years later, I am so proud that I took up this 'hobby.' Not only does it elevate one's self to feel proud but it invigorates and stimulates your personal growth and lights a fire under you, a good fire that warms your entire being and keeps the mind enlivened and refreshed.

Watching a television old movie on the Lifetime Channel recently I was interested in the unusual storyline. A young mother was dying and her 12-year-old son went to a department store on Christmas Eve to buy his mom a pair of red shoes. He wanted her to have new shoes when she met God and danced up in heaven. He was short five dollars, and the customer behind him paid the five dollars for the child. He told the fine Samaritan that he would pay him back someday.

Many years later, the fine Samaritan was in the cemetery visiting his own mom's grave and there was a young fellow visiting his mom's grave. They chatted and when the young man walked away you saw the red pair of shoes on the grave. The older man realized that this was the kid from the department store whom he had given five dollars. The red shoes were a symbol of one person helping another person in time of need and then that person goes on to help others.

The sweetness of the child in wanting his mom presented to God so she could dance before him brings to mind that when we dance, we dance mainly for ourselves and our self-esteem.

The cardiologist that I went to yesterday for a checkup told me that my losing the seventy pounds this year along with Weight Watchers guidance was a marvelous thing not only for my health but for my self esteem. So when we accomplish difficult activities like losing weight, learning to dance or maybe volunteering for a special event, then that elevates our own self- esteem.

As Weight Watcher leaders say at the weekly lecture, just walking into the door of the room where the weekly meeting takes place is an accomplishment and a victory. To heavy people going the first time, there is a great beginning of a long journey into absolute fulfillment and attainment. Attending your first dance lesson is attaining a long term goal.

A furniture store owner once told me the following. I was having trouble placing the furniture I bought from him in his retail store and he came out himself to check the bedroom over. He showed me how to make the furniture fit and look good in the room. I thanked him and wanted to compensate him for his time. He replied, "Do a mitzvah for someone else and then tell him to do a mitzvah for someone else and you will be amazed at the good you have accomplished. No money is necessary." I never forgot his words and try to live by them. A mitzvah means doing a good deed.

You do not need to buy someone a pair of dance shoes as the young boy did, you need only to enhance someone's life to go out and dance. Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote: "How do I love thee, let me count the ways." We can apply that to ourselves by saying "How do I love dancing, let me count the ways." One of the ways is to always inspire others to do this too. Instill in them that they have the spirit to conquer any fears they have at any age to begin this journey into self- esteem, accomplishment and happiness. Dance brings all of that to our lives every day that we participate in it.

Keep on dancing


Elita Sohmer Clayman
June 2011

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Published by René Zgraggen
Montgomery, AL