Meet Me At The Snack Shack
I started going to the teenage dances at age thirteen. The white people had no rhythm. Their dances were really boring. You could go to a dance having never danced before and in less than one minute, you would be able to dance just like everybody there. It went like this: you would move your feet back and forth, back and forth, back and forth all night long for three hours, scraping the floor. If you could walk and chew gum at the same time, you might try moving your arms back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, all night long for three hours. I couldn’t believe that I paid a whole dollar for this.
I told my friend Gizzy Lee about it; he told me I needed to come down to the Snack Shack with him if I really wanted to see how to dance. I said, “Ain’t no white boy gonna go to the Snack Shack without getting’ beat up. Gizzy said, “No, man; it’s ok ‘cause I will protect you.” So Friday night, I went down to Babbit and walked into the Snack Shack. Sure enough, I was the only white cracker there.
Man! The juke box was rippin’ out this soul music and the brothers and sisters were bustin’ out these rhythmic moves. I stood and watched in awe. My feet were being filled with Soul Music. I watched Gizzy slammin’ his feet to the floor in a way that I was sure no white person ever could. Then Gizzy started doing a dance the brothers called crazy legs. Tom Jones was the only white boy I ever saw dance like the brothers, and I was sure he must have learned at the Snack Shack. Man! My feet were about ready to explode. I started dancing next to Gizzy, doin’ all his moves, and I discovered something great. This white boy had rhythm! I was movin’ all over that dance floor. Every time I saw a brotha or a sista bustin’ out a new move, I copied it. The sista’s kept axin me, “Where did I learn to dance?” I just said “Gizzy done been givin’ me lessons.” It was actually on-the-job training.
Joe Cole, the owner, kept giving me free food and cheeseburgers. Some of my friends got mad at Joe Cole, ‘cause he never gave them free stuff. Joe Cole saw, in me, a new market. Maybe, I could bring some white friends with me next time who had a few dollars in their pockets. Anyway, I was ready for the next dance (white dance) with all my new soul moves.
I showed up at the next teenage dance early, with a new pair of loose fittin’ bell bottoms, and a fancy double knit shirt that my Daddy brought home from his work and a pair of freshly polished white dancin’ shoes. I was ready to dazzle. I picked me a girl to dance with; I didn’t care who she was, ‘cause they weren’t gonna to be watching her anyway. I strutted out to the middle of the dance floor before the music even started. She and I were the only two on the floor. I told her that she was in for a treat. She smiled. Then the leader of the band said, “We`re going to slow it down a bit.” I hated slow songs. But as soon as the slow song was over, she thanked me for the treat. I said, “Hold on girl; there’s more where that came from.” We stayed in the middle of the dance floor and waited for the next song. I was bustin’ out with anticipation. We were the only ones on the dance floor, so I knew everyone would be able to see all my new soul dance moves. The lead singer took the microphone. I was praying for the next song to be a fast song, one that I could dance the eyes out of every person there. Then he said, “We’re gonna to take a break; be back in ten minutes. “Wow!” I said. “Ain’t this always how life always treats me.” But the break was over and they played “Back to the U.S.S.R by the communist Beatles, and I danced my crazy legs off. There had never been such a demonstration of pure soulful soul dancing, by a white boy “wannabe black”, in the history of teenage dances, in the history of Hawthorne, Nevada from the beginning of time to infinity and beyond.
Well, I may be getting a little carried away, but it wasn’t a matter of one more month, and all the white boys were dancing like me. I had to stay on my game. Every month I would bring something new to the white dances that I learned from the late and great Gizzy Lee at the Snack Shack in Babbit, Nevada.