The Best White Dancer In Washington, D.C.
This was how, along with a devilish grin and way-too-bright eyes, the man described himself to me on this, the occasion of his forty-something-ish birthday party. The scene was the Boat House and I was being given my Marching Orders for the evening as the guests were coming up the stairs;
“Rock and Roll, Motown, Disco, Boogie; do you want me to write that down for you?”
Rock they did. His guests were legion and focused on him. There were Line Dances and Circle Dances and, of course, the Solo-in-the-Middle by the host himself. People dance more when they are dancing in honor of, or to honor, someone. There was concern at one point that the floor was ”giving” too much to the dancers but we just turned down for a few songs and kept hitting it hard. The highlight of the night came with a rainstorm down the Potomac. Being that we were on the water and halfway under Key Bridge gave each thunderbolt the power to seemingly end the world forever. At it’s peak the storm knocked out the electricity and we thought it was the end. But the drums kept drumming, the singers kept singing and the dancers kept dancing, only now, we could only see them when lightning flashed! An unforgettable scene at an unforgettable party, one I won’t forget soon. Yet my memories of that night will always be overshadowed by those of the fellow whose birthday it was, for this was no ordinary man. I don’t know if he’d have won the Best Dancer Contest, but I’d have voted for him; he had Spark. He wasn’t a dancer; he was a well-known, highly respected doctor, and a successful writer. He had been the co-editor of the Harvard University Newspaper and had continued to write even as he taught at George Washington University Medical School. He ran a private practice as a Cardiologist but used his skills to assist others at area hospitals. He gave of himself to the D.C. Free Clinic which is where we met him, back in our “poor-Hippy-band” days. This man was living life to the fullest and giving back to others in the same motion. A real mensch. His busy schedule did not keep him from going out to restaurants and shows and such, and so it was that he and his wife came home from an evening out to find a burglar in their house. This was not an ordinary burglar but a professional who, upon being challenged by the Doctor, shot him twice in the chest and fled. Without hesitation the Doctor got in his car with his wife and headed toward a nearby hospital when who did he see on the sidewalk but the guy who just shot him. Again without hesitation, the Doctor floored the engine, jumped the curb and ran the criminal over, breaking his leg and immobilizing him. The cops were very glad to find the guy they had been looking for for over five years! With ties to over 3,000 burglaries they considered him one of the most prolific thieves in U.S. history. After crippling the perp the Doctor tried to continue driving but crashed, necessitating an ambulance for the rest of the journey. He made it to the ER where, despite the best efforts of colleagues, friends and co-workers, he left us. I don’t know if he’d have won the Dance Contest in the Emergency Room that night had he not stopped along the way to “give of himself’ to the man who shot him, but I’d have voted for him; he had spark…in Spades.