I REMEMBER
The Sugar Palm
December 31, 1997 thru April 3, 1999

Chapter Seven by Frank Katzenmeyer

     There were new faces emerging on the scene. Jim and Veda from Channel 8, still very much on the circuit. Roy and Melissa, got married during this time, and now brings their three children with them, proving it is a family affair.  Another Roy and Kris brought their Lindy skills to the area, that became so popular. Both now out of the area. Christi, a popular and sweet young lady, now living elsewhere with her children and husband depending on where he is stationed. Sam, editor of Swing News was helping to keep the movement going.

-Dave, Chris, Carol, Roy-

     Carol Ann and Dave who performed very well with their classy styling. Dave a short robust guy, with a great personality now lives in the DC area. Carol Ann still on the scene and a contributor to this story. Thanks CAROL.

-Gilbert, Dave, Carol Ann-

-Dave and Audience-

     By far the most unique and talented, personable, guy on the scene was Gilbert. A 5ft 2 inch Giant. He had aerobatic and gymnastic skills combined with his dance abilities that proved to be a show stopper. The greatest Dance Duo ever was the Nicholas Brothers, seen in many old movies. Gilbert had some of the same talent. I saw him on the streets of Ybor with his troop during Brazilian Karate, fantastic moves. Gilbert, stationed at MacDill Air Base was on the scene as much as possible. Following his Air Force days he worked as a valet and chauffeur.

-Gilbert-

     After 9-11 he joined a civilian security force. While serving in Kuwait, his life was taken in a jeep accident. We were all grief stricken, and he is buried in the Philippines, his home. If you wish to read a tribute to him and other Swing friends no longer with us go to the Swing News Archives.

     There were times we danced beyond the closing hours, and had a couple of sleep-overs. The guys and gals bringing their sleeping bags and furry slippers. After all we were family.  A few times food was prepared and brought in to the kitchen for the regulars.

-Sugar Palm Chics-

     Once Liz and I started performing in the Intermission Shows, I wanted to do some different things adding some choreography. My right partner was Liz, a show stopper with her looks, personality, and sensual moves.

-Liz-

     We never had to practice. I would verbally run it pass her seconds before we performed and it went well. After all she was the Martini Bar Hostess and we did not have a lot of  time  The idea was for us to go to the opposite corners of the dance floor and mingle in with the crowd, so they did not know we were coming on. I usually liked a slow sensual swing like Tuxedo Junction. When the music began we came out from opposite ends of the dance floor in an easy going movement. After a few steps we paused, then Liz would beckon for me with her palm up and finger saying," come here. "As we approached each other she would grab my tie and pull me to a close encounter. We would do a couple of turns, I slid my hat to the side, and we continued the dance.

-An Up and Over at the Sugar Palm-


     We used a couple of different endings. One was for me to go down on one knee and her to sit on my lap, arms around me cheek to cheek. The other was for us to eye a couple sitting close to the dance floor at a cocktail table. As the song was ending she would sit on the man's lap with her arms around him, and me kneeling in front of the lady taking her hand. Blushing faces usually evolved but they were good sports and everyone seemed to love it.

     One night Liz informed me her parents were in the audience and we would have to tone it down. We did. She introduced me to her parents. They loved it, and did not realize their daughter had so much talent and a show stopper.

    Taylor surprised us all one night (typical of her) when she introduced me as "The Godfather of the Sugar Palm" A song was written and recorded by Dan Electro and the Silvertones. The CD is called "Mr. Smooth" Song number 15 tells the story.

To be continued...

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