Sunday, November 1, 2009
Spanish dancer do the splits,
Spanish dancer do the kicks,
Spanish dancer turn around,
Spanish dancer touch the ground,
Spanish dancer get out of town quick!
With the last day of grammar school, I packed up my jump ropes, never to jump rope again.
I don’t know why some things last and others don’t. Surely, I worked as hard on jump rope skills as I did on my tennis serve. I knew all the rhymes, could beat almost anyone at double-dutch and double jump and triple jump and relay jump. I could jump for hours, glassy-eyed and high as kite while singing little girl Gregorian chants.
In came the doctor,
In came the nurse,
In came the lady with the alligator purse
Out went the doctor
Out went the nurse
Out went the lady with the alligator purse
One could practice solo, with a personal little rope that had ounce-weights attached along the length to whip up a decent speed. But the big stage was on the school playground with two girls twirling two ropes, with me -- the star, the center of the universe -- jumping in the middle. After the rhyme, the ropes would speed up, and the audience would chant: one,two,three,four,fivesixseveneight,niteeletwe… We called this “jumping the count.”
Boys couldn’t jump rope, they just couldn’t. They lacked timing, coordination and grace. We girls would fall on the ground, positively shrieking with laughter and derision whenever they tried. The ropes trapped the boys like flies in spiderwebs, and the cool boys – the Terry Emerys for example -- chose to ignore the game entirely.
I L-O-V-E love him,
I'll K-I-S-S kiss him,
I'll H-U-G hug him
In the p-a-r-k park park park.
For whatever reason, I think jump rope fits in the box labeled “For little girls only,” a space it shares with Nancy Drew, slumber parties, blood sisters, Shetland pony rides, and feeling like the center of the universe. Sometimes, while foraging for something else, I run into this box and recall what it was I originally had hoped to find.