I don’t know her name. Neither do I know where she is. But I do know that a little girl changed me forever.
There is a place in Columbia, South Carolina called Bill’s Music Shop and Pickin’ Parlor, and if you like bluegrass music, it is the place to be on Friday and Saturday night. You may walk in on a dozen different pick up groups jamming, or you may see Eddie and Martha Adcock in concert. Ricky Skaggs has even been known to pick a tune or two out there.
But on the night that changed my life, there were no celebrities present. Just a few local folks picking bluegrass in various groupings. Folks were wandering in and out, some finding a group and joining in, others just moving from place to place listening to the music.
Then they came in.
A mother and her daughter. The mother was a tall blonde in a simple print dress and sandals. Her young daughter was a barefooted carbon copy. They wandered around listening for a few minutes until the little girl said those three magic words: I wanna dance.
And in a swirl of skirts they danced. Mother and daughter, the daughter standing on her mother’s feet. Laughing and dancing around clusters of people as if they were the only ones in the room. Around and around, moving from group to group, dancing to whatever tune was being played at any given moment. All blue eyes and laughter. And as they swept by me, the daughter looking into her mother’s face and squealed with delight.
That night I got a glimpse of what Heaven must surely be like.
As I write this a decade has passed, and in my heart a little girl still dances.