July 15, 1997
To Larry Jennings and his many friends:
While I am not at the VFW Hall this evening, I can feel the energy reaching out. It is likely that there would be no dancing at the VFW hall this evening were it not for Larry's effort. Larry was my most determined, vocal and helpful advisor during my term as a caller. When I went astray or was clearly in the dark, Larry would tell me and offer help. At times it was hard to hear, but it was always sincere and in retrospect accurate. With his help I took chances and grew as a caller and a person.
Larry's continuing enthusiastic participation has helped shape Contra Dancing to what it is today. His persistent pursuit of excellence and variety has spawned any number of terrific dances that will go on for many years. For that alone we could be grateful.
Larry is honest, sincere, persistent and dedicated. By strictly abiding by his principles he has touched many hearts, souls and feet. His example and model has been an inspiration to me and helped me thread my way through life. If I achieve equal success with family and friends, I will consider my life a success.
I wish I was with you tonight. Have a wonderful time.
Swing Once for me,
We first met by telephone, when you were working on the various mini-lectures in Zesty Contras; I was a dance leader (mostly English at the time!) in Chicago. We connected around trying to find language to describe contra music concepts to callers who, perhaps, were not even musicians.
My memory is not so much of the particular content, but rather of encountering a deep commitment to furthering a particular style of dance. No effort was too much if the result would help more people understand and re-create the New England style. Your dedication and attention to detail made a strong impression on me. In retrospect, I wonder if I had any information or advice to offer that was really of use. I do know that, in the process, I gained a friend whose thoughtful opinions have intrigued and challenged me ever since.