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64-year-old man among women: reminiscent of GI boot camp

May 13, 2013

Last evening at a Zumba dance lesson another class combined with ours and I bravely went to the front.  Trouble is, no one but our instructor would make eye contact.  Anyway, I really did my best work and today I am sore.  I tried to kick out wider, bend my knees deeper, whirl around faster, and do more of the ridiculous “girl” hand motions.  I get zero reinforcement from the women who seem to ignore me.  Now I have an inkling of how a lone black man might feel among caucasians.  I felt practically invisible, even though I am a foot taller than most of the others and the only male among probably 40.

Still, the Zumba music was great, the steps were just tricky enough, and the songs were in great humor.  I sweated copiously, and at least Desiree, our instructor, spoke to me briefly as she usually does.  I look forward to Zumba and, except for this last time (because I overdid it) I felt better the next day with a better energy level.

What does this have to do with Carl Ralph Bonde, Jr.?  My uncle spent from March 4, 1943 to December 25, 1944 in the Army.  This was just a few months short of 2 years, about 552 days.  Some of that was travel, staging, ASTP, and leave.  During that time he did a lot of group calisthenics.  I am sure he would have rather done them with 40 good-looking women!  I often imagine that I am reaping the reward due him.  His sacrifice was his family’s, after all, and there are just 5 of us nephews and one niece left to mourn.  Of course I belabor the young ones in our family with stories and they might also be mourning, but it’s hard to tell.

The book about Carl Ralph Bonde, Jr. will not write itself.


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