There’s someone new at our house. Well actually, I can’t call him
“someone”…. so I’ll begin again. There’s a new person at our house….oops, that won’t do, either. Is that because he is not alive? No, with a little assistance he becomes quite lively.
O.K. Here’s my third try. Guess I shouldn’t call him, “him,” although he’s well dressed in a red suit and black bow tie. He’s, oops there I go again. I just don’t feel comfortable calling him an “it.”
We named him “Dan, the Dancing Man” then found out that there is one of him being produced commercially by that name. Yes, he is produced, not born. He is the product of my husband’s, Burl’s, wood shop, his metal shop, too. Burl designed him and gave his head a three-dimensional look. He wears a jaunty hat, too. And, a big
smile makes him irresistible. But what really grabs your heart is watching him dance.
By now, some of you have guessed that Dan is a limberjack, some call them jig dolls. because their jointed limbs dance or “jig” on the end of a thin board. Jig dolls are essentially home-made. Cut out of plywood, some builders leave them flat without “clothing” and completely unfinished. Others
spend much time decorating and dressing up their dolls. Dan is quite fancy. He has not yet made his debut, although he has danced for the family, and a few close friends.
While doing research on limberjack construction and the technique for making it dance, I thought it was quite a coincidence to find that there is a real, live Dancing Dan who walks/dances/ and trots around the city of Frederick, Maryland. He has become a sort of urban legend there. This
Dan has a huge smile on his face and he often “dances” while crossing the street in front of your car. He has come close to being hit a few times. Lately he has been dancing to contemporary Christian music. Initially, he got a “lot of flack” for dancing on the sidewalks, a few people said he looked weird. Our daughter lives near Frederick, so the next time we visit we’ll look for him. This time of the year, however, he may be hard to find.
Dancing Dan says, “Some people love me and some think I’m off-the-wall.” I wonder if that might be the same reaction we’ll receive with our
“Dan, The Dancing Man.” If you’re scratching your head and wondering what we will do next, hold on because you never know what the next thing is to come out of Burl’s wood shop. With his many projects I seldom have to wonder what to write about in shirlandyou.