So how did this book get started? In reality, I said, “Yes!” In March 2017, a group of square dancers were sitting around after a dance weekend and Flippo’s name and age came up. One enthusiastic fan said, “Someone should write his biography.”
My husband, Lin, looked at me and said, “You’re the writer in the group. What do you think?” Nothing more was said, but the thought tumbled around in my mind.
Lin has a different memory of how this happened, but I’ll stick with my version.
Then we prayerfully considered the possibility.
In April, I called Flippo and proposed the project to him, and his quick response was, “Larada, no one would want to buy a book about me, but I do have a book you should write—a collection of stories of all the thangs that happens to traveling callers over the years. Wait a minute—that would be R rated.” Another Flippoism!
that point, I had no definite decision from Flip.
the New Mexico Square Dance Festival, May
2017 in Albuquerque, Marshall fulfilled his last calling contract in New
Mexico. Early Friday night while a group stood around him, Flippo brought up
the topic, “Larada wants to write a book about me.”
continued with a humble air, “Who would
want to buy that book?”
“I would,” said a longtime friend and caller, Greg
“Me, too,” replied Jim Martel, another local caller.
“Put me on the list—I want a copy!” Ted Clements, a
caller from southern New Mexico, chimed in. The chorus continued and everyone
standing there raised their hands. He turned to me and said, “Come over to my
room about 1:30 a.m.
and we’ll talk about it.” The group laughed at his flirtatious nature, but he
agreed to do it that weekend.
and I met Flippo at the Texas Roadhouse for dinner on Friday, October 27, 2017,
in Tucson, Arizona to start our research. We were supposed to meet on
Wednesday, October 25, 2017, but the Houston Astros were playing the Los
Angeles Dodgers in the World Series,
and Flippo wanted to watch the game, so we changed nights.
we met, he immediately started with a saucy story, “Mama said, ‘If you play with it, it will fall off.’
Ninety years later, it still hasn’t.” I had to grab my notepad and start taking notes.
waitress hadn’t taken our orders, and Lin
started the questions. Flip immediately jumped into relaying his life with the
exact addresses for the multiple homes he lived in Abilene as a child. In fact,
he had trouble with only one address. I still wonder why he forgot that one
After dinner, we moved from the restaurant to his home to finish the first interview. We muted the TV, and he watched the game over my head as he talked. One minute he’d be sharing his life stories, the next he’d catch me off guard with a comment on a batter, “Knock the hell out of it.”
He amazed me how he could be telling a Navy story about a destroyer tender he was on, then comment on what a player on TV should have done. We took short breaks when the game took its twists and turns. During one break, he lamented, “I can’t get my mind going again.” Lin and I both assured him that his memory was exceptional.
Within that short evening, he covered many of the
major topics of his life: his childhood and family, his Navy experiences, and
he ended the night with how he met Neeca, his first wife. With the flair of a
master storyteller, Flippo moved his hands
like when an umpire signals the runner is safe and said, “Let’s leave it,” and we watched the
rest of the Series together.
sent me home with seven photo albums busting at the seams with memorabilia,
precious stories, and the
assurance that we had embarked on an adventure.
During the next year, we spent many hours together talking over the phone, and we had one more face-to-face opportunity to compile this document—as you can imagine, it was a delightful, fun adventure.
It’s been three years in the making! Lots of hard work, research, emails and phone calls, but it’s coming together and will be out shortly, a true labor of love!
~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful
friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to
recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club
Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/
~I HAVE 211 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL
FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY! You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can
select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the
version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways! https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42
Marshall Flippo and Bob Osgood enjoyed an amazing working relationship for many years. Bob, the visionary, and Marshall, the new hot caller made quite a team.
Bob published and edited the square dance magazine, Sets in Order, from 1948 – 85. Flippo’s name first appeared in Sets In Order November 1958 in the “Round the Outside Ring” article for calling at the Permian Basin Festival. “The Auctioneer,” Flippo’s first smash hit, also first appeared in the same issue in the “On the Record” section, listed as a new release.
From then on, readers saw Flippo’s name regularly, whether in reports about where he was calling around the United States or a review of his newest released song.
Flippo’s name appeared repeatedly with song after song being reviewed and lauded in Sets in Order, and Bob noticed this! After Bob hired Flip in 1964 to call at a week and a weekend event at Asilomar, California, he actually saw Flippo in action. Flippo’s skilled calling prowess and his popularity with dancers drew respect from Bob, and their relationship deepened.
“. . .his personal appearance tours throughout the country have given a real ‘lift’ to thousands of dancers,”
Bob Osgood, Sets in Order, (August 1965):33
Bob wrote this in an ad in his Sets in Order magazine, August, 1965 issue. Flippo’s years of tours touched many lives, his popularity increased, and Bob watched Flippo’s successful calling career grow.
So, Bob started a series called DIALOG in Sets in Order magazine in February 1968 and stated, “This month we inaugurate a new series of dialogues directed to those people who have a desire to call square dances.”
Bob Osgood, Sets in Order (February 1968): 12
First of all, Flippo and Frank Lane teamed up with Arnie Kronenberger and did two interviews for Sets in Order magazine in May and June 1968 on “How Does One Go About Learning to Call?” Bob Osgood wrote in the May issue, the focus: “If you have never called before, then there must be a thousand questions running through your mind. We’ve tried to anticipate some of these, and we’ve brought together several outstanding callers to field the answers for you.”
Bob Osgood, Sets in
Order (May 1969): 19
Then the second interview on this topic in the June 1968 issue focused on “Last month we asked this trio of experienced callers several questions having to do with memorizing calls and with sight calling. This month we question them on a variety of related subjects including some hypothetical questions a beginner caller might be expected to ask. We start of by trying to get some opinions.
Bob Osgood, Sets in
Order (June 1968): 19
In the third interview, Frank and Flippo teamed up with Bob Page, longtime friend who Flip worked yearly with at Asilomar, in the DIALOG article titled “Leadership In Square Dancing.” This article focused on “Calling a square dance is only a portion of the caller’s many responsibilities. He is looked up to as a “leader” and there are many opportunities for the caller to evidence good judgment, to develop sensitivity and to provide the type of activity that the dancers hope to receive. We asked three nationally known callers a series of questions and we think you will be interested in their frank replies. We began by asking, “What do you consider the caller’s responsibilities in a club run by the members themselves?”
Bob Osgood, Sets in
Order (April 1969): 19
Finally, the fourth interview saw Frank and Flippo back with Bob Page and the title of the DIALOG article was “BuildingDancer Reaction.” Bob Osgood introduced it with “Being able to work with people — with human beings — to impart to them your ideas, to encourage them to follow your instructions and suggestions, is just about as basic to square dancing as it is possible to get. Only the caller who naturally gets on well with others or who specifically trains himself to do so, can really do the job successfully. This month we question three well-known callers on this subject and the first thing we asked them was how to “lift” a group that seems disinterested, that seems to have no spark.”
Bob Osgood, Sets in
Order (June 1969): 19.
You can see that Bob identified Flippo as one of the leaders in the square dance world at this time and respected what he had to say. He felt this so much, he asked Flip to write a chapter for a book he published about square dancing, The Caller Text which took 36 years to write.
This dynamo duo loved and respected each other and touched so many with across the country and the world. Enjoy the four articles below.
Here’s the four DIALOG articles from Sets in Order
“How Does One Go About Learning to Call?”
“How Does One Go About Learning to Call?” Second Part
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~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful
friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to
recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club
Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/
~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!
You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format
or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly
SWAG Giveaways! https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42
Monday, November 4 will be a year since Marshall Flippo died! When he passed away, I was in shock. I wasn’t ready for our conversations to end. I knew he was in the hospital and not doing well, but he had bounced back before. I had endless questions to ask: to clarify, to expand and to enrich the forty interviews we did.
We had talked weekly for over a year—40 hours of laughter, memories and stories. I felt honored and privileged for Flip to share his intimate life details with me. Yes, several of the stories will not be published in his biography, but I laughed at his bawdy humor and deep joy for living.
I wasn’t ready for our weekly dates to end–for the end of “us”!
interesting situation transpired around his death. His life-long friend, Frank
Lane, died on October 31, 2018—just four days before Flip. Flippo’s son
suggested Flip might have died of a broken heart.
Yes, Flippo’s health was failing—three times in the hospital in three months with pneumonia–and his 91-year-old body wore out, but I wonder about that possibility. . .
“Being the last person standing” was something my husband, Lin, questioned Flip about and here he was. Frank and Flippo were the last of the “original 11” who formed CALLERLAB. After Frank’s death, Flippo truly was the last man standing of his peers.
one person Flippo referenced the most in his stories and recounting his calling
life next to Neeca, his ex-wife, was Frank Lane.
said, “I worked with
Frank Lane two weekends a year for 36 years. I got to know him pretty well.”
In reality, they worked together more often than that!
Frank and Flippo worked together at Asilomar’s week event for 35 years. Frank and Flip were two of the original members that started CALLERLAB and were active throughout their careers with this organization. Frank owned the Dance Ranch outside of Estes Park, Colorado and Flip was a regular there every year in July for decades. Flippo and Frank worked together at Kirkwood Lodge for decades. There they worked together, and they played together water skiing.
Bob Osgood started an interview series called DIALOG in Sets in Order magazine in February 1968 and stated, “This month we inaugurate a new series of dialogues directed to those people who have a desire to call square dances.”
Bob Osgood, Sets in Order (February 1968): 12.
In 1968, Flippo and Frank teamed up with Arnie Kronenberger and did two interviews on “How Does One Go About Learning to Call?”, answering different questions in each interview about this gigantic topic.
1969, this duo teamed up with Bob Page, longtime friend who Flip called with at Asilomar’s weekend
event yearly for many years, to do two DIALOG interviews titled “Leadership In Square Dancing” and “Building Dancer Reaction.” Both Frank and Flip were respected leaders in the square dance world.
They started out calling about the same time and their paths crisscrossed over the United States where they teamed up at numerous festivals and events for decades.
The stories Flip told on Frank were priceless centering on the fun they had golfing and Flippo pulling tricks on Frank. Flippo created enduring relationships with people that lasted his lifetime and did things to nurture those relationships like regular phones and visits. In mid-2018, when we spoke of Frank last, I wanted to call him to get his side of some of Flippo’s stories.
Flip readily shared Frank’s phone number with me and said, “Well, he’s pretty bad off, so.
. .. Sometimes Barbara answers, so. . .. Let it ring a good while. I don’t know
whether he’s got answering (machine) or not. The last time I talked to him,
Barbara picked up pretty quick, about three rings. I don’t know.”
I did call, and Barbara answered the phone, telling me that Frank couldn’t talk on the phone because of his hearing, so I never had the opportunity to get his side. I also missed a prime opportunity to see the Lane’s in personal during the summer of 2018 when Lin and I went to Loveland, Colorado to visit a friend—Estes Park is just one hour from Loveland, but I wasn’t thinking!
All of this
talk about this pair reminds me of one of Flippo’s favorite Frank Lane stories.
Here’s a partial exposure of Flippo’s side of the story, “I probably told you
that Asilomar was my favorite, favorite weekend and week to go to, right? Frank
Lane and I were doing the week, and he was, of course, the leader.”
chuckle, Flip added, “He was a born leader. At that time, there’s a thing come
out called a Barge Thru. If you said, ‘Barge Thru,’ it’s kinda
like square through four and then Trade By. So, at that time, you said,
‘Barge Thru,’ then you sung the words of the song as they were doing the
Barge Thru. Jerry Haag had a call, I don’t have an idee what the name of
this call was, but he had a call out at that time that had Barge Thru in
Thru came out at the same Nationals as Snaparoo in one hall. At the
same time, somebody was calling, I think it was Les Gotcher, and he called it Star
Thru in the other room. I think it might have been Red Warrick, introduced
it as Snaparoo. So thar became a good big ole debate about that, and
finally we all decided we’d stick with Star Thru.”
said, ‘That’s ruining all your Star figures when you call it Star Thru.”
“And he was absolutely 100% correct. It hurt a lot of our Star figures.
And so, he stayed with Snaparoo. He’d tell people at the dance, ‘Now
when I say Snaparoo, it’s the same as a Star Thru. Don’t let it
The story continued with lots of bantering back and forth about Flippo’s favorite call, Barge Thru, and Frank’s renaming of a call, Snaparoo. This exchange had a hilarious ending (find it in Flippo’s biography, Just Another Square Dance Caller, In the CALLERLAB chapter). You can see how they interacted!
lifetime, Flippo loved people—many people over the past two years have repeated
this phase to me as being one of his sterling characteristics. He created
relationships that lasted a lifetime—Melton Luttrell was one of his best friend
for six+ decades. Whenever he mentioned Frank Lane, he had a deep love for this
man and he always had a laugh to accompany that name.
Flippo die of broken heart that day a year ago thinking about life here without
his dear friend? Who knows?
the possibility of them reading this blog post. Are they still arguing good-heartedly
about Snaparoo and Barge Thru? I doubt it! I believe they’re
calling one heck of square dance festival to our dance friends gone from this
earth who are enjoying those two callers once again!
And yes, I was not ready to lose this man—who was?
Here’s a recording of Flippo sharing a part of the Snaparool/Barge Thru debate—enjoy!
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~Two memoirs, a historical fiction, a nonfiction and three cookbooks! It’s your choice! Just be sure to select at least one. Also, I have bundles where you save money when you buy more than one! Also, FREE SHIPPING now in the USA. Visit my Etsy Shop for all my books, Larada’s Reading Loft
~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/
~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY! You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways! https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42
Lin and I just returned from our third Huntsman Senior Games, and we had a fabulous time winning three gold medals in square dancing—yes, square dancing! We had a set square with three couples from Albuquerque, New Mexico and one couple from St. George, Utah. As a square, we won gold medals for the Mainstream category and the Plus.
Then, Lin and I won a gold medal for the Random square competition. We were lucky in the random square to have Aaron and Kathy Beans, a caller and her husband from Utah and two Japanese couples! What a square we had!
While there, we participated in all the fantastic events connected with this event! Check out my post from last year—October 15, 2018–for the specific fun activities.
This year was different because the Japanese contingency was there, and we reconnected because we met some of them three years ago! We also made new Japanese friends, too!
As we traveled home, I wondered about all the rewards of participating in this activity, so my answer is within a poem:
Is Winning Everything?
Our square just competed in The Huntsman World Senior Games, A friendly contest Amongst dancers, Many personal friends.
We won two gold medals As a set square.
Then, Lin and I won Another gold medal In the Random squares competition. Ben and Monica from Albuquerque Won silver. This event revered By many! The luck of the draw!
As we celebrated our victories, I pondered, “Is winning everything?”
Yes, I am competitive To the bone!
Dad’s often repeated mantras Have guided my life “Winners never quit and quitters never win!” “Stay in there and drink a lot of ice water.”
We, as a set square, are competitive! We participate to win! Positive talk fills Our conversations!
But as I thought about it, A quote a speaker said At the Awards Brunch Caught my attention, “Be satisfied with your performance.”
I can honestly say We were! No matter what! So, before we did our traditional Screaming and hollering When the first names were called, We were winners!
We won because We participated We reconnected with Japanese dancers From two years ago We made new friends Locally and from Japan We laughed We danced We encouraged others We hugged and Danced more.
We arrived at the event With our winning ways! It wasn’t housed in a medal.
Yes, we came to win medals! And we did But we left with So much more!
Full hearts Happy souls Rich Memories of a time Where language barriers Didn’t exist! We were one (WON) In the dance!
What are the rewards of competition? Have you ever felt this way?
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Two memoirs, a historical fiction, a
nonfiction and three cookbooks! It’s your choice! Just be sure to select at
least one. Also, I have bundles where you save money when you buy more than
one! Also, FREE SHIPPING now in the USA. Visit my
Etsy Shop for all my books, Larada’s
Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends
of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this
group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read
interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/
I HAVE 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR
THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY! You, too, can
pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book
format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG
SORRY: Another side trip away from our British Isles Cruise. I will resume it next week with Day 5: Kirkwall in Orkney Islands, Scotland!
We just returned from a square and round dance vacation week at Fun Valley RV park at South Fork, CO, and the week was an emotional roller coaster ride for me!
The weekend started off with dinner Saturday night with a group of 25 dancers at the Firehouse restaurant in South Fork. We connected and reconnected with friends anticipating a great week. Lin had his traditional oversized ice cream treat!
Sunday morning started off with our annual potluck brunch—another gathering of friends, giving us time to visit. I talked with a friend I’ve known for years but really didn’t know her history—it was a precious sharing time.
Sunday evening dinner started the official week’s activities. After dinner, Lin and I sought out a Colorado couple we had invited to this week. I signed up with the enthusiastic wife of this couple to do the horseback trail ride on Monday morning at 11:00. Ever since I had heard the horses would be there this year, I had been so excited. In previous years, the horses were already gone when we arrived because we’re the last week of the season at this RV park.
We dressed casually for Sunday night’s dance, laughed and twirled. I squealed often as I saw friends from Utah, Colorado and Texas who I hadn’t seen in a year. A great evening of square dancing to Gary Shoemake and Jerry Gilbreath and round dancing to the cues of Steve Harris with his lovely wife, Lori, supporting him on the sidelines.
Monday morning, I ate breakfast and donned my boots for the ride. Lin drove me to the stables, and my friend was there with her husband. They had 5 horses saddled and ready after they finished the 10:00 ride, and this ride was going to be a blast because I knew all the riders.
I had wondered if I could even get up on the horse—I haven’t ridden in 20 years! I was so proud of myself that I did, with a little struggle for sure!
The ride was glorious—clear blue Colorado sky, the Rio Grande beside us and aspen trees still dressed in green leaves. I kept taking pictures with my iPhone as we rode–which confused my horse because I kept drawing his head over to the right! It was perfect—until that moment happened. First behind me, one horse kicked another which caused the kicked horse to buck and its rider hit the ground. Then the loose horse galloped past all of us which stirred our horses up. One rider galloped off to try to catch the loose horse, then my friend’s horse jumped into a gallop like a bullet, and she was gone.
I realized I had about 5 – 10 seconds before my horse jumped in with the other horses running back to the barn. His ears went straight up, and his eyes focused on the three racing horses; quickly, I turned him in the opposite direction. He jumped up and down, revving up to take off, but I kept him turned the other way and kept his head tight, then I circled him and circled him, and he calmed down.
When my friend’s horse took off, I thought, “Wow, she’s a good rider,” but she lost her stirrup when she was startled, and she fell off and was severely hurt. I applaud the care and concern the EMT’s showed her—they gently worked with her to move her into the ambulance. The wrangler and I stayed with her, then I rode to Del Norte in the ambulance with her.
When I got out of the ambulance, her husband was already there, so we went to the emergency room waiting room, and I filled him in on all the facts of the accident. We spent a lot of the afternoon there with her being x-rayed and tested. When we were finally brought back to her room, her sense of humor prevailed. She held up her mangled, bruised left hand and said, “Oh, Larada! I broke a nail!” Lin joined us at the emergency room to support our dear friends during this stressful time.
I was able to offer objective suggestions to my friend’s husband because, thinking back now, he was in shock! At first, he was going to drive back to Denver and they were going to airlift her; I strongly suggested his wife needed him with her in the plane, and we would take care of their car and possessions in their room.
So, they were flown to a Denver area airport and transported to a hospital. Lin drove their car back to Fun Valley, and I drove our car. I called my brother for assurance after such a horrible day, and his supported helped me. Lin and I packed up their room and got their car to another Denver dancer to drive home on Saturday.
Finally, when we were alone, I
cried—so heart broke for my friend’s severe injuries! We didn’t square dance
that night, but I did one round dance with tears in my eyes, and Gary Shoemake
helped me out!
Needless to say, this incident affected me the rest of the week. Tuesday is blur to me—we did some of the activities, but our attention was on our phones and any messages from my friend’s husband. Her diagnosis dribbled in—cracked ribs and some dislocated which punctured a lung, a concussion and fractured vertebrae.
Tuesday afternoon, we did participate in a practice session for the skits our group would put on at the Wednesday night After Party. The highlight of Tuesday night was the skit the calling/cuing staff did at the After Party. The five of them danced to “Pretty Woman” in a unique manner. Check out my video below! This video has been blocked because of Copyright infringements, so I had to mute the song. Sorry viewers!
Wednesday was a free day and many of the dancers traveled to Creede, CO to square dance in the unique fire house cut out of the side of a mountain, but we stayed at the RV. Lin had volunteered to make 2 batches of homemade ice cream, and my stomach problems flared up, so I spent the afternoon in bed—I couldn’t shake the tragedy or the stomach pain! The ice cream social was a new addition and it was a smashing success—four dancers made different recipes and all were delicious!
Wednesday night I came out of the funk some. It was theme night, “Pajama party,” so we participated. I enjoyed the skits put on by other dancers at the After Party, then we did our skit. I should have known that Lin would do something to shock me, and he did! He changed the punch line and totally caught me off guard—the audience loved the affect it had on me!
Daily, we got updates about our injured friend and it was up and down!
By Thursday, I felt better and enjoyed the dancing. The week’s schedule provided lots of round dance teaches and square dance workshops all day, then we had a dance each evening.
One of my favorite parts of this week is the horse racing Thursday afternoon where people buy a horse, choose a jockey for their wooden horse and the race is on. This year we had a hilarious addition—a Utah dancer dressed up in a pony costume and did the first race! With lots of laughter and fun, friendly competition prevailed.
Every year at the Thursday night dance callers and cuers in attendance are invited to call a square dance tip or cue a round dance. Lori Harris talked to me last year about cuing, but we ran out of time to practice. This year I practiced a favorite, “Could I Have This Dance?” a couple times with Steve’s professional advice and encouragement. Steve and Lori danced it while I cued and continued to give me helpful hints about this new endeavor. I was really nervous and wanted to get it over quickly, so I did the first round of the night—what an experience! It went well, and what a thrill to be able to stay ahead of the dancers, stay on beat, and see dancers smiling! It was fantastic! I plan to continue this new activity when I finish the Marshall Flippo biography.
Thursday’s theme was “Country and Western night,” so dancers donned jeans, hats and boots. This festive night ended with Jerry Gilbreath singing many good ole country tunes we all love and us two-stepping the night away.
Friday was the famous “Miniature Golf Tournament.” Lin was asked again to be a caddy, and he did a exceptional job because of his exuberance and sense of humor. All the caddies successfully fulfilled their task: distracting the other golfers with their zany costumes and make-shift drums (pot lids and spoons). The caddies for the women golfers outdid themselves, as you can see!
The dance week ended Friday night with a festive evening of dancing and trophies given out to the winners of the different competitions. Our group from Albuquerque dressed in our 2020 state festival outfits—colorful and delightful!
Yes, the start of the week broke my heart, but I was able to regroup and first participated and then enjoyed the rest of the week. I rose to the occasion to help in the emergency room and kept calm and collected. Getting myself out of a funk isn’t easy, but I knew that my injured friend and her husband would want me to! Life certainly contains both tragedy and joy–it’s important how we handle both!
How do you handle tragedies? What’s your success secret? Do you have a horse story?
Curl up with one of my books–either paperback or ebook format!
20% discount on all 4 of my book bundles until September 22,
2019. Also, FREE
SHIPPING now in the USA. Visit my Etsy Shop for all my
books, Larada’s Reading Loft
Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s
who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would
you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting
posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/
I HAVE 199 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY! Be the 200th to pre-order! You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways! https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42
JOURNAL READERS—I had to interrupt the travel journal of our trip to the British
Isles with this current event. We will go to Edinburgh next week!
I love square and round dancing and I love to attend festival, attending hundreds over the years. My favorite of the whole year is Hot August Nights in Albuquerque, and I am the chairperson of this delightful affair.
Tonight I’m an exhausted yet fully satisfied chairperson! We just finished the 13th Annual Hot August Nights square and round dance festival and what a success it was! This festival is a three-day event and draws people from all over the Southwest. Our usual supporters come from Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and Utah. This year we had dancers from Nevada, northern California and Oregon.
This event started Friday afternoon, August 16, with a Welcome Dance from 2:00 – 3:00 PM with a local caller, Greg Tillery. We had five squares of dancers who anticipated a great weekend of dancing. Greg called a fun, energetic dance that help set the atmosphere for the weekend.
Friday night featured Tony Oxendine as our caller and Steve and Lori Harris as cuers. It has taken me eighteen years to get Tony to Albuquerque. We tried to have him as our featured caller for the National Singles Festival I chaired in Albuquerque in 2003, but it didn’t work.
This year we broke the Friday night record with 19 squares in attendance. We have a Beach Party theme, so most people dressed casually in fun beach attire. Tony rocked the place with high energy music and choreography. He wowed everybody with his beautiful voice and knowledge of music. We danced, we laughed and enjoyed the delightful evening of dancing. All of the round dancers enjoyed the round dancing with Steve and Lori Harris. We finished the evening with traditional root beer floats and time to socialize with old friends and make new ones.
Saturday morning is dedicated to round dancing—cued ball round dancing to those who might not know. The Harris’ introduced fifteen new round dance couples to the Two Step rhythm. It’s always a joy to see new round dancers on the floor. Then they taught a waltz and rumba to seventeen experienced round dance couples and three singles.
One of my favorite parts of the weekend is the potluck at noon. Ninety dancers sat and shared this meal together, laughing and enjoying a relaxing meal–another record breaker. During a festival, it’s hard to really become acquainted with other people on the dance floor because there’s really no time. This leisure meal provided the opportunity to enlarge old relationships and build new ones.
Square dancers filled the hall Saturday afternoon for three different sessions: singing calls, a plus workshop and high energy dancing. Tony has such a beautiful voice and used a variety of music, so everybody enjoyed the singing calls.
Tony’s expertise shone during the plus workshop. He extended everyone’s dancing repertoire through taking a call everyone knows and expanding it. I always know that I will grow as a dancer in attending one of Tony’s workshops. Seventeen squares participated wanting more and more of Tony’s knowledge.
The afternoon ended with a session of High Energy—some people call it Hot Hash. It’s the type of dancing when the caller calls fast and keeps the floor moving like never before. Tony kidded Friday night about all his calling is high energy, but he ratcheted it up a couple notches and had us sailing around the floor. This type of square dancing is not for the faint of heart for sure!
Saturday evening dancers wore square dance attire, except for my husband, Lin. He stunned the crowd in his new kilt he bought in Scotland a couple weeks ago.
In the pre-rounds, we had 31 couples on the floor—an amazing record for us! The women dressed in beautiful square dance attire, and the scene was a colorful array! I love to watch the spins and twirls of these dresses on the dance floor.
Before squaring up, Tony sang the “National Anthem,” bringing tears to many eyes! When the square dance started, we had 22 squares on the floor—another record breaker! We danced the night away enjoying Tony’s selection of music and beautiful voice and playful attitude! We ended the evening with root beer floats again and laughter and joy.
The Sunday morning Trail Out dance is another favorite of mine—these are the diehard dancers who just can’t get enough dancing ever! We had 13 squares of crazy dancers for more dancing and fun—another record broken!
We do crazy antics on Sunday morning like scatter promenade which mixes the whole floor up. Tony sang a gospel tune and several requests from dancers who have known him for a while.
All in all—it was a blast and an amazing success! I’m always a little sad when an event like this ends, but many of us dancers didn’t say good-bye but “see you at the next dance festival down the road.”
As a chairperson of many square and round dance events, I have to say that working with Tony and the Harris’ was such a pleasure. When asked for extras, Tony simply agreed to do what was asked and did it beautifully. The Harris make my job an easy one providing for all the round dancers needs. As a chairperson, you couldn’t ask for better!
The committee that puts this event together is the best committee ever, working hard to make it a memorable experience for all. We only have two meetings during the year: one phone conference call in July and a feedback meeting the afternoon after the festival is over. Our total focus is to promote square dancing!
At today’s meeting, I loved to see the pride in each person’s eyes of a job well done. Now we relax a little and then prepare for next year!
Whitey & Gladys Puerling were
playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun
to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook
page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/
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Marshall Flippo biography! You can select which paper format or e-book format
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Having just returned from the Colorado State Square Dance Convention in Pueblo, Colorado, I choked back a tear or two and felt a little nostalgic about the influence my Dad had on my life. Father’s Day is a day to celebrate our dad’s, so I wanted to share some of my fond memories.
My cowboy Dad loved his wife, his children, his ranch and friends. My brother and I inherited the ranch my grandfather put together—the place my Dad worked his whole life. I just returned from a drive around the ranch with my brother in the early evening looking for wildlife. I feel a special connection to Dad any time I’m standing on a ridge overlooking the canyon or eyeing a windmill he put in many years ago. Dad is everywhere on that ranch for me, and it happened again tonight.
Dad left a small souvenir all over the ranch—wrapped up baling wire for hay bales that he tied in a certain way and pitched out the truck window. We have tried to gather them up over the years, but a stray one appears, and I smile.
Yes, Dad loved this ranch, but another couple of his passions were dancing and storytelling, and I inherited both of them!
Dad and Mom met dancing, and it continued to be their main hobby until he couldn’t dance anymore. They danced to many of the big bands in Raton, New Mexico—a Catholic priest brought these famous bands to town, and the folks were on the dance floor—the cowboy donned a suit and boots and danced the night away. They glided across the floor as smooth as any other couple. During this time, they danced to the bands of Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Glen Miller for sure, but I bet there were others.
It wasn’t until I took round dance lesson after Dad died, I learned that he did the Foxtrot instead of Country two step—that was so surprising to me, but he loved big band music, and he danced many a mile to them, so they influenced his dance style.
He had a special step he did in his jitterbug repertoire; he
said he stumbled one night when he was drunk and liked it so much, he kept it.
Mom and I tried to reconstruct it after he died, but we couldn’t, so that dance
move died with him.
When I was growing up, Dad was our 4-H club square dance
caller, and he loved to teach people how to square dance. For a couple years we
took two squares to Fort Collins, Colorado for the state competition. We never
won, but we had a lot of fun.
He also liked teaching folk dances. Dad and I did the
Jessica Polka to any polka played at a local dance. He taught us “Put Your
Little Foot” or the “Varsouvianna,”
the “Lily Marlane,” the “Schottische,” and many others.
In this video, Cal Campbell explains the origin of the “Varsouvianna.”
This is the music I grew up to doing
Because of my family’s interest in dancing, I learned to country swing in the 80’s. One time, I came home with my newest move—the snake. Dad and I moved to the kitchen, I grabbed his hands and whipped him around, and his old shoulders shouted at him and then he at me! He couldn’t move like that anymore, but he wanted to, more than ever.
My Dad’s other passion was storytelling and he was an expert. Many guests sat around the round table in our dining room at gatherings and listened to his tales. He told stories of growing up in a small country town in the 1920’s, the depression with the lack of tires and life as a rancher during the World War II. He had asthma, so he couldn’t go to war, but he told about working on ranches around the area for cattlemen whose sons did go. Dad got to know the parents of his buddies during this time by working with them–what stories!
Dad told stories of a time and an era long gone—helping Mose Russell drive a herd of horses from southeastern Colorado to Cimarron, New Mexico. He often talked of horses; he had two horse accidents to share. The life of a rancher never has a dull moment, so he spoke of cattle incidences and the wonders of his life—mother nature was his God, and he told of glorious sunsets and miracles with a hard birth for one of his favorite cows.
Dad’s health declined, and death came quickly—in August 1995 things changed, and by January 1996 he died.
“. . . he progressed to the point of not being able to talk—his lips moved to form words but they just wouldn’t come out, and his left hand curled up in a ball. His intense, frustrated glaze locked in on me. His frightened eyes searched mine for the words. Sometimes I finished his sentences; other times I had no idea what he wanted to say. He struck the table with his clenched fist, more desperate each time it happened.”
A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memoir
Yes, he could no longer speak, and his stories ended; the last time he danced at our school gym to celebrate his 75th birthday, he gasped for air and couldn’t finish a complete circle around the floor. Every once in a while still, when the music is right, I can almost do his favorite move, but I haven’t yet!
When I come face-to-face with Dad in the hereafter, I’m sure the first thing we do after shedding a few tears and a bear hug is a glide around the celestial dance floor, doing his move once more and laughing and enjoying the beat of the music! And then he will tell me his favorite story once more, starting with “remember when . . .”
FATHER’S DAY SPECIALS GOOD UNTIL
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In one of our last interviews for Marshall Flippo’s biography, I asked him, “I have a question: if I was to ask you to describe yourself, how would you describe yourself?”
His short response, “Don’t ask me!” His humorous response made me laugh again, like so many times during these interviews. His sharp sense of humor caught me off guard regularly.
After a moment, he answered with a chuckle, “A little short squirt with lots of luck! That’s about it!”
tickled him and he added, “A little short squirt—after all, a lot of people
didn’t know me when I had hair, but, anyway, a little short squirt with lots of
luck!” I complimented him on his concise description but wondered about it. I
have mused over it for months now.
often referenced this thought about how lucky he was in relationship to all his
life, not just his calling life and added, “I was at the right spot at the
When Flip shared about his Navy assignments, he felt he was lucky to a “Baker and Cook” in the first couple years, and then to play baseball his last two years. When Flippo described his hitchhiking experiences between San Diego and Abilene after Basic Training, he felt it was luck that got him considerate people who picked him and his friend, Thurman Curry, up and helped them out so much.
referred to himself as “the luckiest man in the world” to marry Neeca and
praised her frugal nature and scheduling genius to make his calling career so
Standing back and looking at Flippo’s successful calling career, the threads of cause and effect weave their way through, but was it all luck?
Neeca and Flip started square dancing in 1951, and he began calling in 1952 in a chicken coup, at a time there wasn’t much recorded calling. So, he agreed to be one of several dancers to memorize a song and call it. From this agreement, his career sprung and he started calling regularly.
Calling careers, though, aren’t made overnight, so Flippo persisted. In 1957, two callers from Houston stopped by his dance in Abilene and heard him do “The Auctioneer,” a popular song at the time recorded by Leroy VanDyke. They suggested he connect with Norman Merrbach in Houston who owned Blue Star Records to record this song.
So, he called Norman. When Norman heard the title of the song, he told Flip that callers wouldn’t like it because it had too many words to say. Flip let it go, and a few months later received another phone call from Norman saying, “Let’s record it!” They did and were able to do it on the first take, and his career took off from that one lucky phone call and visit from two strangers.
His luck continued that year. A bus driver who happened to drive graduating seniors to a resort in the Lake of the Ozark’s area, Kirkwood Lodge for their senior trips, stopped by one night in Abilene. Flip and Neeca were told: “Throughout the season, they square danced as the majority activity at this resort,” and the bus driver suggested Neeca and Flippo go.
This was a turning point in Flip’s square dance career: they were getting burned out on square dancing and considered quitting, but this vacation became one of the luckiest trips they ever made. They went and had a great time, and returned for several years. In 1961 Flippo became the resident staff caller at Kirkwood Lodge for six months out the year. He did this for 42 years—a solid career choice and quite lucky, wouldn’t you say?
His 42-year tour schedule became the next lucky piece of the puzzle. Visiting dancers coming to Kirkwood would ask Flippo to come to their hometown and call a dance or festival. Neeca managed this growing list and sizeable schedule and put together synchronized tours after Kirkwood’s six-month season that began in October. He went north, east, south and home for Christmas. After time home in Abilene, Texas, Flippo started the new year going through the Midwest, then back home, west, and back to Kirkwood to start the new season there in April.
The backbone of these tours and his success lay in repeated weekend and week-long festivals that continued for thirty and forty years! At one time in his career, it took a club nine years to have Flippo call for them!
Also from Kirkwood, Flippo became an international success, gaining fans across the seas. He toured Japan, Germany, Spain and England because of foreign dancers’ time at Kirkwood with Flip. Again, they wanted dancers back home to experience square dance Flippo-style!
Another piece of the puzzle for Flippo’s success stemmed from the network of friends he made in the calling and dancing worlds. He treated people fairly which made him a Godsend to dance organizers. He connected deeply with many callers—so many that when we started this project of his biography, he wanted to tell stories on all his caller friends, and he dictated a list to me—he named 67 callers he wanted to tell a story about for the book. I’m sorry to say that we can’t include all of them because of size restraints.
Flippo’s calling career spanned sixty-four years. He recorded 100’s of records for several recording labels and he traveled extensively!
at the right place at the right time? I don’t know about you, but I disagree
with Flip. Yes, luck did have a hand in it. He flourished at a time when square
dancing was in its heyday—he recalled easily that an event had 40 or 50
squares! But I’ve danced to him for years, and I enjoyed his choreography, his
Burma Shave jingles he interwove in the patter and his friendly nature.
All of our lives are about choices we make and how this choice today affects what happens tomorrow and the next day, unfolding into a life time. Flippo succeeded because he made some choices which like a domino effect, tumbled to the next success which tumbled to the next one! Yet, at the core of his success: he was in high demand because he was who he was–Marshall Flippo!
Lin Miller, my husband, received a outstanding honor last night at the New Mexico Square and Round Festival in Roswell, New Mexico, They inducted him into the Hall of Fame for his work and support of square and round dancing in the state.
A friend nominated him two years ago, and I helped her put the paperwork together. Lin’s ex-wife contributed information about his dancing when they were together. We re-worked the application this year, because he wasn’t selected last year. My friend and I had secret meetings, telling Lin she had interests my books—he had no idea.
Just because someone is nominated doesn’t mean he or she is automatically in and in that year—sometimes it takes two years to actually receive this treasured recognition. I had won this award in 2007 and found out later that I had been nominated the year before, so it took me two times.
On top of that, the person in charge of the award this year didn’t let me know outright that Lin had won but hinted at it, so I wondered.
As we neared the festival, Lin and I ended up talking about the award some, speculating who might win, and I kept my reactions and tone as neutral as possible to not give it away.
This annual festival means a lot to me. It’s the one chance for our state square and round dance family to come together for a fun-filled weekend at various sites around the state. I always anticipate who’s going to be there and lament the loss of one of our dancers. I love our New Mexico state square and round dance members!
The theme this year for the festival, “Strangers Thing Happen,” ignited in a lot of us a frivolous, childlike celebration of Roswell’s claim to fame—the alien invasion. Many of us wore the festival’s lime green t-shirts on Saturday during the day with lights attached. Dancers played with the theme all weekend, and they talked about aliens, spaceships and other worldly matter—what fun! We blamed any mistakes made in the squares on “Aliens!”
The award ceremony was Saturday night. The anticipation mounted for me as the time drew closer. The Grand March started the evening’s activities, then it was time. The MC described the recipient without using his/her name, keeping us in suspense until it’s obvious who the recipient is. A dear round dance cuer received the first award, and my hands shook.
Finally the time came. I had told Lin before we arrived on Friday that I wanted to get lots of pictures this weekend, so he had my phone in his pocket. I didn’t want him to be suspicious when I needed my phone for the Hall of Fame awards. I had it out taking pictures of the first winner, so I caught him in total shock when he realized he was next.
As he hugged me, he asked if I knew, and I had tears in my eyes when I nodded my head. His reaction was precious and priceless. In a rate moment of being speechless, he went on stage to receive a name badge and plaque.
During the rest of the evening, dancers congratulated him. You may wonder what he did or does to receive this award.
For over ten years, he’s been the Promotions person for the Albuquerque Square Dance Center, sending out emails to notify dancers of up and coming events, so the state dancers knew what he does there. Also, he has been the treasurer for Hot August Nights for twelve years. But most recently, in 2013 Lin volunteered to be president of our square dance club, Duke City Singles and Doubles, when it was dying with only 27 members and no one wanting to take the leadership. In five years, he built it up to 92 active members. This changed the face of square dancing in Albuquerque because those 92 members went on to join other clubs growing square and round dancing across the city.
Lin ignites any event he attends with his high energy and positive attitude, and because of his friendly nature, he loves to visit with old and new friends during the breaks. His sense of humor and jokes keep people laughing, so he is an asset to this activity for sure.
The state honored this hard-working man this weekend, and he truly deserved it! You’re welcome to give Lin congratulatory comments here!
When you’re asked to volunteer to do something, what’s your
first response: I can or I can’t? If I can’t do the big thing someone asked me,
can I contribute in a small way? Or is my answer immediately, “I can’t.” It’s
all in the attitude.
I just finished a weekend square and round dance festival,
Duke City Singles and Doubles’ Spring Fling, and yes, I’m exhausted, but in a
good way. I’ve been the chairperson of this event since 2013, was the chair
from 1997 to 2000, and I have taken part on the committee for 24 years.
Today when I looked around at the sheer joy on happy dancers’ faces as they twirled and spun around the dance floor, all my hard work was worth it! The rewards resounded. That’s why I volunteer!
In 1994, I attended my first Fling (that’s what we called it
then) as a dancer only and caught the square dance fever. In 1995, the
chairperson asked me to help on advertising, and I failed miserably because I
didn’t know what I was doing. But that was a learning experience—ask questions
when you don’t know!
In 1996, our club took over this festival, and I agreed to be the co-chairperson, again not knowing what I was doing. The next year I moved up to be the chairperson! People believed I could do the job, and their belief confirmed I could. I had no idea what I was doing but someone needed to step up, and I said, “Yes, I can!” The previous chairperson had put together a manual for running a festival, so I followed that for many years until I got my system in place.
My involvement with this has gone on and on. Why
continue doing it or why do it at all, you may ask. Volunteering has been core
to my life for the last 25 years. I don’t hesitate; I jump in and worry about
the specifics later.
I have volunteered for other activities besides square dancing, and I love the connections I’ve made with people over the years and the rewards from those activities.
After being involved in this festival for years, three square dance girlfriends asked if I would chair the National Singles Square Dance Festival for Singles in Albuquerque in 2003. They said they would help if I headed it. They had worked with me on our local festival and liked the results. Again, I didn’t flinch, and again I had no experience at chairing a national event, so I took my time-tested knowledge from our smaller event and applied it, and we had a smashing success.
So why volunteer? Someone has to do the work—the event won’t
happen without you, without me! Is it time consuming? Yes! Will you have to
work with disagreeable people? Probably! But what else in life offers deep
connections with people which we all crave?
I have a wealth of wonderful memories that became a byproduct of volunteering. Several women dancers sat around a table and hand painted our square dance outfits one year. We laughed and shared our lives as we painted. Our hostess dropped her paintbrush on her vest and remarked, “That’s a bird,” and it worked out fine. Today when I wear that outfit, my heart glows with those moments.
My friend, Kathi, and I stayed up until 3:30 AM one Saturday because one of our talkative club members distracted the band who was trying to put up their instruments and equipment and get home at one of the Flings. We watched this talker and tried to get him away from the band but back he went repeatedly! Whenever we recalled this, we joked about who would sit on him next year so we could get home earlier, but what a memory!
At this talkative friend’s funeral, I shared this story with
his family with a laugh and a lot of love in my heart.
I sprayed a caller in the face with Silly String at our
National Square Dance Convention for singles which started a war of Silly
String the whole weekend. I ended up being the biggest target. What rich
Because of my involvement in this national organization, I have dear friends all over the USA—because I volunteered years ago at our local event. See what happens? The opportunities grew and grew from volunteering, and I became self-assured about my talents in organizing an event like this.
I’m tired tonight. Each year when the Spring Fling is over for another year, I look into the faces of the committee members and my co-chair and marvel at their commitment, their willingness to take part and am so deeply touched. The success unites us together as a force, and immediately the thought moves to next year’s events and what we needed to do.
Believe me, the rewarding answer when someone asks you to volunteer is “Yes, I can,” and you will never know where it will take you!
Do you volunteer? If so, where? What have been your rewards?