Someone needs to put Baby in the corner


We arrived at our family’s Sunday night dinner to hear, “Shhhh. Wait a minute.” Our daughter’s eyes were glued to the television set. “Wait just a minute, I want to hear Patrick Swayze say it one more time, ‘No one’s going to put Baby in the corner.’”

Patrick Swayze appeared on the screen wearing his black leather jacket. He was facing Baby’s father. There was silence, then the music began, “I’ve had the time of my life. Then he said it, and took Baby to the dance floor. We all swooned except our son-in-law, who said, “What’s with you girls, men don’t pay attention to those things. I don’t remember hearing those words before.”

Our daughter said, “Daddy does.”

“Shhhh. I missed it. Back it up, let me hear it again.” I took a seat on the couch and turned to look at our daughter. Her hair was wild with curls. I said, “What happened? You and Baby have the same hairdo.”

“Oh, I got a perm this afternoon.”

“Well, someone needs to put Baby in the corner.” I laughed.

“It’ll just take a little time to tame it.”

“It might take a long time.”

Talk about a man who will never be tamed. Al’s brother, David, was in town the next week. He was wearing his black leather jacket. I said, “Oh, you have a jacket just like Patrick Swayze. Are you mad at me for writing about your black leather and Karen with saggy knees?”

“You know I stay mad at you all the time.” He laughed, and then he said, “I’ve got a story for you.”

“If you tell me, you know I’m going to write about it.”

“I don’t care. I went out to this nice restaurant and bar in Albuquerque. I ordered a glass of wine at the bar, I noticed two girls across the dance floor. They were friends of my ex. I took my glass of wine and walked over to Kellie’s table. I knew her when she was married. I said to her, Are you still married?’


“‘Where’s your wedding ring?’

“‘It’s around.’ She gave me a flirty teasing laugh.

“You better put your ring on, or I’m coming after you.’

“She just smiled.”

I interrupted David’s indulgence. “You’re a bad boy.”

“Well, I told her she better get that ring on or she was fair game.”

“David, that’s how you ended up single. Your ex was going out clubbing with her friends when you were married. She got involved with a married man and they broke up two marriages.”

“Yeah, I know. But, I’m not married, I’m not doing anything wrong.”

“My Sweet Al says these women have more at home than they know what to do with. They’ve got a man who loves them at home and they’re out flirting with men who don’t care nothing about them.”

“He’s probably right. Speaking of exes. I was talking to Kellie when I saw my ex-wife over at another table. I walked over to her. She was with some guy. She introduced him as her boyfriend. He was probably 50, but he looked like an old man. He doesn’t look like he’s going to live long.

“I excused myself, took my glass of wine and went back to the bar. Just a few minutes later he got up from the table. His shoulders were rounded, and he was all hunched over looking at the floor. He shuffled across the dance floor to the restroom. I don’t know what she sees in him.”

“He’s probably loaded with money.”


“What are you going to do about Kellie?”

“I asked her to dance.”

“David, you are a bad boy, someone needs to put you in the corner. As for Kellie, she’s a bad girl, she should be put in the other corner. Kellie will soon be just another ex-wife looking for something she had at home all the time.”

Final Brushstroke: They’re all playing with fire. My Sweet Al isn’t a Patrick Swayze on the dance floor, but he still causes sparks when he shuffles me across the floor. This is one Baby who’s not going to be put in the corner. I know what I’ve got at home.

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Artist’s quote

“There’s one sad truth in life I’ve found while journeying east and west. The only folks we really wound are those we love the best. We flatter those we scarcely know. We please the fleeting guest. And deal many a thoughtless blow to those who love us best.” — Ella Wheeler Wilcox, author and poet.

This story was posted on April 10, 2014.