Take a Letter Maria | Birthday Memories

Last year for my birthday, I asked my friends to send me stories related to our friendship. I spent my birthday taking a trip down memory lane, reading through all of them. This year, I asked some of my friends if I could share their memories with you.

Dancing with Chris - 2001
Dancing with Chris – 2001

Today’s memory is from Chris Linrud, one of my friends from Oregon State. Although we were both Honors College students, we actually met through country dancing.

Here’s what Chris had to share:

I had been taking country dance lessons for a few weeks when I first met Ruth. (OSU has an awesome selection of P.E. classes for credit – including Country Dancing.) She wasn’t in my country dance class. (I took the class when I was a freshman.) One of the requirements to pass the class was to go to a specific number of dances. I think it was the second or third dance where I first met her . . . I approached a posse of women I knew from my class which included Becky, Kirsten, and Sarah and said hello. I looked out onto the dance floor to see this girl line dancing with a great looking ass in tight black wranglers. “Hmm,” I thought to myself, “I need to meet her.” (A few other thoughts may have entered my mind as well, but I’ll keep this PG). Luckily enough, she happened to be the RA of the three girls I already knew, so introductions were quick and easy. (I promise Chris is not a creepy womanizer. He’s a farm boy from North Dakota and a rocket scientist . . . and a guy.)

Snuggling with Chris at the Dance Hall - 2001
Snuggling with Chris at the Dance Hall – 2001

From there on out, Ruth and I became not only great dance partners, but great friends. There were few Saturday nights we didn’t spend together along with the rest of the country dance crowd. As soon as “Take a Letter Maria” would come on or some other fast cha-cha we would lock eyes and hurry up and get in line. Being a gymnast and also knowing how to follow my lead really well we were the only couple who could ever do all the turns including a triple to the really fast songs. (Chris is an awesome lead. The songs were so fast that I had to go from the triple turn right into the next step. If he didn’t grab my hand at the right moment, I would have fallen on my ass. He never dropped me.) We always seemed to be tuned in to what the other was thinking. When we were catching our breath on the sidelines you could often find Ruth sitting on my lap or curled up in my arms . . . even though we weren’t dating there was a comfort and connection between us that I still remember today. (Don’t get any ideas – Chris married an amazing woman named Stacy and they have two beautiful daughters.)

Whenever I hear “Take a Letter Maria,” I can’t help but start cha-cha-ing in my mind . . .and if I’m alone I may even break out some old moves. However – be careful if you try to do this in the shower – I’ve almost fell over on more than one occasion! (Oh that’s the Chris I know and love.)

I have a lot of fond memories of that time of my life. Out of that crowd she was the only one that was able to attend my wedding and my only regret that night is that we never did do a fast country swing in front of everyone and bring back the cheers we used to get dancing every weekend in college. (Dude – did you forget the applause we got when we schottiched?)

I have so many fond memories from country dancing at OSU – still have my boots and buckle too. I picked my outfits for Chris and Sarah’s weddings around my boots because they are my two favorite country dance leads.

Chris accused me of wanting to share this story just because he said I have a nice tush. That wasn’t the only reason. 😉

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