I usually attend Mass with my mother every Sunday. We generally go to the 9:30 am Mass since she sings in the choir.  This past weekend the choir was singing at the Saturday vigil and I found myself there for the Saturday 5:00 pm Mass. The Gospel reading was from Mark 9:35 

And he sat down and called the twelve; and he said to them, "If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all."

Fr. Glenn gave a nice homily, although it didn't quite seem like his normal approach. Then at the end of Mass, just before the final blessing, he stopped himself and said to us that he just realized that he had a perfect example of those who are servants to all in the wonderful choir.

As the congregation applauded, I though, "YES! THAT sounds like what Fr. Glenn would normally say."

Which got me to thinking, who do I know that lives in service to others? As I sat there waiting for my mother, reminiscing about all the people who have contributed to my dancing, I was a bit overwhelmed. The list is really, really long.

I know a lot of people who give of themselves with seemingly boundless generosity. I could never have accomplished what I have in dancing without the service of so many. Every dance I ever ran. Every time I've ever taught or performed. None of that would have been possible without the selfless generosity of any number of people who care about our dance community.

It would be impossible for me to name them all, and if I tried I would surely miss out on someone who deserves mention. I will say that I think about Madeline Augenblick often and with great fondness. And any day that I can open my email and find some little thing from yorkiedance, well.. that day is a better day.

But there are many, many names of people who have touched my life through dance. I never set foot on the floor without them being present for me.

This week I've been preparing to head over to teach at the European Round Dance Week run by Klaus and Marion Voelkl and Joachim and Kristin Bradl, and a host of other people who support them in making this extraordinary event possible.

Year after year they put on an amazing event. We celebrate and dance and share our passion for dancing. It is an honor and a privilege to get to go. If you have never been, I would encourage you to consider it. Next year will be the 20th anniversary of the event. Come and celebrate with us. You will love it.

As I thought about the week to come, I realized just how much work there was left to do. Six dances. Six cuesheets. Not all finished. 

Normally I try to have everything ready about two months in advance. I try. I fail. But one week before I'm supposed to be on the plane and I'm still writing cuesheets? Thank goodness for modern electronic communication….

Year and year, cuesheet after cuesheet. Another draft to proofread. Another song to check out. Another question about how to write this or do that. And year after year, cuesheet after cuesheet, one person making sure I write XRif instead of RXif and DLC instead of DC. Helping me to understand the difference DRAW and PULL, and trying (and failing, miserably failing) to get me to be a little less long winded.

I have no idea how many people Annette Woodruff proofreads for. But I know I'm not the only one.

I have no idea how many committees Annette has served on, for RoundaLab, for the European Round Dance Teachers Association, for her community in Belgium, for ICBDA (formerly URDC), and goodness knows who else.

What I do know is that Annette has given a lifetime of selfless service to the Round Dance community, and I, for one, have benefited enormously from her contributions.

So as I prepare to get on the plane the fly to Belgium where I will meet with Annette and Frank and their lovely daughters and their husbands I just wanted to say THANK YOU. Thank you for your generosity, your hospitality, your friendship; for sharing your life with me, opening your home to me; for the food, the wine, the conversation.

Thank you for reading my cuesheets. Thank you for your honest criticism and strong opinions. Thank you for trying to help me even when I'm being an a**.

Thank you for the amazing gift of dance.

If you are reading this and you have ever benefited from the selfless generosity of Annette, please take a moment to drop her a line and say so.

Annette, my love, I can't wait. Another year. Another duck, or rabbit, or something from the North Sea. Another glass of delicious sweet white wine. Another chance to sit with you and honor all those who have come before and will come after as we debate the merits of diagonals and revel in the extraordinary lives we live.

I am truly blessed.

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