Archive for the ‘General’ Category

My dear and friend and mentor, Joe Augenblick died on Sunday, December 15, 2013.  His notice can be found here Joseph Augenblick

I was asked by the family to give the eulogy at his service, which is below.

In 1973, at the age of 14, Joe and Madeline became my dance teachers.  For the next ten years they were, arguably, the most important influence in my life.

I left Orlando in the summer of 1983 to move to Las Cruces, New Mexico.

On September 19 of that year, I wrote a letter to Joe and Madeline, with the request that they share it with our other dance friends. But the letter was really to them.

I would like to read that letter to you now.

Monday, September 19, 1893

My Dearest Friends,

I weep today.  I cry freely the tears of departure which I have so carefully saved until they would serve to do more than sodden my heart at leaving you.

Today I spent in reflection and meditation, for this coming weekend I shall attend a retreat whose topic is INTIMACY and LOVE.

My whole life has been rich in intimacy and love.  But thorough you, in you, with you, I have known and still know, a kind of intimacy and love which many never know.

You welcomed me, a child, into your midst.  Through patient care I have received guidance, nurturing, support in all my need.  In you, I have known by loving example Christ-like maturity, wisdom and spirit.  With and by means of your love I am who I am.

Indeed, by you I am richly blessed.  Each of you has made unto me a gift, freely given, of your experience, your wisdom, your very lives.  You have opened your hearts to me, welcomed me into your homes, and your lives.  The richness of your gifts shall be with me forever.

I am proud to represent unto the world the person who you have helped me become, and I will endeavor in all things to continue to grow well and rightly, as you have taught.  It is my hope, my wish, my prayer, that each of you is able to be proud of me, now and always.

With deepest love and respect,
Your loving friend and son,


30 years… It's been 30 years since I wrote that.  And those words are as true for me today as when I first wrote them.

Joe Augenglick was an extraordinary man.  Kind.  Thoughtful.  Loving.  Funny.  Generous to a fault.

Our world, MY world, is a better place for him being a part of it.  It is an honor to have known him and a privilege to have been his student and his friend.

All of us who knew him share in the responsibility of making sure that the man Joe Augenblick was lives on.  In our thoughts.  In our words.  In our hearts.  And hopefully in the example of our lives as a reflection of the OUTSTANDING man that he showed himself to be for the 93 years, 11 months and 30 days that he blessed our world with his life.


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.

Many people have expressed interest in the eulogy that I gave at my father’s funeral on Saturday, November 8, 2008. Although the honor and privilege of speaking was mine, all six of my brothers and sisters participated in the writing. The document is available for download as a Word document by clicking HERE.

In Memorium
Harry W. Lamberty

August 4, 1927 – November 6, 2008

By the Lamberty Children

Our father gave each of us something to remember. Let me give you an example:

‘i’ squared equals minus one.

The man was an engineer.

So, ‘i’ squared equals minus one. And a pint’s a pound the world around.

When I say he gave us something to remember, I mean specifically, to each of us, his children, something he wanted us to learn and remember for the rest of our lives.

He gave Bill: ‘i’ squared equals minus one.

He gave Kane: A pint’s a pound the world around.

He gave me: The upper lip of a giraffe is prehensile.

The upper lip of a giraffe is prehensile. It may not seem earth shattering; the kind of thing you remember for the rest of your life. But that’s not what was important.

What IS important is that everything our father did in his life was thoughtful, considerate and deliberate.

Thoughtful in that he thought about what he said, and what he did, before saying it or doing it.
Considerate in that he gave careful consideration to the impact his words and actions would have on the people around him.

Deliberate in that he ALWAYS made his decisions based on what he believed was right.

Those whose lives were touched by our father may not always remember the things he said, like we do. He didn’t often speak forcefully. But they will remember the things he did. The thoughtful, considered and deliberate choices he made that impacted the world in which he lived.

Shortly after the end of the Vietnam conflict, when he was the head of the parish council, they were discussing whether or not the parish should sponsor a Vietnamese refugee family. He offered the opinion that the question was not WHETHER they should sponsor a family, but rather… how many.

Our father constantly surprised us. No one would expect this practical and pragmatic man to have an artistic streak that would manifest throughout his life.

If you have ever been to our parent’s home, you have seen his collection of Southwestern art. But his artistic streak was not limited to collecting.

As a young married couple, with seven children still at home, he made the conscious and deliberate decision to create what we would now-a-days call “quality time” with his wife, and together they took up square dancing.

I am a professional ballroom dancer and world champion, but I would never have started dancing if it wasn’t for them dancing, AND sharing their passion for dancing with us.

He used to drive me all the way across town just so I could dance with the teen square dance group. He never spoke to me while we were in the car alone. I always thought it was because he was ashamed that I was dancing instead of doing something like playing ball. Little did I know that he didn’t talk because he had a hearing problem and the background noise of the car made it impossible for him to hear me while he was driving.

When I got the extraordinary privilege of working at White Sands on the same project as my father, I was stunned to see a framed copy of the poster from my first public ballroom dancing exhibition on the wall of his office.

And that was not the only memento of his family. Each of us was represented. As much as he loved his work, and he truly did, FAMILY was always more important. His office represented his love for his family through the art he put in it.

As that family grew to include spouses, his love grew too. Each of his children’s wives and husbands were welcomed into his life.

Whether it was sitting and discussing World War Two airplanes with Mary’s husband, Tom, or talking sports with Amy’s husband, Richard, or sharing a cup of coffee with Ted’s wife Susie, our father made each of them his own.

It was typical that when Kane’s wife, Barbara, who collects South Pacific art and artifacts, brought him a model outrigger canoe in pieces, he not only put it back together, but spend hours and hours repairing, cleaning and restoring it, including fabricating missing pieces with such precision and in such detail that only an expert could tell that they were not a part of the original work of art.

And he didn’t do this just once, but time and time again. In fact, he completed the last one less than two weeks before his death.

Perhaps the most surprising, the most unique expression of his creative and artistic sense are his now legendary bowling pins.

What started as a quirky way to hold a door open became a wonderful gift for the members of our family. And before long, it became an honor for others to receive one of Harry’s creations: A treasured, thoughtful gift, created as an individual expression of his profound respect, love and admiration of the recipient.

As remarkable as his art was, perhaps the greatest gift Harry has ever given is a lifetime of devotion to his wife, Jackie.

They met because they were set up. Harry’s mother had a car, which in the late 40s, made Harry special. The group of friends wanted to find someone to go with Harry on their group date. But who could they get for this shy, awkward young man? How about a vivacious lovely young woman with a quick wit and a beautiful smile?

So six of them piled into Harry’s mother’s car to go dancing. Although he would later become quite an accomplished dancer, Harry was, at that point, a clumsy Cal, and not exactly blessed with the gift of gab. No worries, since Jackie was good at both.

When Jackie got home after their first date, her mother was waiting up for her. “What was he like”, she asked? “He’s homely”, she replied.

And when Harry got home, his sister asked, “What was she like?” “She’s fat”, he said.

Over time, this homely man and this fat woman created a remarkable love that was just as strong on the day he died as it was on the day they got married, 57 years, 2 months, and 7 days before.

‘i’ squared equals minus one.
A pint’s a pound the world around.
The upper lip of a giraffe is prehensile.

Our father gave us, his children, WORDS to remember. He gave us ALL, a LIFE to remember.