Introduction
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Book One:

A SIMPLE ACT OF KINDNESS

 

INTRODUCTION

Written by Rick Archer

 © 2015, Richard Archer

 


Forward

 

My name is Rick Archer.  In case you don't know much about me, I live in Houston, Texas.  I have been married to Marla Archer since 2004 and I have one daughter, Samantha.

At age 60, I decided to sell SSQQ, my dance studio.  After my retirement in 2010, my mind returned to a mystery that has bothered me for my entire life. I decided the time had come to tell an important story.

I had more or less finished writing the rough draft of the memoir detailing the key events of the seven year period that led to the creation of my dance studio.

One day as Marla and I took a long walk through the woods, she asked me to give her some of the highlights.  About twenty minutes into the story, Marla stopped me in mid-sentence.

"Rick, no one is going to ever understand your story unless you tell them what happened to you when you were a kid.  If you want people to grasp the enormity of just how lost and confused you were, you have to start this story back in childhood."

I groaned.  Marla was absolutely right, but this meant starting over.  For the strange saga of my dance studio to make a bit of sense, I had no choice but to explain my childhood first.  

Book One: A Simple Act of Kindness tells the story of my childhood and sets the scene at the start of my dance career.  

Book Two: Destiny tells the story of how my dance career began.

As they say, to appreciate the conclusion, one must first understand the beginning.

I have written these two books for an important reason... I am firmly convinced there has been an unseen hand that has guided my progress every step of the way.

Thanks to my philosophical nature, I have spent my life wondering about the existence of God. 

I am well aware that many religious leaders are absolutely convinced of God's existence, but that isn't good enough for me.  A lot of men whose opinions I respect are just as convinced that God doesn't exist.

I am a person completely incapable of Blind Faith.  I refuse to take any preacher's word on anything.  That said, I have trust in my own mind, so it has been my lifelong passion to look for signs of God's existence.

Strangely enough, a great mystery in my own life has given me a very promising set of clues.

I won't insult the intelligence of the reader by saying these clues are absolute proof. Yet these clues offer a tantalizing indication that something very difficult to explain just might be taking place behind the curtain of what we call 'Reality'.

I call these clues "Coincidences".

So what exactly is the Great Mystery?

In short, I was lucky.  In fact, I was so lucky that for the rest of my life I have been suspicious about my own accomplishment.

In my personal opinion, I had no business succeeding like I did.  However, I was given a break time and time again that allowed me to continue to stumble forward. 

Starting in 1977, I oversaw the the creation of an amazing dance studio known as SSQQ, short-hand for Slow Slow Quick Quick

I believe there was an intangible quality to SSQQ that made it special.  A lot of people agreed with me because at one point SSQQ was likely the largest dance studio in America.

In my opinion, SSQQ was more than 'just a dance studio'.  There was a spirit that infused our activities that made the studio remarkable.  SSQQ occupied different roles to different people.  To some, it was "just a dance studio".  To others it took a role something akin to a favorite playground, or a sanctuary where the problems of the world could disappear, or even a romantic garden where Cupid could ply his charms.  Dancing, fun, safety, and flirting all rolled into one... what more could a person ask for?

Except that I had a problem with all this success. 

In my self-appraisal, I had no business creating something this wonderful. 

And that was Marla's point... Unless the reader knew my full story, they would not understand why Rick Archer was the last person someone would expect capable of creating a place like SSQQ

My childhood had been an ordeal reminiscent of a Greek myth.

The Myth of Sisyphus told the story of a deceitful man whose punishment consisted of pushing a giant rock up the hill.

Whenever he neared the top, he would lose his strength and the giant boulder would roll back down to the valley.

Although I am not a deceitful person, I would say that much of my early life resembled the fate of Sisyphus. 

I would reach a point where I believed I had finally overcome my problems only to see my feet knocked back out from under me. 

And then - like Sisyphus - I would be forced to start over.  

I did not escape my childhood unscathed.  Due to my difficult childhood, I would struggle mightily throughout my Twenties. 

At age 24, the second great crisis of my life fell upon me.

I was in graduate school trying to become a psychotherapist.

To my dismay, two months into the school year the chairman of the department pulled me into his office and proceeded to say I had the 'wrong type' of personality to become a therapist. 

What he really meant to say was that my people skills were so utterly mediocre that he intended to toss me from graduate school at the end of the year.

There was another dimension to my crisis.  My experience with women was so limited that my girlfriend - the chairman's private secretary no less - had completely played me for a fool. 

Shortly after our love affair began, the woman's previous boyfriend decided to re-enter the picture.  Now she began seeing both of us and telling lies to deceive me.  There were signs everywhere that she was two-timing me, yet I was too woefully ignorant about "love" to understand what was going on.

When the truth finally came out, I was totally blind-sided.  I became so fearful of getting hurt again I could not work up the courage to approach an attractive woman to save my soul. 

 

Following my dismissal from graduate school, I returned to Houston feeling totally defeated.

After a few months of feeling sorry for myself, I decided dance lessons might be the answer to my new-found phobia towards women.  Now came the final insult.  I discovered I had absolutely no talent for dance.  I was beyond pathetic.

So here I was, age 24, lacking charisma, social skills, confidence around women plus any semblance of dance talent.  And yet three years from this point, I would start my climb. 

My story of how the studio started is fascinating.  Please forgive my lack of modesty, but I am serious.  The reader has no idea of all the crazy twists and turns I encountered... treachery, blind luck, narrow escapes, blackmail, adultery, and improbable coincidences. 

Starting in 1977, over a four year period, I plummeted from one disaster to the next. 

Then suddenly one day everything was calm.  It was now 1981. Incredibly I realized I had magically become Houston's best-known dance teacher.  The man who couldn't dance now owned a dance studio and the success of my career was more probability than improbability.  

Incredibly, this erratic rollercoaster ride had led directly to the formation of my dance studio.  It made no sense.  If anything, the position I now occupied was a complete fluke, a cosmic accident of some sort.  Given my shortcomings, I had no business going from zero to hero.

I was here only because a series of coincidences and lucky breaks had bounced me from one point to the next.  My conclusion was inescapable... no one could be this lucky.  The odds against my success were beyond implausible, yet here I was.

One day I decided to connect the dots.  As I suspected, once connected, the dots began to resemble a pattern that looked suspiciously like Destiny. 

To me, I had two choices.  I could either continue to use the word ‘Coincidence’ to explain these bizarre happenings or I could admit what I believed was the real explanation...

It sure felt like there was more to this world than meets the eye.

1981 - The sign says: 

The SSQQ Dance Club meets for Graduation
at the Winchester Club

 

Is there really such a thing as Destiny?  To me, it seems that way.  To another, maybe I was just lucky.

And now we know the reason why I decided to write my two books. 

If there is such a thing as Destiny, then I believe this is a message far too important to keep to myself.

 


ACCOMPLISHMENT SSQQ

 

Before I begin Book One: A Simple Act of Kindness, I would like to tell the reader something about my dance studio.  

It was not until I turned 30 that I finally emerged from my early struggles to achieve great success in my dance career.

On the surface, the studio taught people how to dance to Western, Ballroom, Swing, and Salsa music.  The studio was very good at this task.

Over the years, SSQQ trained many fine dancers.  Indeed, there were championship dancers who got their initial training at the studio.  However, the dance studio's main emphasis was taking beginners and turning them into competent social dancers. 

The previous business model for dance studios was excellence through private lessons.  SSQQ went totally counter to the prevailing way of thought.  I developed an original business model based on group classes.  The studio's group class system proved extremely effective, especially considering how economically the classes were priced.

SSQQ made its mark teaching large groups of people how to dance for the fun of it.  From the start, SSQQ never breathed a word about dance contracts.    Now that people were not facing exorbitant dance contracts, they were willing to risk $30 or $40 on a month of classes to see if Social Dancing might be an activity they would enjoy. 

Where other studios used sales pressure, I refused to use this method. I assumed people would continue to take further classes willingly if they enjoyed their first class. 

At the time, I was told this was a real gamble.  However I am pleased to say I was right.

 

1981 - The Halloween Party from Hell
 

1986 - The Tom Easley Look a Like Party
 

   

I ran my studio for 32 years here in Houston, Texas.  At its peak, my dance studio averaged close to 200 students a night.

The place was a circus!  We had dance classes in six different rooms and people milling about everywhere. 

When one includes the staff, 1,400 people per week walked through those doors.  I would imagine our attendance totals made SSQQ the largest dance studio in the United States.  However, since I have no particular way to back up this claim, suffice it to say that SSQQ was a very popular place. 

My studio didn't just teach people how to dance, it served as a meeting place for all kinds of wonderful people. 

We had an outrageous amount of fun.  A good example would be our annual Halloween party.  Attendance at our Halloween parties was enormous.  People stretched wall to wall.

Our final party had over 400 hundred people.  Thank goodness the fire marshal had no idea. It was so crowded that night people could barely walk from one room to the next.  Did they mind? Heck no, they loved it!  At SSQQ, the more the merrier.

   

2001 - Heartbeat, SSQQ World Champion Western dance team
 

1998 - Swinging Skirtz and Mugz, SSQQ Lindy Dance Team
 

Besides teaching vast numbers of people to dance, the studio's major accomplishment was creating a vast social network.  In that sense, SSQQ was wildly successful.

What I did not anticipate was the potential of the studio to turn into one of Houston's premier dating locations.  However, it didn't take long to figure it out.  Right from the start, I noticed our group dance classes were unusually effective at creating romance. 

Our students came here to learn to dance, but they quickly discovered a sweet and totally unexpected surprise.  Once the smiling ladies found themselves in the arms of men smiling back at them, a wonderful sort of chemistry began to work its magic. 

The series of classes spread out over a month allowed people to get to know the other students over a period of time.  This removed the pressure one might feel to make the kind of fast moves or awkward pick-up lines one might see in a bar.

Instead people were able to form friendships over time in a casual, relaxed manner.

Many of these people who danced together on a regular basis grew fond of each other.  Not surprisingly, frequently these friendships developed into something much deeper.

I learned a valuable lesson... Slow Dance leads to Romance.

   

Ann McKenna and Kirby Lane

Libby Ingrassia and Paul Foltyn

 Tom and Margaret Easley met at SSQQ in 1985. 

   

College is the perfect place to find a mate since there are so many attractive, intelligent and single people to choose from.  SSQQ became the adult-version of the same thing. 

Since the studio was always populated by a large number of professionals learning how to be kids again, the birds and the bees had a field day at SSQQ

Slow Dance leads to Romance... time and time again this adage came true.  Not one month passed without someone announcing their engagement.  It was amazing to watch.

I took great satisfaction in my studio's reputation as the hotspot to find a girlfriend or a boyfriend. 

I scoff at today's expensive dating services... SSQQ offered more opportunities for romance than one could possibly imagine and it was all for free!  Without a doubt, SSQQ was the closest thing in all of Houston to a marriage factory.

I had always known about the studio's success at pairing people up, but I had no idea the extent of it.  That changed with the advent of the Internet Era.  Through the development of email, I finally had a way to keep careful count. 

Over the final eleven year period, the dance studio averaged 25 marriages and engagements per year. 

All told, I estimate SSQQ was responsible for well over three hundred marriages spanning thirty-two years.

   

2009 - Formal Night on the annual SSQQ dance cruise.
Slow Dance and Romance is particularly powerful at sea.
For example, I met my wife Marla on the 2001 dance cruise
 

1988 - Trip to the Bahamas
 

   

SSQQ wasn't just about love affairs.  The studio became a place where all kinds of activities were incubated - ski trips, cruise trips, margarita tours, Renaissance Festival excursions, camping trips, Surfside weekends, charades parties, Azalea Trail bike rides, you name it. And sports too... we had outdoor volleyball and swimming pool volleyball. We even had Mud Volleyball! 

SSQQ was truly the equivalent of an adult playground. 

As people took classes together, they got to know each other.  When a class really clicked, an entire network of friendships might develop.  From that point on, these people wanted to do everything as a group.  Whether it was dancing, cruising, skiing or simply coming to the SSQQ Halloween Party en masse, wherever the gang went, that's where people wanted to be.

Often people would continue to take dance lessons as a way to stay in close touch with their dance studio friends. 

The group spirit that emerged carried over into ski trips, resort trips, and dance cruises.  Adventures like these simply made the ties even stronger.  SSQQ grew into a tight-knit community.

   

1983 - SSQQ Wedding
Doug and Ava Humme

2001 - Mud Volleyball Tournament
There was no end to the crazy things we did
Incidentally, SSQQ came in second out of 120 teams

1981 - An example of the silliness:
A Charades Party & a Pyramid

   

I spoke earlier of 'sanctuary'.  I meant that.  I am proud that my studio helped so many people make long-lasting friendships. 

By making the dance studio a safe, friendly place that attracted a wide range of people from every walk of life, people felt comfortable letting their guard down.  That allowed a marvelous warmth to permeate the studio.  It was a friendly place.

SSQQ was often described as a home away from home.  As the walls began to crack and ceiling tiles were stained by roof leaks, one night a man looked around and called the studio "a run-down joint".  Then he turned to me and smiled. 

"But I don't care. SSQQ is my joint!  I love it just the way it is."

The studio became a place where people could relax and be happy. In particular, SSQQ was a place where people could sit back and relax.  Even though we had our fair share of 'unusual people', they all felt comfortable just being themselves.  

I think the pictures make that point perfectly clear.

   

1982 - Western dance party at a C&W club
 

1989 - Ski Trip to Banff
 

   


TRANSFORMATION THROUGH DANCE

   

The origins of my dance career were directly interwoven with my struggle to gain any sort of confidence around women. 

Following my graduate school crisis, in 1974 I started dance lessons as a way to meet women.  That is when I discovered I had no natural ability for dance. 

I do not fib when I claim I took much longer than the average person to learn to dance.  One problem was my tendency to be far too analytical.  I simply couldn't relax and trust my feet to move without thinking about it. 

My main problem was my refusal to practice my dancing due a mind-numbing fear of looking foolish in front of women.  I had confidence issues related to women that stretched all the way back to high school.  I never had a single date.

Due to my fear of looking foolish, I had a dilemma - I wanted to be good BEFORE I began asking women to dance.  But the only way to get good is to practice. 

Since I was afraid to look foolish, I didn't practice.   And since I didn't practice, I didn't improve.  And since I didn't improve, I didn't have the courage to ask women to dance.  Sounds like a dog chasing its tail, doesn't it?

As one might imagine, progress was slow. However, I refused to quit. 

No matter how bad I was or how slow I was to pick something up, I stayed with it.

Over a three year period, slowly but surely I improved as a dancer.  In the process, I discovered a mysterious side benefit to my dance project.  As I improved as a dancer, I noticed that many of my confidence and trust issues related to women were slowly dissipating.

My own story makes it perfectly clear that social dancing can heal people.  It took a while, but Dancing was the reason I finally emerged from my shell.  Once I finally learned to dance, I discovered my phobia towards women had magically disappeared.  Thank goodness! 

 

2006 - Cruise Trip
Pat Salinas

1989 - Dirty Dancing Workshop
Janet Gunthrie

1987 - Valentines Party
Margie Saibara

2004 - Wedding Day
Marla, the love of my life
 

 


MYSTICISM

 

As I stated previously, I believe my dance career unfolded in such an unusual way that I began to wonder if I was simply an actor in a drama called 'Destiny'.

For example, my long struggle learning to dance would pay a key role in my later success.  Unlike some dance teachers who can be impatient with slow learners, I became the most patient teacher imaginable.  I made sure that SSQQ was structured in the most "Beginner-friendly" manner I could possibly imagine... plenty of built-in practice opportunities, plenty of encouragement, and the use of volunteers to give additional attention to the ones who were having trouble.  Over time, SSQQ helped a lot of people learn to dance who first came to the studio convinced they were hopeless.

My unusual patience born of my own struggles is a good example of why I am so curious about how my life unfolded.  Perhaps I was meant to struggle myself so I would have superior insight when it came time to assume command. 

The mystical element began in childhood.  There were times during my childhood when I was so lonely and bitter that I was on the verge of going off the deep end.  And yet no matter how disturbed I was, someone would appear just in the nick of time to help me pull through.

After the third or fourth time, this series of rescues felt so unusual and so improbable that I actually began to wonder if a hidden hand was guiding me.   Thanks to the unusual nature of the interventions, I would develop a lifelong curiosity about Coincidences. 

As far as I am concerned, no one can possibly be as lucky as me.  For example, I have said I started my dance career by accident.  I mean that.  Someone handed me a job as a dance teacher even though I barely had any idea what I was doing.  Immediately after that, to my surprise, another job was offered out of the blue.  Once I started that first dance class, new doors just kept opening.  All I had to do was walk through those doors.  Each new door came complete with both opportunity and all kinds of problems. 

I struggled mightily for four long years.  Then one day the clouds parted.  The man who couldn't dance suddenly found that he had become the best-known dance teacher in Houston. 

This made absolutely no sense.  How on earth did this happen?

I became convinced there had to be a better explanation than dumb luck.

We all know that coincidences can be unsettling.  Often we have no idea what to make of them.

A coincidence can be something odd like running into a childhood friend in an unexpected place years later.  Or it can be getting a phone call from a distant relative just moments after thinking about the person for no reason. 

Ordinarily we dismiss these moments readily and turn our attention elsewhere.  However, once in while, we run across a coincidence so profound that we are forced to stop and consider the possibility of a supernatural explanation. 

Could it be an unseen hand is manipulating pulleys and levers behind a curtain?

The following story is a perfect example of what I mean about the disturbing nature of Coincidence.
 


THE CHURCH CHOIR


Rick's Note:  The strange story you are about to read appeared in the March 27th, 1950, issue of Life Magazine.  Titled "Why the Choir was Late", this story detailed a peculiar series of mundane delays that were responsible for saving the lives of seventeen different people.

The story took place in Beatrice, Nebraska, a small agricultural community about 450 miles due east of Denver, Colorado.  The population in 1950 was around 5,000 people.  If at the end of this story you have any doubt as to its authenticity, then I suggest you Google it and decide for yourself.  
 

 

The First Delay

March 1, 1950, was a bitterly cold day in Beatrice, Nebraska. 

Reverend Walter Klempel knew that the evening's 7:20 pm choir practice would be quite uncomfortable unless he heated the church ahead of time.

So that afternoon Reverend Klempel visited West Side Baptist Church to light the furnace.   Reverend Klempel then returned home to change clothes and have dinner.  As usual, he left the door open so anyone who wished to come early could come in out of the cold.

At 7:10 pm that evening, as was his custom, he rose from reading his Bible to drive to the nearby church five minutes away. 

However, his oldest daughter Marilyn Ruth, 18, cried in dismay when she discovered her dress was soiled. 

Her mother said not to worry; it would only take a few minutes to iron another dress.

THREE PEOPLE DELAYED

The Second Delay

Ladona Vandegrift, a high school student, did not want to leave until she finished a nagging geometry problem. 

Ordinarily Ladona was the most punctual member of the choir.  In fact, she was typically early for choir practice.

Tonight would be the first time she had ever been late for choir practice.

3 + 1 = FOUR PEOPLE DELAYED

 

The Third Delay

Royena Estes was ready to leave on time.  However, to her dismay, her car wouldn't start on this cold Nebraska night. 

Royena's sister Sadie suggested they call their neighbor Ladona Vandegrift for a ride.

To their surprise, the ordinarily reliable Ladona asked them to wait.  She would come pick them up just as soon as she finished her knotty math problem.  Ladona's geometry issue ended up making all three ladies late. 

3 + 1 + 2 = SIX PEOPLE DELAYED

 

The Fourth Delay

Mrs. Leonard Shuster was always among the most prompt of the choir members.

Ordinarily she and her small daughter Susan would have been on time. 

However tonight Mrs. Shuster had received a phone call from her mother asking for a favor.  At the last minute, Mrs. Shuster had to make an unexpected detour over to her mother's house to help her mother get ready for a missionary meeting.

This delay caused Mrs. Shuster and Susan to be late for choir practice.

3 + 1 + 2 + 2 = EIGHT PEOPLE DELAYED

 

The Fifth Delay

Herbert Kipf was a lathe operator.  He was late because he wanted to finish writing a letter.

When asked later why the letter was so important, Kipf replied, "I can't think why."

3 + 1 + 2 + 2  + 1 = NINE PEOPLE DELAYED

 
 

The Sixth Delay

Machinist Harvey Ahl got distracted.  His wife was away, so he was busy watching his two boys that evening.

Mr. Ahl was planning to take the two boys with him to choir practice, but ended up playing with his sons and lost track of time.

By the time Harvey Ahl looked at his watch, to his surprise he realized he was already late.

3 + 1 + 2 + 2  + 1 + 3 = TWELVE PEOPLE DELAYED

 

The Seventh Delay

Marilyn Paul was the pianist.  She planned to arrive half an hour early to practice her songs for the evening.   However, Marilyn was feeling tired, so she decided to take a nap after dinner. 

Marilyn fell into a deep sleep.  At 7 pm, Martha Paul, Marilyn's mother, awakened her.  However, Marilyn fell right back to sleep.  At 7:15 pm, Mrs. Paul was annoyed to see Marilyn was still asleep. Now she was forced to awaken her daughter again.

Mrs. Paul was fit to be tied.  As choir director, she was adamant that everyone be punctual.  Now her own daughter had made them both late.

3 + 1 + 2 + 2  + 1 + 3 + 2 =
FOURTEEN PEOPLE DELAYED

 

The Eighth Delay

Lucille Jones and Dorothy Wood were best friends in high school.  They were also neighbors who rode together for choir practice.

Lucille was another person who had a reputation for punctuality.   However on this night she had become mesmerized by a radio program.  The 7:00-7:30 pm program of This is Your Life featured the life story of Edgar Bergen, the famous ventriloquist and puppeteer.  Lucille simply could not tear herself away from the program until she knew the complete story.

Meanwhile Dorothy waited patiently as Lucille stayed glued to her radio program.

3 + 1 + 2 + 2  + 1 + 3 + 2 + 2 =  SIXTEEN PEOPLE DELAYED

 

The Ninth Delay

It was a cold March evening indeed.  As the stiff Nebraska winter breezes stirred the trees outside, stenographer Joyce Black dreaded facing the cold night air.

Oddly enough, Ms. Black lived right across the street from the church.  Nevertheless, she couldn't seem to force herself to go outside in the cold.  That three-minute windswept walk to reach the comfort of the church made her shiver just thinking about it.

So Joyce Black put off leaving until the last possible moment.  She remained in her cozy warm house until finally her conscience kicked in and told her to get up and get moving.

When later asked about it, Joyce Black replied she was feeling "just plain lazy".

3 + 1 + 2 + 2  + 1 + 3 + 2 + 2 + 1 =  SEVENTEEN PEOPLE DELAYED

 


Explosion!


At 7:25 pm, Joyce Black was finally able to make herself face the cold. 

Just as she opened her door to cross the street, the night turned scarlet in a violent burst of flames.  Joyce Black was almost knocked off her feet by the nearby blast.  The woman covered her mouth in horror.  Right before her eyes, the West Side Baptist Church had exploded!!  The shock was overwhelming and the lady screamed in fear.

The entire church building had been instantly demolished by a gas leak that had caught fire.  After the supporting walls fell outward, the heavy wooden roof came crashing straight down. 

Joyce Black felt sick.  The fire and the collapsing roof would have been fatal to anyone inside.  There was no possibility of escape in a blast of this magnitude.


Meanwhile...


At the exact moment Joyce Black was staggered by the explosion, seven cars carrying sixteen people were en route.

The powerful roar of the explosion was so loud that it was heard in every corner of Beatrice... that included the choir members.

Each choir member distinctly heard the loud roar as they drove to practice.  One woman said she was so shocked she nearly drove off the road.  Everyone was deeply worried because they were certain the sound of the blast had come from the exact direction of their church. 

Choir practice had been scheduled for 7:20 pm.  The church had exploded at 7:25 pm.  Each person in the seven cars fully expected that if this was indeed the West Side Church that had blown up, someone was surely hurt or maybe much worse.

As each person arrived at the burning church, they gasped at the flames.  Once they saw the burning church, they were stunned to realize that their lateness had saved them from certain death.  Thank goodness they were spared, but now their thoughts turned to their friends at risk.  At this point, they believed that someone had surely lost their life in there. 

Standing in the parking lot despite the cold, they huddled together and began to take count with each new arrival.  Once the entire choir had arrived, the individuals were shocked to realize every single person in the choir group had been spared. 

Not one person had perished in the flames.

Now the members of the choir began to compare their stories.  It became apparent that each reason for lateness was quite ordinary and completely unconnected. 

When viewed separately, each delay was unremarkable in itself. 

Yet when each reason was laid side by side along with the others, a strange hush came over all of them.  They were in awe as they calculated the enormity of this series of delays.   Several were convinced this had to be "an act of God".

Someone estimated the odds.  Typically one person in four was late on any given night.  However, to have everyone be late on the same night was one in a million.

To the members of the choir, these delays amounted to a Miracle.

   


THE POSSIBILITY OF AN UNSEEN HAND

   

Were these improbable delays indeed a miracle?  Was there a divine hand involved?

I cannot answer that.  All I can say is that an event such as this meets my definition of 'profound'.  Although no one can assume the church choir incident serves as conclusive proof of God's existence, it certainly gives us all a reason to remain open minded.

At the center of Book One: A Simple Act of Kindness, I will share a perplexing coincidence that was almost as unlikely as the West Side Baptist Church incident.  My own incident left me so shaken that I would spend the rest of my life thinking about it. 

In all, I would encounter seven unusual coincidences during my childhood and college years.  Nor did my coincidences and lucky breaks end with childhood.  In 1977, I was a novice Disco teacher with one itty-bitty line dance class when Saturday Night Fever hit town. Suddenly a series of four lucky breaks literally skyrocketed me into my dance career.  Although I was woefully unprepared for this overwhelming opportunity, I somehow rose to the challenge. 

Strangely enough, two years later, the same thing happened again.  The moment I had finally become a competent Disco instructor, Urban Cowboy came along and turned my world upside down.  Since I had no idea how to dance country-western, I had to start all over.  I was woefully unprepared.  I foolishly accepted a teaching job before I had ever been Western dancing in my life!  Furthermore I had no teacher!  I was in deep trouble.  Fortunately, I somehow survived this gamble and several more like it by the skin of my teeth.

When the smoke cleared in 1981, I had become the best-known country-western dance teacher in the entire city complete with my own dance studio thanks to another coincidence.

At the time, I simply appreciated the position I was in.  But later in life when I took another look, I realized what an absurd development this was.  Considering all those lucky breaks, I could not help but wonder if my dance studio was something "meant to be". 

Of course I cannot prove any of this conclusively.  No one can do that. 

What I can do is tell my story and let people make up their own mind.  So let us begin.

Rick Archer, 1981
Western dancing at
The Winchester Club

 


CHAPTER ONE: PARENTS

In this chapter, we learn about my father's unexpected disappearance and my acceptance into St. John's School, the single most important break of my life.


Rick Archer's Note:  I hope to publish this book at some point.  However, right now I feel like it is more important to tell the story than seek financial reward.

If you like my story, you can help me in several ways. 

For starters, you can forward the link to a friend.  http://www.ssqq.com/stories/actofkindness00.htm

I invite you to offer any advice or encouragement you wish.  If you have an idea how to make this book better, I am always open to suggestions.  If you have a question, by all means, please ask.  You can contact me at:  rick@ssqq.com  

And... if you know a publisher, feel free to recommend they take a look.

   
   

 

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