Betty the Spy
Home Up

Written by Rick Archer, 1999

Gary and Betty Richardson are two of my best friends here at the studio. Every computer at SSQQ has been made at Gary's computer store, TFW Computers.

Not only has Gary built nearly twenty computers for me, he has made over 100 computers for members of the ssqq dance community. Go read the list if you don't believe me-

TFW Computers

The following article is a true story that Gary told to me about his beautiful wife's adventure in the summer of 1999. It is a very cute story that you can't help but enjoy!   RA

Betty the Spy

Harriet the Spy was one of my daughter Sam's favorite books and movies too when she was a little girl.  Harriet the Spy is the delightful story about a young girl who peeks through windows and around corners to watch people in action, then writes down her impressions.  Let me add that Harriett is quite sneaky.  As we shall see, Betty is quite sneaky as well.  This is the story of Betty the Spy. 

Betty and Gary Richardson drove up to Denton, Texas, over the May 15th Weekend, 1999, to celebrate the graduation of their son Chris from North Texas State.  Along with daughter Cindy and son Mike, Gary and Betty were about to achieve their life-long dream of putting their three children through college.  What a proud moment this must have been for Betty and Gary!

On the way Betty surprised Gary by asking him to take a little detour over to Fort Worth.  Gary replied by saying a 32-mile detour in one direction adds up to 64 miles round trip, so this was not exactly 'a little detour'

"What's up, Betty?  What is this all about?"

Betty replied that she was very curious about her father.   Betty doesn't see her father much to begin with, maybe once at Christmas and perhaps a second time per year if she's lucky.  Recently Betty had spoken to her father on the phone.  During their talk, Betty discovered her father Bill liked to go Ballroom dancing every Friday night at the Stardust Ballroom.  Apparently this has been her father's hangout for 16 years.  Betty was shocked.  She did not even know her father knew how to dance.

As a word of note, Gary and Betty had taken up dancing themselves in 1998.  Like many self-employed people, Gary was a workaholic who had trouble ripping himself away from his computer store in the Memorial City Mall.  However, since taking up lessons, Gary had fallen in love with dancing.  He noticed his health had improved while his stress level had diminished, a pleasant development he attributed to his new-found love of dancing. 

While Betty was not quite a rabid as her husband, she enjoyed dancing as well, especially Western.  Noting that she had a Friday evening to kill before tomorrow's graduation ceremonies, Betty whispered to Gary that she has a secret desire to watch her father in action on the dance floor.

"Does your father know you are coming?"

"Absolutely not.  That would take all the fun out of it.  He doesn't even know I'm in town."

"What if he sees you and has a heart attack?"

"Don't worry about my father.  He's plenty tough.  I want to see what Dad is really like in an unguarded moment.  I was just thinking the other day that I don't know him as anyone other than my father."

"What if he isn't even there, Betty?  You told me he has been nursing a hurt foot.  Is he even able to dance?"

"I asked him that question.  Dad said on the phone he hasn't been dancing for nearly a month, but he has really missed it.  Dad said he thought maybe he might try dancing again this week.

"Well, Betty, Fort Worth is a long way from Denton for just a 'maybe'.  Are you sure about this?"

"I don't mind taking a chance.  What else do we have to do?"

Gary had all sorts of better answers for that, but wisely kept them to himself.  Instead, he resorted to the lamest excuse he could think of.

"I don't know how to Ballroom dance and I don't like the music either."

"I don't go to see you dance, Gary.  I see you dance all the time."

"Yeah, but I will have to wear a coat and tie."

"That won't be a problem.  I packed them for the graduation ceremony."

"That's not what I meant.  It will be uncomfortable for me to sit there all night wearing a coat and tie."

"So go sit in the waiting room and take it off.  I won't mind."

"Yeah, but then I have put a tie back on to dance."

"I don't mind.  I'll help you tie it."

Gary was starting to figure out that whatever his excuse would be, Betty wouldn't mind.  She wanted to do this.  Gary groaned.  Happy wife, happy life.  And with that, the tune to George Strait's "Does Fort Worth ever cross your mind" began to play on the jukebox in his mind. 

Fast-forward to Fort Worth on Friday night.  As Betty got ready in their hotel room, she was very glamorous in her beautiful black sequined evening dress cut high.  Betty always gets compliments on her lovely legs.  For good measure, she put her hair way up the air.  Plus she was four inches taller.  Adding high heels, now she was six inches taller.  Betty was ready to dance.

Gary put on his tie and grumbled a little, but seeing the determined look in Betty's eye decided not to say anything.  

Was Fort Worth Calling? Yes, it was.

Betty and Gary arrived at 8:30 pm.  The Stardust Ballroom featured a large dance floor, an orchestra and plenty of round tables for seating.  Betty poked her nose around the corner and was disappointed not to see her father. 

Seeing how discouraged she was, Gary said it was early, relax.  So they found an inconspicuous corner spot at the Stardust and began to watch for Betty's father Bill.  Gary noticed the crowd was in its seventies and eighties and started to feel like a teenager again.  

And suddenly, there he was.  Promptly at 9 pm Bill strode in wearing a sporty light blue blazer.  Noting the whole room seemed to lighten a bit, Gary wondered to himself if the coat could glow in the dark.  It was so bright it could act as a lighthouse.  Obviously Bill wanted to be noticed. 

As Gary and Betty watched on in fascination, Bill wasted no time.  He was quite popular, dancing every dance from the moment he arrived.  Betty giggled with delight.

Once Bill looked over to the corner where Betty the Spy sat, but she quickly covered her face by looking down.  Gary was not used to this side of his wife.  He wondered if perhaps Betty was sneakier than he realized.

Thirty minutes passed.  At 9:30, a 'John Paul Jones' was announced.  A John Paul Jones is a mixer that allows everyone to dance with everyone without the hassle of asking.  The idea is for everyone to get out on the floor, then change partners whenever the whistle gets blown.  Gary was expecting people to line up in circles like we did at SSQQ, but to his surprise it was less formal here.  When the whistle, everyone just grabbed the nearest person and continued. 

Gary had an idea.  Seeing everyone trade partners, this was Betty's perfect opportunity.  Just stand near her father and keep moving closer.  Gary gave Betty a nudge.

"C'mon, Betty, let's get out there.  This is your chance to make her move."

"No, not yet, Gary, I want to study my father in action some more."

Gary was tired of sitting, so he nudged her again.

"Betty, there may not be a better chance for some time."

Betty looked at him and nodded.  "Yeah, I guess you're right.  Okay."

This made sense, so Gary and Betty hit the floor.  Gary was a little nervous because he didn't have a clue how to Foxtrot.  Furthermore he was worried that Bill might recognize him so he located himself far enough to hide but close enough to watch.  Okay. Just how far away was that?  Gary figured about twenty feet.

After four whistles, Betty adroitly stepped inside the path of another woman to suddenly end up in her father's arms.

A big smile crossed Bill's face.  His first remark was, "Oh, a young one!  Aren't I the lucky one!!"  

Gary stepped off the floor to better see Bill's reaction.  At first Bill was clearly pleased to have such a young and pretty lady to dance with.  But after ten seconds had passed, Bill's expression changed to a frown.  Bill began to look at Betty intently.  Bill said, "You know, young lady, you sure look a lot like my daughter."

"Oh really?" replied Betty, smiling at him.  With her hair up, she had changed her normal appearance quite a bit. As they continued to dance the Foxtrot, Bill did not take his eye off Betty for a moment.

Then Bill said, "You really do look a lot like my daughter.  I have two of them, but you look a whole lot like one of them."

"Oh, really?  What's her name?"


"Oh, really?" Another smile from Betty. "Is she pretty?"

"Why, yes, actually she is very pretty."  They danced for a minute more.  The whistle blew, but Bill ignored the whistle to change partners.  He was curious about this lady in his arms.  Betty said nothing.  She just continued to dance and smile absent-mindedly.  Sometimes she looked at her father, sometimes she watched the other people.  She didn't want to make this easy for her obviously flustered father.

Finally Bill couldn't take it anymore.  He asked, "By some chance, are you are Betty?"

"Why, yes I am!" Betty announced with a grin.  

At that exact moment, the whistle blew again. This time Betty deliberately separated to dance with a new partner, leaving her father standing there flabbergasted.  Before Bill could react, some woman grabbed Bill to get him moving again.  Out of the corner of her eye, Betty watched her father crane his neck to get another look at her.  Bill was in a trance.

Bill was still in shock even when the final song of the John Paul Jones medley ended.  In a daze, instead of seeking out Betty, he walked back to his table.

Gary and Betty followed him waiting to be greeted.  To their surprise, Bill's social graces were temporarily lost.  He just sat there speechless.  He appeared to be stunned.  Gary decided the lion wasn't used to being followed to his lair. Finally another gentleman sensed Bill's shock and decided to help by grabbing two extra chairs and inviting them to sit down.  At this point, Betty and Gary joined Bill at the table.

Not much conversation ensued.  Bill was quiet as he stared randomly at the dancing.  It was actually kind of awkward.  Fortunately the music resumed, so Gary relieved the tension by asking Betty to dance.

It took 30 minutes after the initial encounter for Bill to finally snap out of his shock and begin to show his natural warmth again.  As if coming out of a coma, Bill started to smile.  He introduced Betty and Gary to everyone in the building.

Everybody at the table thought Betty's trick was precious.  They loved meeting her.  Since there were several more women than men, Gary was immediately put to work keeping the extra ladies busy.  And since Betty was the prettiest girl at the party, for the rest of the three hour party, she got asked to dance nearly every song.  Bette was no longer the spy, she was the belle of the Cowtown ball.

Gary was worried about not knowing how to Ballroom Dance. The Orchestra played a lot of Big Band music.  Unfamiliar with Swing dancing, Gary was relieved he could Twostep to the music instead.  Gary had no idea why his Twostep was so successful, but I later explained to him that the Twostep originated from Foxtrot.  It was a lucky break. 

Greatly relieved to discover his Twostep could pass as a Foxtrot, Gary got his dance confidence back.  Uh oh, watch out, ladies!   Sure enough, Gary enjoyed an instant popularity... a young man who can dance is a babe magnet for sure.

One 80-year old lady about 5 feet tall in a red dress hauled him out on the floor and called him 'Sonny'.  "Okay, Sonny boy, let's see what you can do!" 

This lady couldn't get enough of Gary!  Later on, there was a second John-Paul-Jones.  Just as Gary approached a woman, the red dress lady came out of nowhere to elbow the other woman out of the way.

Poor Gary.  Gary complained that the women fought over him so much they tired him out. I tried to feel sorry for him until he mentioned he had led a Twostep move called, 'the Big Bad Wolf Step'.  Well, to these women, that is like throwing a match on dry timber in the forest.  Young girls might be irritated by an older guy pulling a slick move, but the older girls didn't mind a bit.  Gary never sat down again.  He danced the night away! 

Gary was not an expert Swing dancer, but he found out what he could remember worked just fine.  And his Country Waltz worked just fine to a Ballroom Waltz, another major discovery.  Gary's only insurmountable obstacle was Tango and Rumba.  Gary had the sense to avoid the Tango, but made the mistake of trying the Rumba after one lady begged him to try.  She even tried to teach him how to move his hips. Gary discovered his hips didn't move quite the right way, so as a public service he sat back down.

Then came a Polka!  Not George Straight, but a Lawrence Welk Oom-Pah Polka.  No matter.  But Betty and Gary didn't dance the Polka.  Instead they decided to try the Whip instead since the speed of the music was about right.  Some people say the Whip got its name when someone once said, "Wow, look at that woman whip those hips!" 

Betty's hips clearly worked better than Gary's.   And they worked just fine in front of Daddy no less!   Gary was worried when he saw the startled look on Bill's face.  Bill's eyes rolled out to the edge of his nose... 'Is this really my little girl?'   For a second,  Gary wondered if he should stop, then relaxed when he remembered he probably outrun her father if necessary.

Meanwhile, everybody was watching and they started to clap!   That eased the tension and fortunately Bill took it the right way.  After Betty got off the floor, Bill said, "I have never seen anything like that in my life.  You are a great dancer, young lady!"  

Betty grinned from ear to ear at her father's compliment.  It was fun to be Daddy's little girl again.  Betty the Spy had way too much fun that evening.


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