A VERY CURIOUS TRIANGLE
Written by Rick Archer
As you all
know, every now and then I write about mystical
mumbo-jumbo. My stories are all very harmless. I have no
real way of proving anything I say, but I love to point out
things that seem out of the ordinary. You know what I am
talking about... those odd little things that happen now and
then that make us raise an eyebrow and frown a bit.
particular, I am terribly fond of coincidences. I have
spent my entire life documenting coincidences because I
think they provide the best evidence that there just might
be more to this world than meets the eye.
Yes, here I go talking about Fate
again. As many of you
know, I am writing a book titled 'Destiny'.
The theme of the book is how a series of uncanny
coincidences and lucky breaks allowed a young man with no
social skills and no dance skills to create the coolest
dance studio in history.
One of the things I point out in this book is that back when
I was building SSQQ, certain people kept showing up out of
nowhere to help me at just the right time. These people
would prove pivotal in advancing me to the next step in my
unusual dance project.
For example, I ran into Patsy Swayze... yes, Patrick's
Mom... and Glen Hunsucker... Houston's most gifted jazz
choreographer at the time... totally by accident on
different occasions. Both people went on to give me
invaluable dance training that helped me along my path. I
never sought out either person... they just came out of
Just so everyone understands, I have no special powers to
allow me to speak with any kind of insight or authority. I
am just an average guy. I am not psychic. I am not
mystic. I have no visions, no ESP, no second sight, no
X-Man style super powers. I am just a normal guy like
everyone else. So take everything I write with a grain of
That said, I can read. I read several books about a famous
psychic named Edgar Cayce who said we are all connected.
From personal experience, I also know there are some people
I have an immediate connection to. In my case, Patsy and
Glen are good examples. My wife Marla is another person I
felt immediately connected to.
What about you? Have you ever just met a person and felt as
if you knew them before? For those of you who are
open-minded about the possibility of Reincarnation, Edgar
Cayce reported that we travel in “soul groups”. These are
people who reincarnate together so they can work on whatever
life lesson is necessary.
Can I prove any of this? Absolutely not. But I can
Today I will offer a curious example of how that “soul
group” theory might be in operation.
Lester Buck has played an important role in my life on four
different occasions, possibly even more. Not once has he
asked for anything in return. Lester has floated in and out
of my life for thirty-five years. It seems like every ten
years, Lester makes a huge contribution to my life, and then
For example, in the mid-Eighties, Lester suggested using a
computer to handle my growing dance studio mailing list of
1,000 names. First Lester found a friend who built me a
computer at a very fair price. Then Lester showed me how to
use the contraption to keep track of student addresses and
print out address labels.
There were three enormous benefits to Lester's offer.
First, I suddenly had the best typewriter of my life. I
began to write stories for the studio that I would print out
and make copies for people to read at the studio. These
stories would prove invaluable when it came time to write my
book because otherwise I would not have recalled many of the
details from these long-ago events.
Second, these address labels would play a curious role in
the growth of my dance studio. It helped create the start
of a group identity wrapped around SSQQ.
Six times a year, I would print a schedule and mail it to
every student on my list. The list had grown so large that
it took hours for me to handle the operation alone. So
this gave birth to a popular tradition known as 'Labeling
Someone would offer their home for a night. Students would
volunteer their time and we would all gather together to put
out the schedule. One person would tri-fold the schedule.
Another person would stick the label on the schedule. A
third person would staple the schedule together. A fourth
person would make sure each schedule for a particular zip
code was put into the appropriate bag for bulk mail. With
twenty or thirty people working together, the project took
about an hour. No one got paid a cent, but they did it
because it was fun to see their friends and they enjoyed
playing a part in helping the studio grow.
Afterwards we would sit down for a potluck dinner. Everyone
brought food to share. The men brought potato chips and the
women brought stuff that could actually sustain life.
Then came the real fun... we would play games. Oh, how we
would play games!
We would have a knockdown, drag out game of Charades at
Rilla Ryan's house. Or we would have a brutal game of water
volleyball in Margaret Easley's backyard pool. Or we would
have a spirited Trivial Pursuits tournament at Stan Clark's
house. Or we would have a jigsaw puzzle race at Judy
Price's house. Two teams would put together the identical
puzzle and see who could finish first. Yes, cheating was
rampant... pieces would mysteriously disappear. This was a
cutthroat group indeed. Gosh, we had more fun than anyone
What ended up happening was that everyone fell in love with
each other. SSQQ became the finest marriage factory ever
developed. SSQQ ended up having a new wedding every
month. SSQQ was a very special place because everyone put
their heart into it.
This entire tradition started with Lester Buck. Thank you,
Fast-forward ten years later... 1995. Lester walked into
the studio and said he had a present for me. He handed me
"What's this, Lester?"
Lester replied, "There's this crazy cult phenomenon taking
place in New York City called the Lindy Hop. They are going
nuts over the thing. I was in town for a business meeting
and attended one of their events. Lindy Hop has already
conquered New York and now they are exporting it all over
the world. I thought you would be curious, so I brought you
The videotapes were from the 1994 Frankie Manning Birthday
Dance. Lester had connected with the NYC Swing Dance
Society while he was up there. I thought the dancing looked
cute, but quickly forgot all about it. Some visionary I am.
On the other hand, Judy Archer, my wife at the time, was
mesmerized!! She took the tapes home and sat in front of
the TV watching the dancing over and over and over again for
days on end. Speaking of reincarnation, I wondered if Judy
was a reincarnated Charleston/Lindy dancer from the Roaring
Twenties the way she was so instantly hooked. I have never
seen anyone concentrate with such single-minded
Judy learned about Frankie Manning's teaching videotapes and
sent away for them. She studied the tapes daily. Nobody in
Houston had a clue how to help her. She was the only person
in the whole city working on this project. Judy didn’t even
have anyone to practice with. I would walk in and see her
dancing in the living room with her hand in the air leading
an ethereal partner. I decided everything was too odd, so I
left her alone to follow her passion.
After four months of watching the instructional tapes, Judy
decided she was ready to teach the Lindy at SSQQ. The only
problem was that no one had ever heard of it and didn’t care
about it. After her countless hours studying the dance, she
was stunned to find that not everybody was a Reincarnated
Lindy Dancer from the 20s and 30s. Should this knowledge
have stopped her? Yes. Did it stop her? No.
To her credit, Judy talked up the dance to anyone who would
listen. She even found a guy willing to learn, Jack Benard,
and taught the Lindy to him so they could demonstrate it to
everyone. Thanks to Jack, Houston had just doubled its
number of Lindy dancers from 1 to 2.
In November 1995, Jack and Judy taught the first-ever Lindy
Hop crash course here in Houston. They were not only the
best Lindy couple in Houston, they were the only Lindy
couple in Houston! 40 brave SSQQ dancers decided to show up
for the demonstration and see what the fuss was all about.
They were impressed.
Then in February 1996, Judy started teaching a 4-week Lindy
class as a follow-up to her successful Crash Course back in
November. Among those first students were Carl and Margaux
Mann. Judy struck up a friendship with them and they joined
her first Lindy Hop Dance Team along with Jack Benard.
Two takeaways from that story:
1. Carl and Margaux were the couple who would rescue my
daughter Sam's disastrous Senior year of high school and get
her into college 15 years later. Thank you again, Carl and
2. Judy's pioneering work with the Lindy Hop established
SSQQ as the go-to place when Swing Dancing hit the country
big-time in 1997/1998. SSQQ made so much money from Swing
Dancing that first we put down a truly beautiful dance floor
to reward the students. Then we put the rest into savings
which would pay for my daughter Samantha's college
Thank you, SSQQ students. And thank you, Lester. My
daughter owes her college education to all of you.
Lester floated back out of my life, but returned in the
mid-2000s. This time Lester brought Argentine Tango to
SSQQ. I was too busy to get involved, but we had a huge
Argentine dance program here at the studio thanks to
After I sold the studio in 2010, Lester vanished from sight
again. Recently Lester resurfaced to help me with some
serious email problems. It seems like all my SSQQ
Newsletters were going to the spam boxes of most of my
recipients or were being zapped by blacklisting. I was so
discouraged, I didn't feel like writing Newsletters anymore.
Lester introduced me to his friend Mark McCreary, an
Internet newsletter and email specialist. Mark went way way
way out of his way to help me solve this knotty problem.
The consequence of Mark's help was immediate - I started
writing Newsletters again. Thank you, Mark. Thank you,
So what does all this have to do with Edgar Cayce, Lester,
Funny you should ask.
It becomes obvious that if Edgar Cayce is correct about Soul
Groups, then Lester has played a major role in the formation
and Destiny of SSQQ.
Now let me introduce another character to our story.
Three weeks ago I went to the Pavillion Dance operated by
Gary Richardson. We will get to Gary shortly. A pretty
lady named Samantha... Sam for short... crossed my path and
we danced. I was immediately struck by the coincidence that
her name was the same as my daughter. So that started the
Then Samantha said something which really caught my
"You're Rick Archer, right? Someone told me you the one who
gave all these country moves their names. They said you got
Western dancing started in Houston."
For those who read last week's Newsletter, you may recall I
mentioned this incident:
As for the Texas Polka, if you want a good laugh, you will
be amused to know that a pretty lady recently gave me credit
for bringing the Polka to Houston.
We were dancing at Gary Richardson's Pavillion party last
when she innocently said, "I hear you are the guy who
brought Polka to Houston."
I did a double-take. "I'm not sure what you are talking
"You're Rick Archer, right? Someone told me you are the one
who gave all these country moves their names. They said you
got Western dancing started in Houston."
I was definitely taken aback. "Well, gee, thank you for the
compliment. No, I didn't bring Polka to Houston, but you
might be surprised there is some truth to that statement. "
For the record, I did actually have something to with
getting Western dancing started in Houston...
The thing to understand is that Sam's comment was very
curious. Having been retired for seven years, I have
receded into the background. For that matter, my
Newsletters have dwindled to a trickle in the past year due
to writing my book and my email problems.
Therefore it really caught me off-guard to have a total
stranger knowledgeable about my career from 40 years ago.
Okay, pay attention now and follow the bouncing ball.
Sam's observation tickled me so much that I decided to write
a story about how I learned to dance the Polka and put it in
the previous Newsletter. In addition, I decided to offer a
dance class at Chapelwood based on Polka.
In other words, I interpreted Sam's unusual comment as a
signal, or an 'omen'. That is how my goofy mind
works. It was so out of the ordinary that I attached
unusual significance to it.
Apparently it was a good idea... we had nearly 50 in our
class last Monday. As 'omens' go, Sam's comment
worked out well for me.
So have I lost my mind? Maybe, but if so, I have lots of
company. There are a lot of people out there who believe
in Fate just like I do. None of us know what 'Reality' is,
but sometimes things happen that are just too weird to
believe. For example, the Patriots' Superbowl comeback.
Three days before my Chapelwood class began, out of the
blue, Lester wrote me to complain that the current SSQQ web
site could use some updating. I wrote back to say that this
was none of my business, but in the meantime I had a favor
to ask. I told Lester about my 'San Antonio Stroll'
Polka class on Monday and asked if he would volunteer his
time to be an extra guy.
Lester said sure. He liked the idea that his colleague and
friend Mark McCreary would be in the same class; they could
hang out together.
From: A. Lester Buck III
Sent: Sunday, March 5, 2017 7:06 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: helping with your Monday class
"Rick, Yes, I'd like to
come help at your Chapelwood class on Monday, if you
still need me. Do I just show up before 7pm?
So who shows
up in my Chapelwood class?
And who else
the lady who teased me into writing my Newsletter story
about the Polka. Sam showed up out of nowhere with her
friend Mark. She had never taken a class from me before.
So naturally I thanked her for coming to my class. I also
thanked her for giving me the idea to offer this class in
the first place. I also made sure to tease her about her
eye-catching rainbow hairstyle.
When I got
home that night, there was an email waiting for me. Lester
was kind enough to compliment me on running an effective
class. He also had a fascinating suggestion... now that I
have written an article about the History of Polka in
Houston, how about an article on the History of Twostep?
I am not kidding. Read for yourself.
From: A. Lester Buck III
Sent: Monday, March 6, 2017 10:31 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Texas Two-Step
Thanks for letting me hang out
in your class. I don't think I have taken a class taught by
you since the late 80s, which is kind of incredible. You
are so in your element when teaching a class, very smooth.
I was looking up the
musical notation for the rhythm of polka and two-step, and
was reading the Wikipedia page for
When did you name the studio
SSQQ? Because there is a stupid line in that article that
"This Two-Step has been
taught as early 1983."
But SSQQ was teaching the
two-step several years before that, right?
You should go edit that page
and add some documentation to fill out the historical
I'm seeing a long article
about the history of C&W dancing in Houston in your future!
Samantha inspired an article on Polka, now Lester is giving
me the perfect lead-in for a story on Twostep.
Oh, one more
thing. Guess who Lester noticed in my dance class?
At the risk
of embarrassing Lester a bit, Lester wrote:
"So who is Ms Rainbow Hair, the attractive woman in your
Polka class? I could not take my eyes off of her hair. I
am considering a similar hairstyle for next week. It's
either that or a Mohawk. I could use the attention. Which
one do you think would work better?"
now it is time to make my point. There were nearly 50
people in that room, a virtual mob. Out of that mob, two
people in particular caught my attention with their parallel
comments: Samantha mentioned Polka, Lester mentioned
Twostep. Together they had rebooted my writing career.
just who from a mob of 50 people did Lester single out?
His literary counterpart, Ms. Rainbow.
say it is a small world after all. This story has been a
perfect example. Together, Samantha, Lester, and I make an
a coincidence. It is a very small coincidence. Does it
mean anything? Are we connected in a mystical way? Who
can say? Something a lightning bolt is just a lightning
bolt. On the other hand, if a lightning bolt happens at a
curious moment, we stop and wonder if it is an omen.
simply saying that I believe there is chance that many
people in the dance community are connected in underlying
ways. Together many of us may be sharing an incarnation
together as a Soul Group. Or maybe I am wrong. Maybe we
are just meant to step on each other's toes.
can say is that in this case, operating completely separate
of each other, Samantha and Lester have given me the perfect
opening to write about the Good Old Days. Where did they
get the unusual idea to make these suggestions?