The Girl Who Loved to Dance

Some day I might write a book called, Random Conversations with Strangers While Aimlessly Wandering Around, and it will include stories like this:

Many years ago I walked into a favorite bakery in Alaska. Nobody was there, no customers or employees, so I took a few minutes to look over the cookies and donuts to decide what I wanted.

Finally a young woman came out of the back room. I knew from previous donut/cookie runs that she was born in Ohio, moved here about five years ago, was nineteen years old, and would be twenty in a few months. As she brought out a tray of something new, she said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you come in.”

I replied it was no problem, it gave me a chance to think about what I wanted. We chatted for another minute or two and then she looked around and said, “Can I be honest with you?”

I had no idea where this was going, but I looked around like she did and then said, “Sure.”

“I was dancing in the back.”


“Yes. I love dancing. Don’t you?”

“Well, since we’re being honest, I’m not a very good dancer, but yes, I’ve been known to dance a little in the kitchen when I’m cooking.”


Just then, the bell on the front door rang and we turned to see the store manager holding the door open for another customer. As they walked in the girl looked and me and asked, “Have you decided what you’d like, sir,” and then she winked at me.

“Oh, yes ma’am,” I replied, “I’d like two chocolate chip cookies, please,” going along with her formality.

I got the cookies, hopped in the car and drove north to Denali and Fairbanks, then south to Seward after that. By the time I got back to the bakery it was almost a month later. When I walked in the store manager was there, and I asked her how things were going. She said things were great, but one of her favorite employees had just quit and moved to the Lower 48, a nineteen year old girl who was always dancing.