Start Me Up! was what started it--Monica Litzkus from up the street got tight that afternoon so she put on Tattoo You cranked to the Max & anybody coming over to complain got handed a beer & invited to dance with Monica & Jason on the porch which situation inspired Bill & Sally Young to pull these old sawhorses out of their garage to block both ends of the street & the McIntosh girls crayoned up some signage BLOCK PARTY KEEP OUT UNLESS YOU’RE A DANCER which kept out nobody whatsoever it was the first spring afternoon warm enough to wear shorts & a T-shirt & Maria & Mary broke out some Prosecco & Steve Offenharz said he wanted to hear the Alabama Shakes & Fred D Hilton yelled HELL YES! & there was a breeze & somebody set up a grill & said he’d cook anything but tofu & Patty Corcoran made a salad big enough to feed all of Argentina & Leonardo’s sent in half a dozen pizzas & then the Shaws said they’d show people how to do the Lindy Hop if we could put Duke Ellington on Monica’s stereo & right here on South Flint Street we flipped back to the nineteen-twenties with the Shaws and the Steptos in their sixties stepping out like teenagers & the other dancers picked up the moves & even the spirit of the country back when we believed hope was reasonable things were getting better every day but then just to remind us which century we were living in Robert Perkins asked Ama Codjoe if she was a citizen & everyone got quiet somebody shut down the music & Ama walked away from him but of course he followed her & heckled & so we yelled at him but people took his side & so when Alberto Ruiz blew his referee’s whistle & everybody shut up & he yelled I INVITE YOU ALL TO GO HOME NOW BECAUSE OUR PARTY IS OVER we all did exactly what he said found our dishes and our kids headed home feeling ashamed but not knowing why & so kept quiet & entered our silent houses & locked the doors & told our kids to stop asking us how come the party ended when we were having a great time and so then we yelled HOW SHOULD WE KNOW ASK YOUR TEACHERS AT SCHOOL.
Originally from Ivanhoe, Virginia, David Huddle taught for thirty-eight years at the University of Vermont, then served three years as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Hollins University. He now teaches at the Bread Loaf School of English, the Ranier Writing Workshop, and the Sewanee School of Letters. Huddle’s writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The American Scholar, Esquire, Harper’s, The Georgia Review, and in many other publications. His novel Nothing Can Make Me Do This won the 2012 Library of Virginia Award for Fiction, and his collection Black Snake at the Family Reunion won the 2013 PEN New England Award for Poetry.