The Yancey Dance

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Some folks just know how to cut a rug. Tales From Dirt Mountain, Part 10.

Neither me nor Earl had heard of a meme before two years ago, when a not so flattering photograph of golfer Jason Dufner turned him into an internet sensation and invented the sport of Dufnering.  “To slouch against a wall as if confused and exhausted.”

It worked for Jason, he won the PGA Championship that August.  One of the biggest tournaments in the sport.  Four PGA executives, three in suits, one in a fancy dress, posed for a Dufnering photograph on the lawn beside the clubhouse.

When you drink beer and watch golf on TV with Earl Saunders, it is inevitable that unsound things will be discussed.  Which is why I was so surprised when Earl came up with a good idea.  He said, “We should put the Yancey Dance video on YouTube.  If people think a guy sitting funny is worth looking at, they will love Yancey.”

Earl is the owner and operator of Dirkin Mountain Golf Course.  I’ve never heard anyone refer to it by that name.  Except for the rusty sign in the parking lot, there is little to dispute the validity of the nickname Dirt Mountain.

Yancey Simmons was the long time mechanic at Dirt Mountain.  He lived in a room in the back of the mechanical shed and ate his meals with Earl and his parents.  Yancey is no longer with us.  Earl kept the room exactly as Yancey left it.  He calls it the Yancey Museum. 

And of course, we start up Yancey’s sky blue 1968 Ford Mustang once a month.  We take it for a drive through the course, down the cart paths, just before dark, when the course is finally empty for the day.  Then give it a good wash and wax, whether it needs it or not.  That is what Yancey would do.

I won’t repeat the word Earl and I used to refer to Yancey when we were insensitive youths and not yet schooled in political correctness.  We learned later that Yancey was an idiot savant.  He couldn’t make change for a one dollar bill.  He spoke with a pronounced slur.  But he could fix anything that was broken. 

And he knew every car, truck, and old appliance across the creek at Filer’s Salvage and Towing.  Whether it was a tractor, refrigerator, or the kitchen sink that was broken, Yancey knew how to fix it.  And he knew where the parts were, at salvage prices.  Jonah Filer had, on occasion, called the golf course to ask if there was a certain part somewhere on his salvage yard.  He had learned that Yancey knew his lot better than he did.

Yancey was the happiest person I’ve ever met.  If he had a wrench in his hand, he had a smile on his face.  If he didn’t have a wrench in his hand, he was probably still smiling.  But nothing made Yancey happier than his car.

The name on the Mustang’s title was George Saunders. Earl’s father.  But when Yancey was washing and waxing it, no one would doubt who that vehicle belonged to.

He even had a song and a dance he would break into when he was putting the final touches on a wax job.  Apparently, idiot savants are also capable of ballet and poetry.  Sort of.

No way I can adequately describe the Yancey Dance.  You’ll just have to google it and see for yourself.  It was Yancey’s attempt to move as gracefully as the dancers he watched on TV with Dorothy Saunders.  Yancey Simmons is the Prince of The Nutcracker Suite.  Sort of.

Yancey’s poetry won’t get published in the New Yorker, but when you combine the words, the dance, and his natural innocence, you’d have to be close to dead to not get a little choked up watching it.  The Yancey Dance is a true example of performance art.

And anyone who is passionate about Ford Mustangs will be down with the poem:


I love my Ford Mustang

It makes me happy

I love my Ford Mustang

It is the color blue

It is my car not yours

But I’ll give you a ride


Okay, maybe Yancey wasn’t very good at rhyming.But in the video, he sings the song three times, and each time, his dance steps are repeated three times.  In sync with the singing.  He’s no Michael Jackson, but obviously, being an amateur choreographer isn’t that hard.  It is a damn funny and heartwarming video.

The Yancey Dance is up to 6 million views on YouTube.  Not in a league with Grumpy Cat or the Harlem Shake, but not bad.  People in the pro shop are asking Earl why they can’t buy a Yancey Simmons coffee mug.  We are starting to get ideas.  Stocking stuffers for Christmas, anyone?

Submitted: July 10, 2015

© Copyright 2021 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Criss Sole

Oh I would have loved Yancey. Just imagining him singing and dancing got me laughing. It's heartwarming to know he was always happy.

Sat, July 11th, 2015 6:48pm


Glad you liked it.

Sat, July 11th, 2015 11:50am

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