SOCIAL PHENOMENON HAS LOCAL ROOTS

 

Not long is the list of Texarkana’s significant cultural contributions.  Scott Joplin’s ragtime music, Charles B. Pierce’s B Movies, the renovation of the Saenger Theater giving birth to the Perot Theater have, until now, represented the total impact of T-Town upon modern culture.  Taking its place as the fourth and most current of such phenomena is the new dance rage, “The Kerm.”

 

The Waltz, Foxtrot, Two-Step, Jitterbug, and Bop all have names, but the originators of these classic dances remain nameless.  It is same for The Kerm, save for a small circle of insiders who are privileged to know not only the dance, but the originator as well.  He is a man of many noms de plume, first Jabber, then The Jab, and later Kermit, or Kerm for short.  The wearer of these mantels is our own son, Jim Cunningham, the man who fashioned the whimsical dance step that bears his proud name.

 

Cunningham, pictured here in a 1992 session at Club Ned demonstrates an early phase of The Kerm, although at that time, the dance was unnamed, and its historical significance unanticipated.

 

It was ten years later that the little man dressed in green crouched over a golf shot from the 7th fairway at Texarkana Country Club.   Observing, Jay Brewer, Assistant Golf Pro at the club, remarked, "He looks like a damned frog!"  That nailed the moniker of Kermit on our pal, the Jab.

 

Of course, his moves on the dance floor have long been the envy of many terpsichoreans, with the deft pointing of fingers mixed with his syncopated high stepping.  His style of dance has since been tagged by local aficionados as "The Kerm."

 

Well, a quantum leap has overstepped our quiet little society here in T-Town.  It is The Kerm who has unwittingly bounded from our faceless midst to exert a social influence unmatched by any event since the introduction of the Hula Hoop.

 

More specifically, The Kerm (the dance) has become, quite suddenly and without warning, the rage!

 

Oma Alford, his wife and others took a cruise a couple of months ago that went to St. Marten, St. Thomas, and Cancun.  In all those ports of call, Oma, being light of spirit, performed The Kerm on the dance floors throughout the Caribbean and Eastern Mexico.

 

Last week, the Alfords returned  to Cancun.  I don't know the name of the joint, but Senor Frog's would be a good guess, and everybody was doing The Kerm.  While Mrs. Alford was in the powder room, a couple of young babes were practicing the move in the mirror and talking about getting "The Kerm" right, before they returned to the dance floor.

 

It appears that our local culture has suddenly spread exponentially throughout the Western Hemisphere, while the roots of it all remain hidden in our little realm.  No origin of influence has ever been more obscure, but we know that we have been witnesses to history, and few can share that honor.

 

Related story:  Kermit Events circa 2002