Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Farewell, Patrick Swayze. You've given us the time of our lives, and we'll never forget you. - Miss War

The Four Horsewomen are heartbroken, Readers. And I know we are not alone.

Singing, dancing, and acting icon, Patrick Swayze, lost his hard-fought battle with pancreatic cancer yesterday afternoon.   He was 57. 

I feel as though a bright, shining light of my childhood has gone out (and not for the first time this year). Years ago, when we were younger, before we became the Horsewomen you know and love today, we were but mere horseteenagers, nay, horsegirls, giggling about girlish things during our weekly Friday night slumber parties.

Little Death insisted that we play fashion show (even though NONE of us could fit into her tiny little fashionista frocks). Little Famine always wanted to make chocolate chip cookies, even though they ALWAYS burned (she hadn’t yet learned how to control the fire and brimstone under the cauldron). And Little Conquest was constantly sneaking a ciggy or two and then out she went, through the window to meet up with a fellow (or two…).

But me…all I wanted were the movies. THE slumber party movies. The ones that made us swoon, made us dance, made us laugh and cry. You know the ones… Top Gun, 16 Candles, Breakfast Club… Ferris Bueller… I could watch them forever.

But there was one man who was a constant in these slumber party movies. And he was THE perfect man. Charming. Dashing. Dark and mysterious, but with a quick smile. Debonair and rough around the edges all at the same time. And the man could sing and dance like he was sent from above.

Patrick Swayze fueled our summer camp dreams in Dirty Dancing. He taught us that you don’t put your heel down, you stay in your own dance space and hold the frame, and one of the most important lessons of my young life – Nobody puts Baby in a corner. EVER. Don’t even think about it.

But Swayze wasn’t just a pair of perfectly swiveling hips – he was the ULTIMATE romantic hero. In Ghost he defied DEATH (and she does NOT like to be defied) to get back to his beloved Demi Moore. Phew. It does not get more romantic than that. Every time those first Unchained Melody notes would float through the speakers, my heart fluttered with a thousand moths. ‘Maybe I should take a pottery class,’ I thought. I would surely find my soul mate there. And we would mold clay happily forever after.

Mr. Swayze, you molded my girlhood like you molded that clay. You brought these characters to life and showed us that chivalry was very much alive. And while we’ve watched you struggle with this horrible disease for the last 20 months, we Horsewoman would rather remember you as the agile, graceful legend that you were –

So here’s to you, Patrick Swayze. And you, Johnny Castle. And to you, Sam Wheat. May you rest in peace and live on forever in our hearts.

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