Summer Nights

January 22, 2008
By Jordan Byers, Amarillo, TX

I know what its like to be brought into a new place where I’m different than everyone else.

I can remember when I had to leave behind all my friends, and all of my plans to go stay a month in Southern Arkansas. I was there with my family but they were still so much different than I was. The way they dressed, the way they lived, and especially the way they spoke were just different than us here in the Texas Panhandle.
When I arrived the first thing that I noticed was their town population. The sign outside of town read1539 that was all, I had more people than that in my high school. I wondered what I had got myself into. Of course I had my aunt and uncle and my three favorite cousins, but that was all I knew. Here I am 16 years old and stuck in another state in a town with nothing but a post office, one clothing store that sold old fashion clothes like blue jean pants sets, and wranglers, and a convenience store that closed at 9pm. I thought that I was for sure going to die. There was no mall no fast food restaurants, no dine in restaurants, no movie theaters, not even a Wal-Mart I was stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing to remind me of modern civilization.
After a day at the house to get myself acclimated. I went out with my cousins to hang out with their friends. When I asked what there was to do they simply told me. Nothing. Just walk around. At first I thought they were pulling my leg, but after meeting their friends and talking for a while that’s exactly what we did. Just walk around town all day. If we were back at home in Amarillo that would be a crazy idea, but their entire town was just the size of my neighborhood.
After my tour of “Hick Town USA,” we stopped back at my cousin’s house. Where we listened to music and they taught me the latest dances. When I asked why they did this they said it was a surprise. They thought it would be best if I knew how to move the “Arkansas” way. Their style of dancing was a lot faster and more systematic than ours in Texas. Later on that night my cousins and I got into my uncle’s car and drove into the next town, which was 20 miles away. I’d never seen so many trees and animals before.
They lived in a richly wooded area so all the little forest animals were out at night and if you looked hard enough you could see little squirrels, deer, possums, rabbits, and even raccoons. Being from Amarillo the wildest thing I’d ever seen was zoo animals and the occasional skunk for road kill.
When we finally reached the town after what seemed like an eternity, we stopped at a McDonalds and waited in the parking lot. I had mixed thoughts. On one hand I was happy to see some sign of civilization. On the other hand, this is what we drove all the way here for? The restaurant was located next to a strip mall that was closed for remodeling. After I checked out the scene I asked, “Why are we here? And why are we just sitting in the car.?”
“We’re a little early but you’ll see in a little while” they said. I thought this had to be the stupidest thing ever. We drove 20 miles to sit in a car in the parking lot of an empty mall next to McDonalds I couldn’t believe this one. But, a few seconds later I heard a sound that was familiar from home. I could hear and start to feel the pounding bass of car stereos that I hear at home all the time in my car and around my neighborhood.
I started to see the cars that the sound was coming from and I was just about in shock. There was so much chrome and high glossy paint that I thought I was stuck in the middle of a rap video. I must have counted what seemed like twenty cars flowing down the street in parade formation. And for some strange reason they all circled around my uncle’s Explorer, I though to myself, “I hope they know us or are we about to get robbed?”
When I saw my oldest cousin get out of the truck I followed along as did my other two cousins. By this time everyone was out of their cars and all gathered around talking and laughing. I saw my cousins talking to all of the drivers of the other cars and they introduced me. They told me that I would have to remember all the moves they taught me, because tonight, I would need them. What I didn’t know was that my cousins were the street dance champs and that’s was what about to go down. I was at my first real street dance off.
There were 16 crews and 4 dancers per crew. It was like a playoff set up to me. It went from 16 to 8 to 4 to 2 and only one would leave the champions. The reason I saw so many cars was because they were teenagers from all over that watched and judged the contests. If you had one person slip or get too far off during a routine you were out. Or if the crowd didn’t like what you were doing they would stop the music and you would be out. The grand prize was $320 because each person had to put in 5 dollars to compete. For the first round we danced to “Exciting” by Lil Boosie. For the second round we danced to “Jigga Juice by Young Leek. For the third round we danced to “Get Buck” by Young Buck. And for the final round we danced to “Go hard or go home” by E-40 and the Federation. I got to star in that one because I knew all of it from back home and I brought the CD with me. Nobody down there had heard it before so we won the crowd with originality and song choice.
After dancing the night away they left once again as champions. And I won my first ever dance off. I had so much fun that night when I thought there would be no way I would enjoy my summer. It turned out to be the most fun thing I had ever done my entire life. And I can’t wait to go back down there again I hear there are even people already asking “where is that Texas kid?”

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