Kickin' Valentine's was a time honored tradition in the 80's. Ever heard of it? You know when you left a Valentine on a friend or neighbor's door and then rang the doorbell and ran off before they could catch you? Valentine's Day was the holiday that got us through the winter. We made Valentine's, we exchanged Valentine's, and we immersed ourselves in the stories of St. Valentine's. Chocolates, doilies and red roses... what a holiday. Or you could look a little closer and discover Valentine Tales close to home
Today the Brown Derby in Parowan, Utah still stands. The love story of my grandparents, Ora and Lucile is just one of many romances whose seeds were planted while music played in this old time dance hall. Standing outside the Brown Derby, one hears music echo and stories told. This small town boasts a history dating back to the mid part of the 19th century. "Suddenly the year is 1938, and Lucile, is at the Brown Derby in Parowan. She smiles as the lyrics to "Begin the Beguine” (Artie Shaw’s #1- 18 week U.S. Billboard chart topper) echo in her heart. It is there she explains that she met Ora, her sweetheart. "You know that was quite a place in its day. There was dance there every Saturday night." Lucile reminisces about the winter of 1939.
The Brown Derby was alive with music. The dance hall was the gathering place for young people from Milford, Beaver, Cedar, and Paragonah, but others found their way to the Brown Derby as well. Lucile chuckles as she recounts the winter night she met Ora. Ora Hofheins, was older and, by his account, quite a lady's man. As he and his buddies stood at the doorway, he proudly stated that he could get any girl in the place to let him see her home. He was promptly taken up on the bet; they challenged him that he couldn't take Lucille Evans home. After sharing several dances together, she agreed to let Ora see her home. After all, several of his friends had danced by and called him "bishop." With a nickname like that, how could she go wrong? It was only later that she discovered that they affectionately called him the "Bishop of Devil's creek. However, the dance ended and Lucile was nowhere to be found. It seems she found out that Ora had already seen many other girls home that same evening. Ora loved a challenge, and he was undeterred. It was at the Brown Derby at the weekend dances that he courted Lucile. The couple was married September 20, 1939.
*** Whenever the road takes me "home" to Parowan, my vehicle always seems to find its way to the Brown Derby. It is there I like to imagine my grandparents, Ora and Lucile. I listen closely and I hear the music and if I close my eyes tightly, I can see them "cutting a rug."