Many of my favorite stories involve a "princess" being rescued by a handsome "prince." It may be an old fairytale like Sleeping Beauty or a modern remake like the movie Enchanted, or perhaps a classical literary piece like Sense and Sensibility. Every little girl dreams of the day when her prince in shining armor will come and take her away to be party of a bigger story as she plays dress-up with silky scarves and lace. Every little boy practices being a fighting warrior by whacking at trees with sticks and throwing rocks at tin cans.
Our Civil War Balls give children, youths and adults a chance to be the Prince or Princess for the evening. Our music pastor attended our last ball, and as the father of three daughters, one of whom was married this summer, he said that the thing that touched his heart about the dances the most was watching the fathers dance with their daughters. These young girls look to their daddy to know if they are pretty and worthwhile. When a father turns and spins his satin-dressed daughter, he says that she is.
When the prince in Sleeping beauty rescues the princess, he must first defeat the fire-breathing dragon. For some young men who attend the balls, asking a young lady to dance is even scarier than fighting a dragon. But the young prince's valor increases as he overcomes and conquers this fear. (Okay, this is a little over dramatic, but I still think that the essence is there.)
At our balls, it is the gentleman's responsibility to ask a girl to dance and invite her to be party of the story. It has been asked by several of the young men (and never the ladies!) if we could have some of the dances be "ladies' choice." But as it would take away from the story of sleeping beauty if the princess jumped out of the tower with a hatchet and took care of the dragon herself while the prince was off drinking lemonade with his pals, in the same way it would decrease the honor and beauty - the essential story line - of the Ball.
Be party of a story with grace and beauty, valor and courage - Attend a Grand Ball!