An Uninvited Guest

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This took place at an El Camino Reelers dance August 5, 2006, which was being called by Howard Richman:

El Camino Reelers (ECR) had a regular quarterly dance called "Star Across Summer" at our club location, St. Andrews Methodist Church in Palo Alto, CA. We've danced at St. Andrews for many years, and love its high, arched ceiling with exposed beamwork.

It was well attended and everyone enjoyed it. Howard Richman flew in from New York to call, and he did a great job. This was just before we started a new class, so it included a potluck dinner and an introduction to square dancing for newcomers and curiosity seekers.

It had been a normal evening dance, up to the point when Howard stopped in the middle of a tip and exclaimed loudly, "Look at that!"

Howard said, "Everyone just looked at me and I pointed to the back of the room."

There was a large, black rat running along a beam on the back wall which then jumped onto the sidewall beam and ran along it for quite a distance before disappearing into its rat hole. Even though it was moving fast it was visible, out in the open for quite a few seconds, giving everyone an opportunity to see it.

Everyone was kind of surprised and creeped-out. Howard later said "I was speechless for a moment...I mean I've never seen anything like that before...even in New York City!"

We told Howard we ordered it just for him.[1]


  1. Email from Kim Harris, 20 Jul 2010