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Rhumba Girl was my aspiration

By Staff
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Staff Writer
My very first career aspirations were to be either a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, Daisy Duke, one of those blonde girls who popped up out of the cornfield each Saturday night on "Hee Haw," or a "Rhumba Girl."
The year was 1980 and I was four-years-old. I wasn't sure what a Rhumba Girl was, but I loved to hear Nicolette Larson sing about being one.
Larson was pictured on her 1978 album cover "Nicolette" wearing a pale dress that flowed all around her and high-heeled sandals. She was smiling–glowing actually– while striking a pose in the middle of a beautiful grand ballroom.
I decided that this must be what a Rhumba Girl does–sings, smiles, wears pretty dresses and goes to fancy places to have her picture made. I was sold.
I already owned a pretty sundress that looked a lot like Larson's, I loved to smile and have my picture taken, and I knew all the words to "Rhumba Girl," "The Gambler," by Kenny Rogers and "Do That to Me One More Time" by The Captain &Tenille. Obviously, I was already highly qualified for the position.
Being a Rhumba Girl would be much better than being a cheerleader, I reasoned, because I wouldn't have to practice all that jumping, cheering and chanting in prefect sequence with other girls. Besides, I was already having a pretty hard time being graceful and doing things in sequence at ballet class.
Daisy Duke was always getting kidnapped and I was pretty sure that my parents wouldn't let me wear my shorts that short, so I scratched her off the list too.
A career as a "Hee Haw" girl was tempting, especially since they didn't do much else but smile, but I didn't want to take any chances of having to tell a joke and getting smacked on the backside by that flying fence slat.
And so I settled on being a Rhumba Girl when I grew up…until I turned five and went to kindergarten, that is. Judy Rombokas, my teacher, was the nicest and smartest person I had ever met, so I decided I wanted to be a teacher.
I changed my mind several times through the years from teacher to county commissioner, marine biologist, retail field representative, underwater photographer, non-profit event planner, and writer.
All my past aspirations came to mind as we here at the Hartselle Enquirer interviewed some of the most amazing young people in Hartselle and Morgan County for Progress 2006.
My favorite assignments featured Hartselle's kindergartners and seniors, all of whom were asked what they want to be when they grow up. I loved the kindergartners who responded with princess, cowboy, butterfly catcher and Dillard's employee. My favorite senior responses included elevator mechanic, musician, astronomer, and tattoo/piercing artist.
Whatever the future holds for each and every one of these students, I know they will succeed and prosper.
All this youthful optimism may even prompt me to reconsider my career as a Rhumba Girl, although I may have to invest in a new sundress.