A few years ago, when we were in Idaho for Christmas break, the Nielson family all decided to go bowling. The evening was going along quite normally—with Ryan throwing strikes, me throwing gutter-balls, and everyone else putting in a decent performance—when Ryan’s older brother, Derek, got up to take his turn.
We all watched him ready himself for his next bowl. With his back to us, he raised his ball up to his chin and stared at the pins down the lane, seemingly very focused and serious. But then suddenly, we noticed a subtle movement in his feet. He was lightly stepping from one foot to the other to the beat of the Latin music in the background of the bowling alley.
As we watched in amusement, his dance moves became increasingly pronounced. He continued to hold his bowler’s pose, crouched with his ball up at his chin, ready to throw it down the lane at any moment, but he started prancing from foot to foot, shaking his booty dramatically to the incessant beeping of the song. (Seriously, it's the most annoying song in history. Take a listen, and you will agree.)
By this time, Ashley’s husband Nate couldn’t help but join in the fun, and he got up beside Derek and started doing Russian high-kicks. Sensing the building energy, Derek threw his ball down the lane, got a strike, and turned around pumping his fists and doing a victory dance.
Everyone in the bowling alley was watching and laughing, and some kids went back to the jukebox and paid for the same irritating song to play over and over. Apparently they wanted to watch Derek do his dance all night long.
He gladly obliged.
By the end of the evening, the entire Nielson family was dancing and singing loudly to the chorus, “Un, dos, tres, cuatro!!” When we were about to leave the bowling alley, the same kids put the song on the jukebox one final time, and we did a family congo line up the ramp and out the door.
This is one of my favorite memories with the Nielsons, and, as usual, all of the fun started with Derek.
“D,” as he is often called by his brothers, is the comedian of the Nielson family. You wouldn’t necessarily know it when you first meet him, because he is calm, intelligent, and a little reserved, but get him around his family and closest friends, and he turns into a total goofball:
In addition to being the life of the party, Derek has a serious side that I love too. He knows something about nearly every topic because reading non-fiction books and current events is one of his hobbies. He is very smart and well-informed, and I look up to him and really value his opinions on life and the world.
Happy birthday to a great brother-in-law who makes everything fun and exciting. We love you, D!