HERMAN (HEE2 Smooth) and CONNIE ( Sexy Dancer) ENGLISH
Connie and Herman loved the LORD. But there were three earthly things that Connie and Herman loved also. I want to talk about those three things. I am certain some of you can identify with some other things that they loved, but in the 10 years that I have been associated with them I can speak especially about three things that I know they loved.
The first one is so evident….
Connie and Herman loved each other. Herman was not afraid to tell people how special Connie was to him, as he quite often bragged about her. Let me tell you the kind of guy he was. I can recall how guys get together and talk about how cute or attractive some lady is. Herman’s response without fail was always, did you see Connie? Did you see my wife? And that’s mine! Connie and Herman did everything together and had been everywhere together. I even know, there were times when Connie would go away for her job. She would sometimes call me and suggest that I take Herman to the Stardust Ballroom, or wherever there was a line dance party going on, while she was away, so he would not be home alone. So, I’d call Herman and suggest it. Herman would say I’ll think about it. But without fail, Herman wasn’t going to any Stardust, because within a day or 2, he would be on a plane - destination, Connie! As a couple, Connie and Herman epitomized the idea of a union. Their love connection was infectious. As a matter of fact, in the dance community, they could be considered the blueprint for how it was supposed to be. Through dance, we traveled across the country together and met a lot of folks. The interesting thing about that is, after meeting Connie and Herman, people from all over the world that entertained the thought of marriage put them at the top of their invitation list for their weddings. Jaime Gant from Miami, Curtis Goode from Detroit and AJ the DJ from right here in Philadelphia, just to name a few, all invited Connie and Herman to their weddings. There was something about them that just stood out. There was something about them that others hoped would rub off. There was something about them called love and nothing on earth could ever intercept or interrupt that love. But what was so unique about their love is, as much of it as they had for each other, they could still find enough to share ….
That brings me to the second thing they loved
Connie and Herman loved giving of themselves
Let me ask the question, “Who here, has not been touched someway by Herman
and Connie English?” Somehow, someway, somewhere, sometime, if you are here today, I am willing to bet, they’ve somehow helped you along the way. So today, we celebrate the lives of Herman and Connie English. We celebrate because that is what I know they would want us to do. We celebrate because this is a couple, who has truly achieved greatness. We celebrate their achievement. You see, Connie and Herman were involved in a lot of activities. They used those activities as a vehicle to show the world who they were. For instance, they used IAKJP as a means to give back to the world. Some of you that know me, may have heard me say, Find a many people to serve, serve them and you shall achieve Greatness. That is absolutely what Connie and Herman has achieved, Greatness. That is absolutely what they stood for, serving others. Herman’s drive in IAKJP was our scholarship program. That was his drive and his passion. He wanted to help educate our youth. While Herman was the athletic type, whenever he came in contact with our youth, his first concern was never what sport they played. He always asked about the grades first. He’d eventually get to talking about sports, but he emphasized the reading, the writing and the math. Connie’s passion was helping any and every national health initiative possible. She kept IAKJP involved and connected to the awareness of the likes of breast cancer, Diabetes, aids, muscular dystrophy and so many others. She did, or had us in every walk, run and bike ride in the tri state area. She had IAKJP in Philadelphia with her while doing the 3 day breast cancer walk, where she spearheaded a team that raised over $25,000. She spearheaded an IAKJP Muscular Dystrophy bike ride team to raise monies also. I can remember each year around October, symmetry-n -Motion (a line dance organization in VA) would have an event in Virginia on a Saturday night. We would attend that event, but Connie and other members of the IAKJP team would go to this event and drive back home around 2am in the morning because there was a breast cancer walk/run on that following Sunday morning in Trenton or Camden NJ that without fail they would not miss.
Once again I am reminded of one of my favorite songs when I was growing up in the church, mind you. If I could help somebody as I pass along then my living shall not be in vain.
To the families of Connie and Herman, Know that their living was not in vain, and trust me when I say, they have achieved Greatness.
That brings me to the third one
Connie and Herman used dance as a means to carry out their mission of helping people. Connie and Herman loved to dance.
Let me take you back to the Beginners Ball? (IAKJP line dance party for those of you that are not familiar). I can remember Connie and Herman doing their thing with some of the more energetic dances like 5 and 1, Clear the Floor and Terminal Reaction. But I also remember without fail, when the L&R shake came on, Connie would plop herself somewhere on that front line near me and other IAKJP members, so she could kick up her leg or drop it like it’s hot, especially when we did call outs. If any of you ever got to see her dance, you’d know that Connie could take anyone of those high energy dances, with a whole bunch of jumping around, add a roll to it and maybe a snake and make it one of the sexiest dances around (hence her line dance name Sexy Dancer) . As a matter of fact, whenever I choreographed a routine, I would have to go back at Connie’s request and change something because it didn’t have enough rolls or snakes in it, or it just wasn’t sexy enough.
Then there was Herman, HEE2 Smooth. He didn’t care if he knew a dance inside or out, or if he was just learning the dance, he would get on that front line anyway and do Herman English, HEE2 Smooth style. But just don’t let it be Airtight (his favorite line dance) or Odyssey, cause then you just couldn’t tell him anything, all you’d see were these double and triple spins when some folks struggled doing just a basic one spin.
But Herman and Connie didn’t just line dance. Every now and again, a slow mellow dance would play, like UK soul stepping, the song was, I Can’t Live Without you. (at 11:30, Bud’s dance) For whatever reason, they never did that line dance. It was as if it was Herman’s cue. The song, I can’t live without you would come on and It didn’t matter where Connie was or what Connie was doing. Herman would find a spot on the floor, I guess he was thinking, somewhere out of the way of the line dancers. It was like he’d reach his hand out as to say “Come on Connie, let’s dance!” and Somehow, Connie would find him and there they’d go, 2-stepping across the line dance floor, doing Connie and Herman like no other could do. To watch them was a treat. It was exciting, electrifying and yet so elegant. But whatever it was to you, the one thing you could definitely see was the connection, the LOVE connection between 2 of the most loving, caring and giving people in the world.
So, I gotta believe that on Saturday December 14,2013, one day before his birthday, Herman was called home to teach a couple of angels how to do those double and triple spins. He went on home, to a better place, to a much more peaceful place to do Airtight, Odyssey, Trip and Mr Luver ( a few of his favorite dances). Now he’s somewhere dancing Like David dance. As a matter of fact, what’s really going on, is he was called to be David’s assistant dance instructor. But, while he was there doing his thing, Connie was left here to do the Baltimore Goodfoot (her favorite dance) to Higher, all by herself. But wait, then around Dec 23, just like it happens at the Beginners Ball, the music must have changed. You see GOD is now the DJ. DJ W, AJ they don’t need your services anymore. See God was the DJ and he knew exactly what to play. I can only imagine it was the UK Soul steppin’ line dance. and what did we say that song was, ? “I can’t live without you.” I believe they were talking to each other. Herman reached his hand out, one last time as to say, Come on Connie, Come dance with me. And just as she always did, Connie answered her husband’s call and went on home to join him, so that they could be together and dance again, together.
If Herman could talk right now he’d say….
Whoa Kenny! “Let’s be clear!” we’re in a better place, we’re doing a better dance and we got a better DJ, Ain’t no stopping us now!