I#039;m Still Holding On

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 13, 2002

It's Active Living time again when we seniors get a special newspaper issue aimed at our interests and needs.

Welcome to all you new senior designees who have joined our ranks in the last few months. Are you settling in gracefully and becoming more comfortable with your new designation? You didn't ask for it, and probably you didn't especially want it. But the only way to avoid it is unacceptable. So hop aboard the "Elder Express", take a seat and enjoy the ride. Join your fellow travelers, huffing and puffing, "I think I can"I hope I can".

I am working on developing some social outlets for myself these days. Keeps me from getting so stale.

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I found a writers group I enjoy, an exercise class I can do, and then there's my other effort. I decided to try ballroom dancing at the local senior center.

Even though I'm not so senior as many of those folks, I went feeling confident that a good time was in store. What I walked into was beyond my imagination. The ladies' gowns were straight off the stage of the Lawrence Welk Show. They wore proper dancing slippers with medium heels and straps across the instep.

The gentlemen, God bless them, were not naked. That's about the best that can be said of their formal attire. But since men are in short supply at these functions, they were not turned away for lack of a tie or jacket. They apparently only had to be breathing and able to get from their chairs to their feet with minimal assistance in order to be allowed inside.

All these people had taken dance lessons at the center, and the instructor (Nurse Rachett) was present. That meant no one could embellish, ad-lib, or take any license with the specific dance announced as each tune began. I saw the woman. I would not take issue with her! And so I sat in wonderment watching the fox trots, waltzes and tangos.

Music was provided by a trio of women called "Mood Swings". The perfect name I'm sure. As the evening wore on I missed dancing as I know it, the kind where the music takes you over. To me, dancing is not a parade march at a military graduation. Just as I was readying to leave, one of the gentlemen asked me to waltz. Out of my mouth popped, " Thanks, but no. I'm not a ballroom dancer. I'm a barroom dancer." He knew just what I meant and gave thanks that there are still some of us around. It did not take us long to determine that we were in the wrong place. We made tracks to a more enjoyable location and danced the night away (with an appropriate number of nitroglycerin breaks between songs) with no coaching from the instructor. Thus ended my ballroom dancing excursion. I'm just not going to get that old. So I guess I'll continue to hold onto some things from my younger years. I still like a ride on a Harley, a full cooler in the back of a pickup truck, and neon beer signs lighting my dance floor.