Nov 25, 2012

To Watch While My Father Danced

I can't hand-dance. It's the unofficial state dance of the District of Columbia. I can't do it. 

With that said, here's this story.

The first time someone told me that my parents used to dance in their party days was maybe about ten years ago. I couldn't believe it, and I sure as heck couldn't picture it! 

So the other night, at a party celebrating his 80 years and the milestone birthdays of other family members, when Daddy's cousin pulled him onto the dance floor my first reaction was sheer panic.

Ummm, wait a sec. He ... uhh, I don't think he ...

Everyone was standing around the dance floor in a big circle three or four rings deep, singing and laughing and celebrating. I was trying to push past people, trying to get to my father and his cousin to tell her not to pull him onto the dance floor. 

How presumptuous!

But why was I in such a fit? Even with his aches and pains, he's not feeble. 

The thing is, I didn't want him to make a fool of himself. As a loyal daughter, I felt obligated to stop this. Who wants to see an 80-year-old man embarrass himself trying to dance?

I was way back in the third ring of the big circle, and no one was paying attention to me. I watched helplessly. My father hesitated at first, and then graciously gave in to his cousin's tugging. He moved onto the floor. 

Ohhhhh, Lord.

I was holding my breath, kind of. It seemed to be happening in slow motion. Where was my mother, my brothers? Did anyone else feel me on this?

Ever watch a kid get on a bike, slip and fumble and try to find their balance? And just when you move forward thinking that you will help steady them, they take off without your help. Zoom! ... off they go, not looking back, riding free and easy, as if they've always known how. 

It was like that from where I stood. It took my father a couple of secs to get his groove back, and then -- just like riding a bike, there it was! THERE IT WAS! Cool, smooth, flexible, fluid -- no aching back, hips, neck, or knees. He'd always known how.

Hey ... wait a minute. He's ... he knows how ... God! He really can dance!

My mouth was wide open. I was frozen. My 80-year-old father could dance ... really, really dance! 

Ha-ha-haaaaaa! I bet all these people thought he couldn't!

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