February 29, 2012

As a general rule, I’d rather dance in a large group than in a small group. Mainly because I'm one of the most unco-ordinated dancer you've ever seen. I've been like that for a long time. The night of my Senior High School prom in 1964 I went on an all-night fishing trip on the Susquehanna River. Yes, my girlfriend at the time was really ticked off at me. It was about then that she dropped me and married my cousin, John.

I recently suspended the no-dancing-in-a-small group policy, however, on a visit to the local Senior Center. I had no business there except to visit my sister, Eileen, who works there. I happened to drop in when my sister was not there but the residents were in the main activity room ... dancing ... “The Hokey Pokey”. I was standing there watching them when the dance leader noticed me and invited me to join. I shook my head no and pointed to my cane. She pointed to several residents in wheel chairs.

I had no recourse but to join in the fun. I threw my right leg in, my right leg out, did the hokey pokey and turned myself around. I’m not saying it was wedding reception quality dancing, but it was no slouchy car dancing.

I had fun until my foot threatened give out. When I got home the music was still playing in my head. Lady Laura was in the basement doing the wash so I found a copy of the music on the Internet. I went through the dance motions again, throwing my foot in and my foot out, my leg in and my leg out. About that time Laura upstairs and into the room. She said she wasn't sure of what I was doing - dancing or stomping on a Cheerio. Didn't matter, I was having fun.

By the next day, whenever I heard any music of any sort, I began throwing my legs in and my legs out. I did the hokey pokey to pop music, classical, show tunes and waltzes. Every song, ring tone and commercial jingle was an invitation to throw my legs in and my legs out. My doctor would be proud of all the exercise I was getting.

Soon I didn’t even need music. At the grocery store: put your leg in and your leg out. Toddling around Wal-Mart: put your leg in and your leg out. In the bathtub: put your leg in and your leg out.

I have enjoyed “The Hokey Pokey” so many times, “The Hokey Pokey” has followed me. It is now the song I can’t get out of my head. It is there when I wake up and when I go to sleep. It pops into my head when I’m working, driving, walking, talking, reading, doing about anything.

Yesterday I was waiting in a long line at the post office. I felt a woman staring at me and realized I had been absent mindedly putting my foot in and my foot out.

I was momentarily embarrassed, but then I thought, "Hey, that’s what it’s all about!"