Monday, March 24, 2008

Shall We Dance by Barbara Quinn

What do women want? They want, evidently, to dance.” - John Updike

I went dancing for the first time in long time. The bar was packed with people of all ages.People in their twenties were dancing shoulder to shoulder with people in their sixties and the crowd was singing along. There was every type of dancing on the dance floor: rock, blues, Irish music, heavy metal. We danced to all of it.

When I was in high school the nuns taught us to Irish dance. Italian-American-hand-gesturing-me never did get the hang of keeping my upper body stiff and my arms ram rod straight at my side during those jigs and reels. Four of us had to compete at an Irish Feis. I was….awful! But I do still love Irish music. And I love going dancing.

Some years back a knee injury and operation put a stop to my dancing days. During my recovery I yearned for the time when I could walk without pain. I would dream I was running, or dream I was dancing, then wake to find my knee throbbing. I didn’t appreciate my legs till I lost the use of one of them. To do laundry I had to push piles of clothes over the balcony through slots in the railing with my crutches. Then I hobbled down stairs and pushed it toward the washer and dryer with the crutches. Things, like cooking a meal, took three times as long to get done. And getting into my car was quite an event.I couldn’t food shop on crutches and had to depend on my husband to get that and much more done. One good part was when people saw me and my crutches walking toward them, the crowd usually parted leaving me feeling like a gimpy Moses.

I’m grateful that I recovered and can dance again for dancing is healing. I feel a pang of sympathy every time I see someone on crutches, or in a wheel chair. Though my knee will never be the same, it works well enough that I can dance without noticing it. I have a feeling when I get older, I’ll return to dancing in my dreams where there will always be room on the dance floor, and I’ll finally get those Irish jig steps right.


Kathryn Magendie said...

Ohh, dancing...Now, it is well known by some that any time "Land of a THousand Dances" comes on, I have to Bust A Move...uh huh...teehee.

People ask, when I get up to dance, "That isn't going to hurt your back...?" and I shake my head no, but yes, sometimes it does - however, it's worth it! worth it!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Nice post. Made me almost want to get up and do a jig just for the heck of it.

Nannette Croce said...

My husband doesn't dance. That was always a bone of contention at weddings. I'd get all dressed up then sit at a table all night. At family weddings my b-in-law didn't dance either. Once my sister and I got to the age where we were no longer self-conscious about it, we started dancing together. Now there are so many single women wherever I go, the men seem out of place on a dance floor!

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