Yesterday was a milestone for my younger daughter, Kelli: her fiftieth birthday. She neither looks nor feels fifty, and if I hadn't been present for her birth, I wouldn't believe she's already racked up half a century. She's certainly a young, vital fifty.
Her husband, Troy, threw a birthday party for her last night, ably assisted by her daughter, Kalyn. It was the first party I've attended in years where dancing was on the agenda and, boy, did they ever dance! I knew Kelli had rhythm (she always did), but I had no idea my buttoned-up, to-do-list-making son-in-law could move like that. Wow!
Troy and Kelli danced together; so did other couples. Also, fathers danced with daughters, mothers with sons, brothers with sisters and sisters with sisters. Friends with friends. Lots of women and a couple of self-assured men did line dances. More often, instead of dancing with partners, a large number of individuals danced all together in a loosely defined circle so they could watch each other. They danced the Dougie, the Bernie and the Wiggle like their white selves had been doing hip-hop moves their whole lives, and they laughed and laughed and laughed.
Near the end of the evening my grandson's girlfriend came to where I was sitting and tried to pull me out onto the dance floor. It wasn't as easy as she'd thought it would be; I'd been sitting for a while and my right knee was locked up tight. "Shake it out! Shake it out!" she encouraged, holding my arm while I literally shook my leg so it would straighten enough that I could walk; then, there I was, on a dance floor for the first time in ages. I couldn't do what the fifty-and-under folks were doing, but I moved feet and hips to the rhythm for nearly ten minutes. It was terrific fun but also a little nostalgic as I faced the realization of how far I've left my best dancing days behind me. That's what happens when time marches on: we hold on to what we can, let go of what we must, and fill the gaps as well as we can with interests and activities more closely matched to our evolving physical and mental conditions.
The party was a huge success. It touched my heart to see Kelli and Troy, their grown-up kids, extended family and good friends interacting with so much joy and enthusiasm. I came home with a heart full of love and a mental tape of the evening's music playing in my head. Most of the songs were fast and loud, but I specifically remember a moment when a slow song gave the room an intimate feeling. Only one or two couples were dancing, but they weren't the only ones involved in the music. I turned around and saw that all the people sitting behind me were watching the dancers and softly singing along with the wistful music. It was a sweet moment--almost as sweet as Tupelo honey.
The song is "Tupelo Honey," performed by Van Morrison.
Thanks to neo16280 for posting the video on YouTube.
Click here to read the lyrics.