Sunday, July 29, 2012

There Was No Square Dance

The Square Dance was where all generations--the children, the teenagers, the adults of all ages--gathered and laughed and had fun. Good clean fun like we could never remember having, but which made us feel like we had been transported to another century, one without tvs and maybe even radios. Certainly, in this century, the pretend better century we were visiting, there was no texting or social media or blogging. The air was fresh and the lake water was clean and cold.

Everyone danced, even the non-dancers, the sullen teens, the widows and the not-so-spry. The fiddler would strike up a tune, and the caller would call out the steps, and we'd all follow along and get sweaty and out of breath and step on  people's feet and make mistakes and laugh and smile like crazy. It is impossible to be ironic, or in a bad mood, or experience any kind of ill temper while square dancing.

In 2007, we all headed to the Lake Lounge for the square dance. Violet, age 4, was excited because James, age 8, had told her he would dance with her. He crossed the wood floor in a polo shirt neatly tucked into his chino shorts. He practically bowed, then took her hand, and they began to dance. There was swinging your partner and do-si-doing. During a break they went to get punch, and it looked like a Norman Rockwell painting.

Mary, an elderly widow, danced every dance, her back straight and her while hair in a neat bun. The next morning at dawn she went on a canoe ride with me, and told me all about it. "You bet your bottom dollar I danced," she said. Her brother had just died, and she had been his caregiver. The square dance was a way of reaffirming all that was good about life.

But this year, there was no square dance. There was a d.j. He played ymcapartyrocki'vegotafeeling. As the horrendous music blared, and even the teens were confused, the soul of the place dropped right into the lake. The kids looked betrayed. They asked to leave and go to the game room. I am glad Mary wasn't there.