One of the strangest disconnects in getting older is how little dancing is part of my day to day existence. There was a time , when I 'practiced' it so much, daydreamed about it so much, and enjoyed it so much, that a day without any of the above would have been unimaginable.
A mini-memoir about being a classically trained dancer is not going to follow.
I am talking about in front of the mirror, door locked, music blasting on my record player dancing. My Saturday morning routine, as a young girl growing up on a ranch far from town, involved watching American Bandstand and running down the hall to my bedroom to practice what I had seen.
These events in front of the mirror were not vanity. I know what vanity feels like. Our youngest daughter Katherine has kept me humble about the allure of vanity and its pitfalls by saying- whenever she feels I need to hear it, "Oh Mom, you're just trying to show off."
Dancing isn't like that. It's more like the first few words of Chubby Checkers' The Twist: "Come On Everybody".
This practice paid off. Whether I had the beat or not, I had to have the beat. It was so much fun practicing in the dorm at Saint Mary's Hall (it was an all girls' school, afterall, where would we dance), or dancing at Eastwood Country Club in south San Antonio ( it was not a country club), or learning the bus stop in college, or collecting and savoring every Motown record I could find. I could almost dance while driving my car, with the radio blaring( long before cell phones and to do lists and rehashing it all thinking began to interfere with all of that great fantasizing).
But this is not a sad tale. Every year, whenever possible, my family travels to New Orleans so Mom can dance. There,in the anonymity of Bourbon Street, it may as well be the Falfurrias Teen Club with The Bondsmen from Alice playing. I am in heaven.
Last night while watching the pre-inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial, I danced and cried all around the television.
It was as if that entire throng of people, including the performers and our president to be ,were all standing in front of a big mirror practicing what they had learned, but above all what they remembered. Been there and certainly done that.