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Time Offers Healing and Excercise

Posted by djingodjango on Saturday, May 10, 2014

I visited my doctor recently and he suggested I try and exercise a bit more then the three minutes a day I now allocate myself.  Actually maybe a little less then three minutes. Knowing myself I need structure and responsibility in something I begin, or else I will simply blow it off. I cant do it alone.

So I wandered into the local Senior Center in my town a few days ago and, after inquiring, was told by a rather pleasant looking receptionist to go into the gymnasium where I would find some folks about my age involved in, "Paulines' exercise class." 

OK. So far so good.

The gym echoed with soft laughter which I barely heard over a screaming "BG's" disco soundtrack from a laptop plugged into the rooms speaker system. A rather tall lady whom I assumed was the aforementioned Pauline was hovering over the computer and a goggle of mature ladies were chatting and clustered around a large circle of chairs.

Never the shy one, i spoke up and asked if this was where the exercise class was taking place and every one tittered and said..."Yes, but we really don't have a class. We just follow what Pauline is doing and do the best we can." I looked twice and recognized that Pauline was the same lady who gave me an Oscar Schmidt 21 chord autoharp that is the bees knees.

She smiled and said her type of exercises is a bit different and I may not recognize it as "exercise." And I said I was game but could a man join this group as I noticed there were none.

Everyone laughed and said as long as I didn't mind being around a bunch of old ladies it was ok with them.

So I picked out a chair and we began. I was low stress exercise. In fact it was almost choreography in that we moved slowly, easily and with a certain grace to the music. And such music. Some I never heard and some I remember like a beloved photograph from an old picture album. Bob Seeger and "Old Time Rock and Roll" with me picturing my self in my underwear around these charming women al'a Tom Cruise. A song about the wind by John Denver that I until that moment never knew existed. It was beautiful.

As we move around; either sitting or standing; thumping our feet or slowly raising our arms to heaven, not one female laughed at this old, fat, 72 summer- lived white guy with a beard. And in my mind I remembered a dance I attended almost 60 years ago.

It was a sock-hop at the Crescent St. Park Clubhouse in Laconia NH. And it was the first time I ever tried to dance with a girl outside of school you know;  those "square dance" classes we had to attend as part of our elementary school physical training courses.

:I had spent several weeks before with a buddy of mine as he did his to teach me how to dance. How to diddy- bop to rock and roll. I loved the music but I couldn't get the moves down. And my friend Don was the king of cool in my high-school. Flipped up collar, a DA haircut, large taps on his engineers boots and a withering sneer that knocked the gals cold! 

In his room upstairs in his house we practiced over and over again the slick moves while Little Richard melted the wallpaper with "Good Golly Miss Molly" or "Long Tall Sally" and the Killer Jerry Lee Lewis slammed his body into his piano and screamed "Great Balls of Fire" into a mic at Sun Records in Memphis, or the King, Elvis; hip swirling his way into our hearts with his version of Big Momma Thortons, "You Ain't Nothin' But A Houndog".

Occasional yells from Dons dad to "Calm down!" just didn't work. I was determined to make a mark for myself at this dance and this school, because I had just moved into that town the previous summer.

But I was awful. Picture an amalgamate of Pee Wee Herman, Wally Cox and George McFly. And then multiply it by a strong 10.

I tried to remember when to bened my knees and bob down and then count to four...or was it five. No it was four and then I would spring up at a slant. Yeah. I was getting how to dance. And I would take her hand and then spin her around. And then...then I forgot.

I walked in to the dance..nervous as hell and Don right away latches on to his girl, "Frankey".Her real name was Francine and she was one of those French-Canadian Catholic girls who attended school at Sacred Heat parish;  which featured a church (Sacre Souer) where, back then, a French mass was said daily and twice on Sunday. She wore makeup and a red jacket with the word Demolay embroidered across the back. I thought she was the hottest, coolest thing I had ever seen in my life. She chewed gum and snapped a bubble as she draped herself over Don in a incredibly intimate fashion. She eyed me as one would eye a french fry from Mars. 

Don talked to her for a few minutes. I couldn't hear what was said, but "Frankys" lipstick mouth assumed the figure of a sad Cupid bow. But she nodded and went across the floor while Marty Robbins sang a sad song about  a white sport coat and a pink carnation. Couples coupled in the middle of the room.

She returned later dragging a girl with a flared pink and black poodle skirt (I kid you not) and a pony tail that bobbed. All I could think of was the Big Bopper and "Chantilly Lace" and she, in turn looked at me in the Martian French fry manner. Then the music started. Oh joy. It was Bobby Darin with his ubiquitous hit, "Splish Splash.". 

I took her hand and made one bob down and then up. And then I heard laughter. A lot of laughter from Miss Chantilly and others gathered round.

I left the dance before Bobby had "splished". I made some excuse about having to go home and water my slide rule. The laughter still ringing.

I never dated or attended another dance till I left high school'

But as I huffed and puffed and exercised with these ladies last week, any of which could have been Miss Chantilly, I heard no laughter. No derision. We were doing something together and the past was just that; the past. It was a good feeling. Redemption.   

And then Pauline played the last song that morning. No, it wasn't "Splish Splash". It was  "Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Darin. His best song. You can't make up stuff like that.


(C) 2014 George Locke





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