The word "culture" says it all. Webster defines it as, "A particular society at a particular time and place." It is also defined as, "The taste in art and manners that are favored by a special group."
Well, you should have been to my parents' 75th birthday party at the Keystone Turner Hall on Saturday, April 11, 2009. Culture was profound...and so much fun!My siblings and I hired my Mom and Dad's favorite Polka band, Barefoot Becky and the Ivanhoe Dutchment, to play for their 75th Birthday dance. Becky is well respected and loved in the Midwest for her Polkas, Waltzes, Schottish and Foxtrot music...all played on the accordion, of course. The dance was free to the public and Becky's fans showed up in full force. What was even more appealing to me was the fact that so many of my aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousin, third cousins and even fourth cousins, made their way to Keystone, Iowa, for the celebration.
Me and My Dad
So, why am I writing this blog about my parents' 75th Birthday dance? People....if you don't dance you won't "get it." Dancing is a way of life back home in Keystone, Iowa. Dancing is something that was; well, almost expected, in my parents' generation. Everybody danced...and they did Saturday night. Did they dance like "Dancing with the Stars?" No! And that is so okay with me. They danced socially, gracefully, and happily all night long.
I have never seen my Dad happier and more energetic than when we did The Butterfly. This dance is a German dance where three people, and in our case it was me, my Dad and my sister, Linda, dance together. It's a traveling dance that starts out with simple kicks in unison. Then the tempo picks up and the person in the middle (my Dad) starts a do-si-do with both partners. The longer the song is played, the faster the tempo goes. My Dad was just a big kid! He was smiling so big and was bounding through the do-si-do with me and then Linda. It was just fantastic to watch...and even better to be a part of.
I thank my parents every day for giving me the gift of social dancing. I feel sorry for those who don't dance or haven't expereinced the joy, unity, and energy of social dancing. It is a cultural phenomenon. It is a cultural treasure and it is something one can do for the rest of their life.
In the words of Frankie Manning, the creator of the Lindy Hop, "Dancing keeps me young and for anyone out there who's not dancing, you better start."
I so agree!