I keep a little book. I call it the Book of Friends. Since I moved to Northern Virginia, as an older adult, no full time job, all the people in my Book of Friends go to my church. I see them on Sunday morning. We sit and talk. We sit and talk on other days, too. It was too much sitting for me so I signed up for a ballet class at the rec center. Maybe I’ll meet some new people. It was hard driving so far in the dark. The people seemed reserved, distant. I didn’t re-register.
Then one day I saw a notice on the bulletin board at church… line dancing! I jumped for joy. I filled out the form. I drove to class. It took me five minutes. I could have ridden my bicycle, it was that close. There were at least a hundred people at the class, none of them went to my church. The teacher turned the music on and soon were all hopping and turning, rocking and stepping. We’re doing a tour dance, said the teacher. What’s a tour dance? I had to turn my brain on high to follow the steps. After the dance all the dancers around me smiled and gave me a hug. Good, they said. You’re a good dancer. Of course, I wasn’t always sure what they were saying. Most of them were speaking Korean to each other.
After class I was happy, tired but happy, spending time with people and dancing, just what I’d been wanting. After I figured out what a tour was, it became my favorite part of the class, a magical moment, over a hundred people wheeling on their heels, turning left, a quarter turn, a half turn, all of us ending up facing the same direction, surprise and happiness written all over our faces. I tried to put all those new friends in my Book Of Friends. I sat there with the end of the pencil in my hand. I had to learn how to remember Korean names, Korean names and Chinese names and Vietnamese names.
That was the beginning of the BWSSCWOW. Now I go to yoga and tai chi class. I square dance and I every week I’m out there doing tours in the line dance class, loving all the wonderful exercise and all the hugs. Now that we’re more organized, we all wear name tags so I don’t have a problem remembering names. Of course, now there are lots of people with easy American names for me to write in my Book of Friends, but so far none of them go to my church.
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