Recently, my husband, Kevin, and I were in Central Florida visiting our son at the church camp where he works. He and his girlfriend took us on a walking tour of the camp and then we left them there with all the other counselors and headed up the road to our hotel in “The Villages.” Oh. My. Gosh. My eyes were opened to a whole other world I didn’t know existed and I sort of wish I could erase some of the images that are burned into my mind. The Villages is a huge community that has been built in which many, many older folks live. There are neighborhoods, golf courses, restaurants, stores, churches, doctor’s offices, anything you could want or need. Our hotel was just a block off of one of the “squares” where live music plays nightly for the residents to enjoy. I always thought of old people as being nice little Grandmas and Grandpas that knit sweaters and baked cookies, took their grandchildren fishing and told them stories about the “good old days.” I did NOT envision them doing what they were doing on the square, for all the world to see. Things got all crazy up in here the Saturday night we were there. After a mediocre dinner at one of the many restaurants, we wandered over to where the band was playing. Chairs were set up all around the gazebo in the center where the band was playing – folks sitting and watching, and many, many of them dancing. And not dancing like nice little old people should be dancing. Older ladies were wearing things older ladies probably shouldn’t be wearing. Older men were dancing in ways older men probably shouldn’t be dancing. And the two in combination was jaw-droppingly disturbing. The drinks were definitely flowing, and as we walked around, looking for a couple of chairs we might occupy, we discovered alcohol was not the only thing these people were enjoying. The smell of marijuana hung in the air in a couple of places that just made Kevin and me look at each other and laugh. Wait – what on earth is going on here? I honestly didn’t know whether to be completely appalled or happy for these old folks. I’ll tell you that it started with the former. I’ve worked in the activities departments of many nursing homes and have had some fun with our elderly population, but it never quite looked like this. There was a group of women in cheerleader outfits and pompons just finishing a routine as we arrived. Many of the old gals line-danced up a storm and to borrow a term from Shakira, I don’t think their hips lied, whatever that might mean. Lets just say I didn’t think you could move like that if you had arthritis real bad. They were obviously having a blast. By now, I’ve become only two parts mortified and one part happy for them. At about 8:50 pm, the band announced that they would be playing their last number of the evening, and by 9:00, after several slow dances so people could “hold on to their honeys” they were done. The square emptied out pretty quickly, couples climbing into their souped-up golf carts and heading . . . who knows where to do who knows what. Oh, the very thought! Now, after it’s all said and done, I’ve come around to now being only one part shocked and two parts happy for them. It was apparent that these people were living life and having fun. I’m almost to the point where I can say, “Good for them!” I still just want that nice picture of Grandma in a rocking chair, though. But who knows, Lord willing I live that long, maybe I’ll be wanting to be a cheerleader, too! I never was one, and it’s nice to know there is still hope. And everyone knows how much I love to dance! You know what? Good for them!!! You go, girls! And fellas! Wait! Did I just say, “Fella’s?” Don’t old people use that word?? Guess that life might be closer than I originally thought!
Oh man, I think I’m actually getting started here. The world doesn’t need one more blog, I know. Well, too bad, here goes . . . this entry is going to be very short as I’m anxious to see what it looks like. And my piano tuner is going to be here in less than an hour and I’m sitting here in my pajamas. Much more interesting things to come, I promise!