I was performing this day in what looked like an old ballroom, complete with hard wood floors. Chairs lining the walls. Wheel chairs, that is. Like always, they had been waiting for me to arrive. Unable to hide the excitement of live entertainment. You know the routine by now. Set up. Corny jokes for those close enough to hear. When ready, begin the show. Talk about who I am. Why I’m here. What I’ll be doing. Introducing them to my 21st Century Orchestra, its teeny, tiny musicians contained within my iPad Mini. Demonstrating the EWI. First, it was a Clarinet. Then, with the push of a button, a Trumpet. A Flute. A Piano. Every possible instrument responding to my touch.
They listened. Intently. They applauded. Often. Enthusiastically. And sat, immobile. Until one brave soul possessed the courage and strength to stand. Shaky. Unsteady. Wheelchair pushed to the side. The Activities Director hurried to her side. Held out her arms in the posture of a dancing partner. The old lady accepted the invitation. Smiled. Laughed. Then took the lead position in this dancing partnership. Cheers and applause filled the room. And the song I was playing?
“Oh, how we danced…”
Several other ladies gathered their strength. Stood. And danced with each other. Wanting, needing to be part of this moment. And I played on. And on. Until everyone was too tired to continue. Except two. The old lady. And the Activities Director. They whirled. They swirled. And they laughed. A smile never left the old lady’s face. She was out of breath. Tired. But she never sat down until I concluded the show. Everyone stood and applauded. Laughed along with the couple still on the dance floor. The old woman finally collapsed into her wheelchair, clearly needing the rest. The Activities Director merely hugged her, long and hard. Not wanting to let go.
After the performance, she approached me, wheeling the old lady over to meet me. The Director spoke first.
“You know, Jeff, Irene, here, had a long career as a Ballroom Dancer. She and her husband actually owned an Arthur Murray dance studio back in the day. But this is the first time she’s been out of that wheelchair in far too long a time.”
“I can’t believe how tired I am,” the woman laughed aloud. “But it felt so good to get up! And dance again! I haven’t had this much fun in years!”
“Well, we’ll have to do it again. Soon,” I joked.
“I can’t wait,” she chuckled. “How about tomorrow?”
The “Gentle Rekindling of Emotions so Long Ago Experienced and so Deeply Enjoyed.”