I watched entranced, as her white skirt swirled out around her, swishing and swaying just so. He was expertly guiding her across the floor, dapper in his suit and tie, and she in her pearls. They appeared to be having the time of their lives. And I couldn’t help but stare. I was picturing them five or six decades ago, perhaps newly in love, moving exactly the same way.
The couple, residents from Westerleigh PARC were well into their 80s, and attending our National Seniors’ Day celebrations at the Queensborough Community Centre with 80 or so others from PARC Retirement Living. We were taking in a luncheon and afternoon of entertainment.
I must say: it’s days like these, I LOVE my job.
40s tunes were being belted out by a husband/wife singing duo called Sweetwater, and residents were enjoying their sandwiches, salads, fruit and coffee. Heads swayed, toes tapped, and mouths lip-synced along.
It was just after that the blue dress arrived…
A dark haired dynamo of a woman in her sleek turquoise ballroom dress entered on the arm of a well-suited gentleman. Ahhhhh, the professional dance team on the agenda. All eyes followed the couple as they took to the floor for their first set.
What progressed was a magical whirlwind of Waltz, Quickstep, Mambo, Cha Cha, Rumba and more, with costume changes in between. Looking around, I could see many a wistful eye, likely recollecting the height of their dancing days and youthful enthusiasm.
Our residents were clearly loving it. And actually, so was I.
There was more to come. Up marched three costumed ladies, with matching kerchiefs, white shirts and black pants. They were residents from Westerleigh PARC, and they proceeded to perform several well-choreographed numbers. Soon, they had half the room up, teaching a line dance to residents and staff alike. There were smiles everywhere as we tried to follow the steps. The happiness in the room was contagious, and everyone in the room was moving or dancing or swaying in some fashion or another.
As the afternoon neared its end, residents were reluctantly making their way towards the bus. I was at the door bidding them farewell, and asked “How did you enjoy it?”
I was rewarded with broad smiles and vigorous nodding of heads. “It was wonderful” was the common reply. I swear, they all looked about ten years younger. One gentleman paused and asked “Is the bus going now, or do I have a few more minutes?” I smiled and told him I think he still had time.
Grinning, off he bustled back to the party, clearly delighted to soak up every last moment.