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Marge McMillen: I’m having a ball dancing through life

I was 15 when I first met my husband, and he was 16. Bob was good-looking, charismatic and fun to be with. But best of all, he was a good dancer, and I loved to dance.

We hit it off immediately, and continued to dance through our teens and right into married life. And, just like everyone else, we experienced both good times and bad times throughout the following years.

But one thing never wavered – our love of dance. We both looked forward to those evenings when we could get dressed to the nines and attempt to outshine everyone on the dance floor, especially when they played a jive piece – a dance we had down pat.

But then Father Time started outdistancing Mother Nature in their not-so-good-natured race, and Bob could no longer dance – or even walk or move – without a great deal of pain. We were forced to give up our mutual love of dance, although to his credit, Bob would sometimes try a moment or two of slow-dancing as a gift to me.

And then, being cognizant of my love of dancing, he generously suggested I join a line dancing class at the Clarence Senior Center. Line dancing? Senior center? I had “only” just hit 60, the required age to join. Did I really want to join an organization filled with old people, and do line dancing?

Well, Bob talked me into it, and all I can say is, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Some of those old people have become our dearest friends. The dancing is simply the frosting on the cake. Our signature song in line dancing class is “On The Sunny Side Of The Street.” Do you recall the words? “Grab your coat and get your hat; leave your worries on the doorstep. Life can be so sweet … just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street.”

And that is what I do every Wednesday morning, and now every Monday morning, since I’ve joined our jazz class as well. I leave my worries on the doorstep. What fun we have learning to do a waltz, a rumba, a jive, a polka, a Broadway production number, and even a country line dance now and then.

We whoop, we holler, we laugh till the tears come pouring down our cheeks. We make silly mistakes and laugh even harder. Our teachers and classmates hug and kiss, we share in each other’s sorrows and in each other’s joys. And birthdays mean nothing – 60, 70, 80. Who cares when you’re having so much fun?

Exercise, fun, music, dancing and so many dear friends accumulated over the years have made my dance classes real gifts to me. Life has been pretty good, but like anyone else, I hit some rough times. Now, though, anytime I hit a rough spot, I conjure up thoughts of my two classes and the fun I have there, and it makes that rough moment a little bit easier to bear. That might sound silly, but it works for me.

I’ve been doing this for 20 years now (OK, so you’re good at math) and I am one of those old people, but I’m still dancing and still loving every minute of it.

We put on a show now and then, and I have to laugh when our teachers tell us to “smile!” How can I not smile when I am doing something I so love doing? Yes, I still love to dance. Life is sweet if you choose to become a part of it.