Green and Growing

It’s Spring, I guess. Our weather has been not only unpredictably weird, but dramatic to boot. Today, we’re experiencing April showers. Okay, semi-torrential showers, speaking of weird and dramatic. But, as we all know, April showers bring May flowers. (Time permitted here for a little soft shoe….) Already we’re seeing buds on the trees and bushes, and crocuses, daffodils, tulips and hyacinths in bloom. Everything is turning green and growing.

That brings me to today’s subject: growing, as in being educated, being mature, being responsible.

My granddaughter, Brittany, recently turned 21. She’s beautiful, as are all my grandkids, of course, inside and out. And she’s a writer. I mean, she’s REALLY a writer, as in, she writes pretty much all day every day, or at least five solid days a week. She is a dedicated writer. She goes against what almost every famous writer advises: Don’t quit your day job to write.

Her income, or lack thereof, is not my concern today. Her blog of today is. It’s about education. I urge you to check it out because her “indiegree” program is, I think, brilliant. Her opinion of getting a traditional college education, however, leaves me wincing.

We bring our own experiences to our decisions and opinions, and my experience was that it wasn’t necessary for “girls” to have an education. My parents gave me one year of college because I was given a scholarship, which presented a conundrum: Depression logic dictated that we must not give up that “won” money, but sending a son to college took precedence, and the remaining college expense for me—a girl—was way too much. So we settled on one year. Oh! How I wanted to go for a complete Bachelor program. As it turned out, I returned to school at age 45 on my own and graduated magna cum laude. Take that, 50’s society!

I will say that when you go to college as a more mature adult, you have motivation and an eagerness to learn that young people often neglect to develop. Also, many young people don’t have to consider other options. Their parents, and society, expect them to go to college—the women as well as the men—so that part of the equation is a done deal. The sad part these days is the horrendous debt young people amass from college.

Back to Brittany and her blog. She’s a supporter of different or freer forms of education. But beyond that—here’s her brilliance showing—she is offering us alternatives to the old college try. I’m not going to spoil the surprise, but I urge you to go there, to browse through what she has to offer, to educate yourself. I know you won’t be disappointed. Here’s the link again:


Dancing and Wegmans

 Friday nights, we usually go dancing. Wegmans’ Marketplace Café in Webster, across from Bay Towne. The music group is led by Johnny Matt (he plays trumpet/sings), and includes a keyboard artist, a drummer, and Johnny’s wife, Barbara, who adds rhythm thingies—castinets, tambourines, etc. They play big band-type music from the 30s, 40s and 50s mostly, although we have a twist dance every so often. The music delights us each week from 5:30 to 7:30.

I do not say “delights us” without reason. I’ve noticed all these months we’ve been going that the people dancing are all smiling, laughing, sneaking in a little snuggle or kiss once in a while. For a long time, I thought they weren’t married, although I noticed the women wore engagement and wedding rings. Keep in mind (you should know from the clue of the music period) that these aren’t just retired folk. These are old retired folk! When we get up from our tables, it takes us all a few steps before our backs straighten and our gait to the dance floor picks up, but once on that floor, the muscles move, the bones vibrate, and the body jives.

One man got out there last Friday night, dancing away with different partners. A woman nearby said he was 94. He wasn’t too tall, stocky, thinned white hair, bit of a paunch, and a little osteoporosis. But when he heard that music, felt the beat, the rhythm, that guy boogied.

And he laughed doing it. So did his partner. Like I said. Everybody smiles, laughs, whispers sweet nothings, and simply has a really good time. It’s like a romantic holiday.

I can’t help but wonder why. It’s such a wonderful departure from watching or listening to older married people picking at each other, which happens all too often. But why, consistently, do all of us act like teen-agers on dates?

We know music is a gift to the soul, so that’s one joy generator. We know dancing is very physical and endorphin-producing exercise. We know being active, health permitting, is a good thing for seniors. Maybe it’s all these things that account for our having so much fun, for couples loving each other and not afraid to demonstrate it.

Or maybe dancing and music attract those people who are already in the happiness mode. Maybe. I think, really, that it’s the package—the whole all-inclusive package. And I’m so glad that Wegmans provides this free entertainment for those of us who love to dance or at least, love to try. It’s a lovely package, wrapped in pure pleasure.