We ate delicious German food and watched Grandma Peggy blow out candles on a cake wheeled in by three granddaughters and a two-member polka band.
And then we danced because, even more than tennis, chocolate chip cookies and ice cold milk, good movies and better books, clean swimming pools, Disney World, a glass of wine before dinner, and secret finger dips in peanut butter jars, my mother loves to dance.
Self taught in the basement of her red brick house on North Bend Road in Cincinnati, mom jitter bugs, boogie woogies, twists and bops. Brought by marriage to the great state of Wisconsin, she also polkas and chicken dances.
The rest of us — kitchen dancers, wedding waltzers and at least one reluctant ballet school graduate — make up for our lack of appreciable skill with genuine enthusiasm.
We needed it and all the schnitzel inspired stamina we could muster to keep up with Grandma, who looped around the dance floor with just about everyone.
Our waiter asked if he could join our family and grandma’s exhausted stable of dance partners readily agreed.
Several times we formed a circle around Grandma and held each other up as we watched her dance.
Thanks to my sister’s genius planning, we had Berghoff’s basement to ourselves, which left us free to enjoy the best kind of dancing. We danced because no one was watching. We danced because we had to work off our giant portions of delicious German food. We danced to celebrate a milestone. Mostly, though, we danced for joy.