My mother jitterbugged into her ninth decade on a dance floor full of friends and family.
She wore a fresh corsage pinned onto her shoulder by her lifelong friend and high school prom date, Larry, and brought a spare pair of dancing shoes to a venue full of both memories and plans.
My mom likes to tell people she plans to die young after a long and full life. We watched her dance her party guests under the table and understood exactly what she meant.
Mom danced with Larry, just like they used to do in the basement of her house in Cincinnati with their friends Bill and Beanie. She danced with her grandson Vinnie, who wore his grandfather’s college letter jacket, and with Irv, her friend, who is a retired doctor. Then she urged everyone to join her on the floor through a rousing rendition of Shout!
Larry, who also turns 80 this week, gave a touching speech. My mom’s friend Barb sang a special rendition of Peg O’ My Heart, which included this passage: “Finding the youthful potion. To Orlando she goes. Disneyland knows. Magic Kingdom is the elixir and the perfect aging fixer.”
Throughout the three-hour party, my mom rarely left the dance floor and, when she did make her way around the room to chat with her friends, I spotted her cutting the rug in the back of the room as well.
Here’s to my mom on her 80th birthday, to her friend Larry on his, and to every opportunity life offers us to celebrate good times. Come on!