A few nights ago I got the answer to a question that has troubled me. Music is a huge part of my life. My body moves with the beat, my heart soars with the notes and my life is defined by the lyrics. Everything reminds me of a song.
What has intrigued me for years is, what will happen to the generation of old rockers. How will we look when we are in our eighties and still rock on. My parents only square danced when they weren’t singing hymns. When the older sisters, aunts, uncles and friends moved with the music that touched their hearts it was the gentle swaying of the Glenn Miller era. Once in awhile I would see them clap with the Dixieland jazz or even break into a jitterbug. Always it was danced with the grace of the big band sound.
Our nephew plays in a band. When I read in the entertainment guide that he was playing 5 blocks from our house, I decided that it was time to go. This was not an easy decision. Don’t get me wrong… we can be party people. But my idea of a great night out is to go to the local barbecue joint, eat ribs, listen and dance to a great blues band that starts at 7pm, party with the best of them and be home at 9:30. A band that begins playing at 9pm it is problematic for me.
But, on our way home from a wedding we stopped in. His band plays classic rock and so every song is familiar: “The house of the rising sun”, Satisfaction”, Taking care of Business”. We knew the words to all of them, as did the most of the clientele.
I’m used to going into bars and seeing the old rockers. Many dress in the same style they wore in their 20’s. The women’s’ hair is usually dyed a faded red or a dark brunette. The earrings are dangling, the jeans are tight and there is a whole lot of fringe hanging around faces, arms and, sometimes, waists. Tonight was no different.
Except for a couple that obviously attended on a regular basis. The lead singer welcomed them in her gravelly voice. Tom and Susie drove all the way down from a little town up in the hills to be with this band. Luckily, that night they drove their motor home so they wouldn’t have to drink and drive. All good, right? The first time they got up to dance I thought, “How fun!”
They were up for every dance. No jitterbugging for them. They were rocking OUT!
She was dressed in light cotton pants that had to have an elastic waist. She wore white orthopedic shoes and a cotton blouse hung over the waist. I could imagine her shopping at Wal-Mart or K-Mart. He was wearing a striped shirt loosely over worn polyester slacks. His white hair waved in wisps above his smiling face.
I loved them. My entire body gave a sigh of relief. Now I know what will happen as we get older. We’ll still feel the beat.: heads bobbing, hips swinging and shoulders shrugging. Dancing in my old age won’t be weird and ugly. It will be joyous. It will be me.
“Still like that old time rock and roll
The kinda music just soothes the soul
I reminisce about the days of old
With that old time rock and roll.”*
*Lyrics by Bob Seger