There are times as we age when life can get boring and mundane. It’s easy to get into the habit of being a couch potato and never leaving the house, except to go to work, shopping or to visit the relatives.
When I was asked if I wanted to go to a fundraiser dance, I jumped at the idea. It had been a long time since I’d gone out dancing with a group! Because our bus service quits at 6:30 PM and we only have 6 taxis in town, I offered to be designated driver. It doesn’t take much booze to get an over 60 crowd into the spirit of fun, especially if they don’t have to worry about how they are going to get home safely.
Even though I wasn’t drinking, it didn’t take me much time either to get caught up in the revelry. The party was in support of the Alzheimer’s Society and the band was excellent (Lee Dinwoodie and Crew). As soon as they started playing, people were up dancing. Sometimes I think it’s an age thing. Going to a nightclub inhabited by young people means the floor won’t get crowded until at least 11:30 PM. That is usually past my bedtime! Because the party goers that night were mostly in their 50’s and 60’s, they were up dancing immediately to get their money’s worth.
It’s also a good exercise program, once the breathlessness get’s straightened out. That feeling like you are having a heart attack because you can’t catch your breath is scary. It takes awhile to get the oxygen pumping through the legs and up to the heart when you aren’t used to it. It’s lots of fun though when everything starts working again.
The music was recognizable. There’s nothing better than being able to sing as you are dancing. Sure, it was mostly country but there was an occasional rock and roll tune thrown in too for those who can’t two-step.
We had so much fun that we actually shut the place down. Last call had come and gone and the band was still playing and people were still dancing. There came a point though when Lee pulled the plug and said goodnight.
Somehow we ended up with more people to go home than had come in the van I was driving. What to do? As I mentioned before, this was mainly an over 60 crowd. We grew up in a generation of no seat belts. It was a time when the VW Bug was loaded up with as many people as possible and then the driver had to see how far he or she could get. It was even a time when people didn’t hesitate to drink and drive. We weren’t going to break THAT law!
I did the math. We had 7 seatbelts and 9 people to get home at 2 AM in the morning. Two skinny people took care of one problem. They shared a seatbelt. Only one more problem to contend with. I remember going home from a party one night when I was a young adult. I ended up riding on the parcel shelf of a Ford Pinto.
Why not? Was anyone willing to ride in the cargo space? I immediately had a volunteer. Problem solved.
There were, of course, a couple of worriers.
”What if the cops stop us?” I was sober with a van load of noisy drunks. I didn’t think a cop going to give me too much of a hassle.
“It’s against the law to ride without wearing a seatbelt!” I asked the guy in the cargo space if that was a problem for him. He said it wasn’t.
We only had a 5 km drive that took about 10 minutes but during that ride I think we all recaptured a bit of our youth. People shared early experiences of the fun they used to have when they went out as a group.
“Let’s go through the A&W drive-through! It’s still open.”
“ Should we pull a mainer?”
As the sober one, I decided that we would save some experiences for the next time. And there will be a next time! We all had fun, arrived home safely, and didn’t get stopped by the cops. Yes, we broke the law, but it would be just another story to tell our grandchildren when they were adults. And it brought us closer together as friends, sharing something special.
If you have a memory of “having a crowd in the car” please add a comment telling everyone about