Community Connections

I am currently reading The Benedict Option by Rod Drecher, a book given to me by my daughter for Mother’s Day. One of the chapters in the book discusses the importance of building community ties to stand against the tide of modernity.

For hundreds of years of history, one of the ways people celebrated the joy of being part of a community was through dance.

Today, many people are lonely. They think they have “friends” because they have received a lot of “likes” on Facebook, but what they are missing through social media is the ability to work together with others to create something of great beauty and lasting memories.
Creating large group dance patterns with other people of various ages and backgrounds seems impossible. But it is not when you have a dance caller who teaches each dance before the music begins and then calls out the steps as the dance progresses.

I have been a Victorian Era dance caller for eleven years, and last weekend I asked the families at the San Luis Obispo History Day how many of them had been part of a social dance before. Only a couple of people raised their hands. And yet, 300 people stood up to give it a try and were delightfully successful in making new connections and happy memories with old and new friends.

For Information on how you can host a community building event like this, go to!


What is it like to turn seventy-nine years old? I do not know for sure, because I am not there yet, but here are few things I observed this month when my siblings and I gathered from around the country to celebrate my dad’s seventy-ninth birthday.

Me and my Dad
1. You are a little more tired.  Every day, my dad “reads” the newspaper while lying on the couch. He often reads it for an entire half an hour with his eyes completely closed, snoring softly. Resting is important, and when you are older, you allow yourself that luxury.

2. But you still want adventures: My dad announced on his birthday that he wants all of us – his kids and their spouses, to take a trip to Alaska next year. There are always new horizons to explore, if perhaps a little more slowly than before.

My Dad and my sister
3. You continue to like the same things you liked when you were younger. My Dad has always loved cars. My mother tells the story of when she was in the hospital to deliver me, my father stepped out for a bit to attend a classic car show. (This is before fathers were required to help their wives breath during labor.) I remember being the only kid in the neighborhood who drove around in a big, black 1930’s Packard because my dad loved restoring old cars, and he will still discuss cars with anyone who will listen.
My Dad and my brother

4. Childhood memories are important. My father had a ceramic farmer doll dressed in overalls when he was a very little boy. My grandmother, before she died, restored the doll and then gave it to me. I had the doll for years, but this year it occurred to me that perhaps my father would like to have it again.  I carefully wrapped it in layers of tissue paper, and when my dad opened the package, tears streamed down his cheeks as memories from his happy childhood were relived.

5. You never cease to enjoy the company of family, no matter what your age. There is no one else who remembers singing those silly songs on a family vacation to Montana back in the 70’s. Only family know how irritating you can be, but loves you all the same. Whether you are nine or seventy-nine, there is joy in being a family.

Beginning Again

Reminiscing on past events while going through one’s previous blog posts is a pleasant way to spend an evening. I kept a regular blog for five years and marvel at the number of people who followed along. I am not sure any of you are still out there after this long hiatus, but for those who are, I thought you might enjoy an update.

We left off with the wedding of my eldest daughter and my venture into full time tutoring.  Both of those endeavors have produced great successes, but the best of all has been my transformation into someone I had never been before – a grandmother. 

My daughter carrying her son
like I used to carry her.

Wee Oliver is sixteen months old now. There is a joy in being a grandparent that is like none other – you get to have all of the fun and none of the responsibility! Watching a grandchild laugh and grow is delightful, but watching your own child parent her young toddler really stirs the heart.

My friend and fellow grandmother, Dede, said it best:

New Parents!
“When you become a parent, you get to relive your childhood. When you become a grandparent, by watching your own child parent, you get to relive being new parent all over again.”

Grandmothers get to play
at children's museums again!
My mind has been flooded with recollections of those past years of being a new parent – wonderful memories I have not visited in a long, long time. As a grandmother, I am enjoying the present delights of my grandson as well as the happy memories of his mother when she was his age, too.

Isn’t it interesting? In a way, each new generation allows the older generations to begin again.