I am dancing with my father at my parents' 50th-wedding--anniversary celebration. The band is playing an old-fashioned waltz as we move gracefully across the floor. His hand on my waist is as guiding as it always was and he hums the tune to himself in a steady, youthful way. Around and around we go,laughing and nodding to the other dancers.
We are the best dancers on the floor, they tell us. Hy father squeezes my hand and smiles at me. All the years that I refused to dance with him melt away now. And those early times come back.
I remember when I was almost three and my father came home from work,swooped me into his arms and began to dance me around the table. My mother laughed at us, told us dinner would get cold. But my father said,"She's just caught the rhythm of the dance!Our dinner can wait.”Then he sang out, "Roll out the barrel, let' s have a barrel of fun,”and I sang back, "Let' s get those blues on the run.”
We danced through the years. One night when I was 15, lost in some painful,adolescent mood.My father put on a stack of records and teased me to dance with him. "C' mon,"he said, "let' s got those blues on the run.”
When I turned away from him, my father put his hand on my shoulder, and I jumped out of the chair screaming, "Don' t touch me!l am sick and tired of dancing with you!’，I saw hurt on his face, but words were out and I could not call them back. I ran to my room sobbing hysterically.
We did not dance together after that night. I found other partners, and my father waited up for me after dances, sitting in his favorite chair. Sometimes he would be asleep when I came in, and I would wake him, saying, "If you were so tired, you should have gone to bed.”
“No，no,he' d say, "I was just waiting for you."
Then we'd lock up the house and go to bed.
As my parents' 50th anniversary approached, my brothers and 1 met to plan the party. My older brother said, "Do you remember that night you wouldn' t dance with him? Boy, was he mad? I couldn' t believe he' d get so mad about a thing like that. 1' 11 bet you haven' t danced with him since.”
I did not tell him he was right.
My younger brother promised to get the band. "Make sure they can play waltzes and polkas.”I told him.
I did not tell him that all I wanted to do was dance once more with my father.
When the band began to play after dinner, my parents took the floor. They glided around the room, inviting the others to join them. The guests rose to their feet, applauding the golden couple. My father danced with his granddaughters,then the band began to play the "Beer Barrel Polka."
"Roll out the barrel.”I heard my father singing. Then I knew it was time.I wound my way through a few couples and tapped my daughter on the shoulder.
"Excuse me,”I said,looking directly into my father's eyes and almost choking on my words, "but I believe this is my dance.”
My father stood rooted to the spot. Our eyes met and traveled back to that night when I was 15. In a trembling voice, I sang, "Let' s get those blues on the run."
My father bowed and said,"Oh, yes. I' ve been waiting for you."
Then he started to laugh,and we moved into each other's arms.