Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Dancing in the White House

is not something I have ever seen myself as doing but the little video clip of the 106yr old woman doing just that should be viewed again and again. 
Yes, if you want to be cynical, it is a nice piece of advertising for the Obamas and a way of saying, "Hey look, blacks in the White House".  It may look like a bit of "over the top" American soap opera type drama.
It is also a whole lot more than that. It's about fulfilling a dream. 
I know rather a lot of very elderly people. Many of them are very frail. Some of them don't always know who I am - indeed, some never do. Others are still active. There is a woman I know who, at 96, still walks to the shops, to the library, and who volunteers a day each week in the charity shop close to her home. 
       "It keeps me young dear."
She knows about computers too. Hers is all set up with "Skype" so that she can talk to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who live scattered across the country and the world.
Last year she went to New Zealand - to the wedding of a grandchild. 
       "What a lovely excuse for a holiday. I might be a wee bit old for the Milford Track but I am going to see a bit of the country."
She went up in a helicopter while she was there.
       "I've always wanted to do that."
There aren't that many people her age who would be physically fit enough to do what she has done. The Senior Cat could not walk to the shops, even if he lived as close as she does. He can get around the block with his walker. He uses his gopher to go to the shops, to church, to the doctor and so on. I just have to hope he's safe. If I tried to stop him he would feel the loss of independence too much. It has to be his decision, just as it was his decision to stop driving. 
Like my 96yr old friend the Senior Cat has made decisions about what he wants to do and, if he can do those things, he will. It's the way things should be if possible. They both still have dreams, even if the dreams are a little smaller now.
But the 106yr old dancing in the White House was fulfilling a big dream not just for herself but for so many other Americans. It was perhaps the biggest dream of all, the beginning of something even bigger.
I'd like to meet that determined little old lady. Imagine the conversation any of us could have with her. 

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