I am home, mid-day, victim of a spring-time cold that has settled just behind my eyes, just over there, tucked in between my appetite and my wit.
It’s a congested, simple world I occupy today.
The kitties, of course, are firmly in favor of my being home sick; and I have spent the last two hours close to motionless, draped in flannel, sprinkled liberally with cats.
Dolly Gee Squeakers, formerly of the Humane Society Squeakers, tucked behind my knees and snoring softly, grumbles under her breath, her fuzzy paws twitching.
I’ve been holding the remote, a plastic extension of my desires, for almost the full time. Clicking dissolutely, bored with one show after another, I stop on Channel 6.
Even if I hadn’t already been breathing through it, my mouth would’ve dropped open.
I am mesmerized.
The sounds of the accordion, drums, and saxes roll over me. The floor in front of the stage is crowded with couples – some of whom are dressed in matching fedoras, matching shirts, one couple even dressed, inexplicably, in coordinated black-and-blue parachute pants, tee-shirts, and suspenders. The average age of the crowd is upper-70s; and I watch, sniffling, transfixed, as these smiling people move gracefully across the floor.
“That was the Lindenau Polka,” announces the woman with the microphone.
“The first time I heard that,” says a man with another microphone, “it was the Whoopee John version.”
The woman nods appreciatively. “The Chmielewskis have a version that brings me back.”
I nod along. Having grown up surrounded by accordions, The Chmielewskis take me back, too.
I set down the remote, pick up my phone.
“HELL-o!” my mother shouts.
“What’re you doing?” she says.
“What,” I laugh. “A daughter can’t call a mother whilst watching old broads with fabulous legs dancing in circles?”
My mother chuckles.
“Mom, there’s a show on called “Polka Party”? And there’s a couple on here celebrating 65 years of marriage. Best part? They don’t want to be on camera. Oh, no, no; they don’t want to be filmed. Isn’t that sweet?”
“Well, you know us old folks aren’t like those girls on the beach, taking their tops off.”
“Well I’ll drink to that,” I say.
We both laugh.
“All right, old lady,” my mother says. “I gotta let you go. I can’t just spend all day on the phone, you know. I got work to do.”
“All right, all right,” I say. “Keep your shirt on.”
She laughs. “I will if you will,” she says.