I was 12 years old the summer of 1956 when I heard dad say “mum how about we take these kids dancing tonight?”

I excitedly dressed in a cotton skirt and blouse and put on my only pair of shoes, white sneakers with the blue patch on the back that read KEDS.

Dad, mom, my two older sisters Rita, Donna, her twin brother Doug and I all piled in the Old 1949 Ford and headed up the road to the small village of Weld. It was a warm summer night, the car windows were down and we could hear music as we crested the hill just before the grange hall came into view.

We entered a small, dark hall along the left wall were curved ,wire coat hooks pointing gracefully toward the ceiling. On the right side was a small open window displaying a that read adults $1 children 50 cents. The floor was throbbing under my feet as I stood and watched several couples whirling to the noise coming from the back of the room.

A band was on a stage a few feet above the dance floor, an elderly woman was banging on a piano, and a tall, lanky man was standing next to her with a fiddle nestled under his chin and beside him stood a shorter man plunking on a banjo. Hidden behind the fiddler was a bald man flailing sticks about as he beat on a mismatched set of drums.

Us kids, as we called ourselves, found a seat in the wooden chairs that lined the edge of the dance floor. We watched in amazement as Dad held out his hand to mom and guided her out on to the floor. The music started and Dad with his coal black hair curling above the collar of his best Sunday shirt took Mom in his arms and waltzed across the floor. Mom who was barely five foot two, with eyes of blue, matched his every step in her high heeled shoes and bare legs. They seemed to float above the scuffed floor boards as they gazed into each others eyes and smiled, they were one rhythmic body swaying and gently twirling to the music. We were captivated by their complete enjoyment of the moment.

Brother Doug offered his hand to his twin sister, as he had seen Dad do, and stepped onto the crowded floor. With faltering steps he weaved his way to Dads’ side, and with determination he mimicked dads’ steps and tried to waltz to the uneven beat. He soon caught on and began to push his sister around the floor.

The music stopped, dad escorted mom to a chair and leaned down, held out his hand to me and said “Come on Sally let’s dance.”

My name is Carole, but he always called me Sally. He led me onto the dance floor, and put his strong right hand on my back and his left hand in mine and we started to move to the music, his right foot moved forward, I stepped back, his left foot moved forward, I stepped back. The slight pressure of his hand guided me though the swaying dancers and his other hand on my back turned me left or right or guided me into a dizzying whirl. Around and round we went, my feet barely touched the floor and I felt as though I was floating on a cloud as I danced with my Dad on that warm summer night.

Our family danced together that summer and many years after, not always at the Weld grange hall but we tried places like the Top Hat in Rumford, with its glass like floor, also Madrid, where the crowd tended to be a bit rowdy, but Weld was our favorite place to dance.

Years Later, just a few weeks before he died, Dad said, “Sally under my bed is a tackle box, bring it here please.” He opened the box and buried beneath dozens of two dollar bills, and a few beloved fishing flies were two tarnished silver dollars. He told me he and mom had won them in a dance contest when they were going together. The coins were over 60 years old but as he held them in his hand, I saw once again, that smile I had seen that night long ago on the dance floor when they held each other and swayed to the music in perfect harmony.

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