Scottish Reform

“We r having a Scottish dance on Friday night. Please will u & Dad come!?”

reads a text from Mum.

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Friday night at the Brentwood Bay Senior Centre, it’s a big night out, especially for Dad. He’s been dressed up for it all day.

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Mum’s waiting at the door when we arrive. We throw down our money and head to the dance hall, sitting Dad down by the windows in the only chair with arm rests, aka get up again assisting devices. He sits wide-eyed with his hands on his cane between his legs, and his pants pulled high enough to reveal his socks and little old man legs.

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“It’s a change from the TV at least,” says Mum.

I nod and remind myself to cut his eyebrows.

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It’s time to dance.

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“Just to warn you, I may collapse,” says one man, “Bad hip.”

In lines of men facing women, or due to the gender disparity, women in men’s scarves facing women, our teacher prepares us for the upcoming dance. Hold hands, move forward, move back, skip here and there, in a circle with your right hand here, skip sideways through this pair, make a figure eight through that pair, grab hands with everyone and shuffle sideways in a circle this way and back the other way, but remember it’s only this way on the very last time. Got it?

Let the music play!

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“Scottish dancing is easy,” said Dad before we left the house, “Skip that one and this one, and that one and this one,” as he pretends to skip cow pads in a Scottish field.

Not quite my experience, I disgrace my Scottish heritage as I skip and turn with panicked eyes seeking aid from the partners around me, but their eyes offer no assistance as they are as terrified as my own. Our group is so full of first timers that the teacher comes running to keep the dance afloat, grabbing the arms of little old people as she drags them running in circles trying to catch up with musical time.

By the third dance, I am calling on my 77 year old mother to replace me in line, while I head psychologically exhausted to sit beside Dad. Together we watch in amazement as men and women all the way into their eighties with humped backs, stiff necks and swollen ankles dance as though their very lives depend on it.

“It’s good exercise and good for the old noggen too,” says one beautiful old woman, “that’s why I do it.”

Use or lose it.

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An evening of dance and laughter with my divorced parents, it was a night to remember. These are precious days.

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“Dance me to the end of love,”

sings Leonard.


About Morbid Optimist

My name is Katryna Mary Brooke Ormiston. I am 35 years old and after living in Vancouver for a decade, I am returning home to my 81 year old father’s hobby farm on Vancouver Island to care for him in the final stages of his life. This blog is to document my journey, process my experiences along the way and hopefully share and feel connected to a community beyond the three and a half acres I find myself on. A message in a bottle in the cyber-sea.
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