Last year, as I was waiting for my husband to pick me up at the hair salon where I go every Saturday to get beautiful once again, I saw someone that I knew and had not seen for twenty years. She was my husbandís first cousinís former wife. They divorced and quite bitterly, so the family never saw her after that event.

At first as I saw her approaching the salonís door, I thought I will just ignore her unless she says hi first. We had not been close when she was married and in the family, only saw her maybe ten times in ten years. However, I thought, I will say hi and how are you and I did and she looked at me quizzically as if she did not know for sure who I was. She always had bad eyesight and wore very thick eyeglasses. I said how are you and she replied fine and proceeded in the salon, walking with her cane.

So I thought to myself, next time I will not say hi because you did not care enough to ask me how I felt. The following week I saw a death notice in the paper with her name. The hairstylist told me that on that Saturday when I had said hi, she had her hair done and then went with her friends to see the French circus that was in town. At the conclusion, she dropped to the ground having had a major stroke and died a few days later.

When I heard this, I was shocked. I thought back and said to myself that I was glad I had said hi because of course, it was for the final time. I thought a silly thought. If I had known ( how could we ever) that she would be having a stroke and it was her final day on earth with all her faculties, could I, a mere mortal have warned her to go to a doctor and maybe she would be alive.

This is all silly nonsense on my part, but it is kind of a neat thought. If we could warn folks of bad things that might be happening to them so soon after seeing them, then we could save them. Also, if we could approach folks and tell them that something good was going to happen, would not that be splendid too?

When my mom was dying almost twenty-two years ago, we all sat in the hospital by her side and talked and watched over her, not really knowing if she could hear us or not.

Actually, she could because I mentioned to my brother and daughter who was there that Mom disliked a man in her office. He called her and constantly said Hi a Leah. Her name being Leah and the race track in Florida was Hialeah. It irritated her very much.

As we sat by her side, I told this Hialeah story to my brother and daughter and out of this quiet and dying woman, she opened up her mouth and said " yes and his name was Mr. Trimble." So she heard my story and recalled his name from her memory and it had been probably twenty or thirty years since she had heard him call her that. Which proves in a way, that we often remember the not so good things as much as we remember the great things or happenings?

If we can help someone while we are here on this earth to improve their life in any way, then we should. Ballroom dancing and any sport is a way of enticing our heart to be active and our brain to be working. The orthopedic doctor told me to keep on moving my right arm because if it hurts and I let it sit idle, then it will never improve because of a lack of a workout. In the old days, when one had arthritis, they just sat and rested. Now, we are told to move on and exercise and get those muscles and body parts working because if we do not, they will atrophy. We will be the worse for it.

Our brains have to be stimulated and in a sense massaged by our using them to think, to read, to be active and certainly ballroom dancing makes us think with our brain first and our feet and arms second. When I first learned to dance, I was always looking down at my feet to see if they were moving well. I could not understand when the coach said "do not look at your feet." I wondered how you dance and not see what you are doing. Of course, we all go through that thought and we all stop looking down.

Mr. Trimble annoyed my mom each and every day at work for years saying Hi a Leah and he knew he did and continued like a child to say it constantly. Actually, my mom did not call herself Leah; she shortened it to be modern to Lee. So he calling her Leah was really not referring to her, as she had dropped the "H" and I used to kid her that she was a modern woman way before women exerted themselves and changed things in their lives as so many do now.

If we can enhance othersí lives by actually saying hi to them, whatís new and how about one day we all go to a ballroom dance real soon. We will have fun and of course exercise that will be good. They can have A GOOD TIME and their brains will react to the music and the great atmosphere of a dance setting. We need not fear that this is the last time we will see them, so we are glad we talked because when they go out and ballroom dance, they will prolong their their lives with great anticipation of doing something so worthwhile. The delightful time they have interacting with other people at the dance will certainly stimulate their lives and their daily living.

A friend of mine said that after reading my next article about angels on this earth, she always knew I was an angel. I do not know why she said that because we rarely see each other any longer, but we do email several times a week. So if in her mind, I am an "angel", so be it and I will continue to steer people to go out and dance, even if they sit most of the dances out, just being there is beneficial.

I am glad I said hi that day to my husbandís former cousin, I am glad Mom could hear us talking and that we can say "her mind was there all the way to the last few moments." She passed away about five minutes later after saying the Mr. Trimble line. She may not have been able to be active or walk, but the mind was still remarkably active and that is what we are desire in our later and senior years. We can help our minds and our body parts to be active and we can and should try to ballroom dance when we have the opportunity,

Good people do not annoy, do not mispronounce, do not ignore others, and do not sit around. We stay active, we do and we help where we can. This splendid thing called life deserves to be used in the right way and we shall do that and start now if we are not already practicing it as part of our lives. So to Mr. Trimble, wherever you may be, you are remembered for being quite naughty, we prefer to be remembered for being helpful. KIND AND CONSIDERATE. That is our legacy.

Keep on Dancing

Elita Sohmer Clayman
April 2006