Ethan and the E People
Elita Sohmer Clayman

Ethan and the E People.

Ethan, my number three grandson is three years old and one month. He goes to Pre School which in his father’s time was called nursery school. When he was there for his first day, he did this. He had a tear in his eye on that day when his mom took him. The teacher told my daughter-in-law to stay outside of the door and if he still was sad, she could come in. She peeked in the window a few minutes later and he was fine, so she left. When she picked him up three hours later, he was very happy to see her and told her what he had done that morning.

Yesterday his dad (my son) dropped him off. Ethan saw a classmate with tears in his eyes and his nose was running. So darling and sweet Ethan went to the Kleenex box, got one and wiped the tear from his friend’s eyes. The teacher told my son that never in the twenty years she was teaching there; she had never seen a three year old who was so compassionate and kind. She has been a teacher for a long time and she was overwhelmed at Ethan’s actions.

Ethan at this young age shows the kindness that I tried to teach his dad and my daughter when they were growing up to practice. All grandparents think their grandkids are special and beautiful and articulate. It is always true, in this case it is especially so.

Grand parenting is different than parenting. We are much older, we send them home at the end of the day after their visit and we spoil them as much as we can. I do not call it spoiling; I call it treating them in an extraordinary and dear manner. It is they who make us distinctive in our senior years and we are grateful we had their mommies and daddies in our lives for so many moments; now we have them with great joy.

Many times when we are at a dance and see a new person attending, we think, why are they here and where did they come from? If we are in a good mood, we may go over, introduce ourselves and welcome them. It is analogous to Ethan wiping a tear, in a way.

These folks come and they may be apprehensive going to a new place where they may not know one person or if lucky may know a few persons. They feel inhibited to go and do the first dance because they may think others are dancing so much better than them. They are brave and go out and dance. Then they feel a bit more courageous and bold and dance a second dance. By then, they are feeling good that they tried out something new in a different atmosphere and they feel real satisfied.

The second time they come to the dance studio or hall; they are much more fearless and dance many dances and say hi to a few people they saw the last time. Now they have added this studio to their list of places to dance and they are elated. They need no tears wiped from their faces because they are sad like the little boy who had his tears wiped by Ethan. They are no longer sad or anxious about coming on the dance floor. They are proud now to be dancing especially at the new place that became the old place to them.

They are happy as the little boy was to be there accomplishing this at this time in their life. They proceeded and won the battle of being the new person at the dance. They by now have made friends, at least one or two couples and are in with the crowd. They can enjoy themselves, not be scared of dancing on the beautiful floor and even may have gotten to the point that they are showing off their new steps and arm movements. This is the progression in ballroom dancing that we all are attaining and aiming to do. Ten things to abide by in taking up ballroom dancing:

Number one being thinking about doing IT. It being dancing. Number two calling up to get the pricing and schedule. Number three setting the day and time. Number Four arriving there. Number five taking the actual private or group lesson and being nervous. Number six the lesson is over and they feel elated. Number seven going out to eat dinner or a snack and feeling on top of the world. Number eight calling up their children or best friend and bragging. Number nine looking forward to the next session Number ten wow I or we did it. We are becoming ballroom dancers. Number eleven through number one hundred going to lots of dances forever.

As that college professor told me many years ago when I was thirty-four years old and I went back to get a college degree. He wrote on that first test booklet “Mrs. Clayman, you can and will do better.” That was all the inspiration I needed, I did excel and graduate five years later with honor because I wanted to prove this teacher knew who he was encouraging. We all need encouragement and someone just wrote me that my articles are enlightening, encouraging, entertaining and emboldening. I mention the professor often because his words can also encourage someone new reading my column. If one person viewing this column realizes that they can and will do better in something, then it is worthwhile repeating.

Encouragement can be in anything. Ethan wiping the tears of his classmate, Dr. Levay
emboldening me with his simple words, a fellow dancer welcoming us to the dance world and even our stimulating our children to do well in their lives. We seniors and even not yet seniors need to hear that we can do things and do them now. We need not sit on our couches and constantly watch television. We need to be spurred on to do something of real worth and surely dancing is true worth. Entertaining is what dancing is really meant to be and we are enlightened into a new world that we never thought we would be a part of.

My husband and I were in a terrible car accident in June and we were hurt quite a lot.
The man was texting and ran a red light and we were the recipient of his actions. Now almost four months later, we are getting back to normal activities with some restrictions.
I was walking down the steps of my son’s townhome in Northern Virginia while visiting there. My three year old Ethan mentioned above chanted Go Grammie Go, Grammie, Grammie because he saw me walking very slowly down their steep steps. I laughed but in his three year old brilliant mind, he was supporting and cheering me on. Not only was this intelligent and clever (aren’t we grandparents full of braggadocio); he was giving me motivation to walk a bit faster. Cheering has been said by someone named Joseph Addison as “kind of daylight in the mind.” Our minds are full of daylight because we are dancers. This is so true. We may be mostly dancing actually in the twilight or nighttime but our lives are full of sunshine because of the daylight of the mind. We are advancing our selves on and also doing it for our friends and associates at the dance studio.

That is what we dancers must always do. We must encourage, enlighten, enchant
and epitomize what we dancing people do. We must welcome our new visitors to the studio or hall and we must show them that we are E people. We are excited to be dancers, we must embrace them as new dancers, and we must emerge as their mentors when they come and lastly we must have them expand their desire to continue on. So entertaining, emboldening, encouraging, enlightening, enchanting, epitomizing is what we should show them our beloved dancing is to us and will become to them. E people are
especially excellent and exceed and eclipse what is thought about us seniors. We were in our younger days great and now we are continuing that on.

Asian people are known for revering their elders and appreciating them and honoring them even as they age more. That is what we now seniors can expect from our self, the notion that we are still better and we can enlarge and expand on that concept. We are
eminent emissaries of later life and what we can affect. People climb mountains in different ways and still reach the top. Ballroom dancers reach the pinnacle every time they go out and dance. The high point is our zenith.

Keep on Dancing Always

November 2008


Published by René Zgraggen
Montgomery, AL