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As my elderly mother and I entered the tiny mall, music of a bygone era greeted us.

Walking towards the sound of brassy trumpets, much to my surprise, we discovered a live full band belting out the song, encircled by people of all ages. Well-played music crosses generations.

My mother, who’d been an accomplished dancer, traced swing steps beside me as she began to rhythmically sway with her invisible partner.

Across the circle, an elderly man moved slowly with that same knowing movement, his feet held high.

Shyly, raising her eyes beyond the circle to look this stranger fully in the face, she poised a lifted hand, and extended it towards him.

With regret registering on his face, he slowly shook his head.

My mother understood.

It can be a challenge to dance detailed swing steps with an aged body, especially when the male elderly partner now sits in a wheelchair.

But proficient dancers never forget the steps or the pleasure of movement.

Never leaving his eyes, my mother maintained her lifted hand, smiled at him, and with an almost imperceptible nod, moved her body forward in the first step of the swing, and, closed her eyes.

Surprised, he moved his hand high to met hers, and, closed his eyes.

Transported to a place within their memories, they danced with well-known style and grace. Hands elegantly moving to a long-loved song, they danced together within a place of remembrance.

As the song ended, he opened his enlivened eyes to hers and slightly bowed.

dancing old man old woman like Fred Astaire Ginger Rogers

Within every older person exists all they have experienced in living life.

Within my memories, my mother will always be dancing.

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