Our family gathered this past Sunday to celebrate our sons' birthdays. Miles and Cole are unique in that both were born on March 5, three years apart. It's always been a big day in our house, as you can imagine.
We enjoyed a great dinner and lots of laughs and memories at the Madison Chophouse in Madison, Georgia. When the meal was finished, I volunteered to let Hazel, our almost three year old granddaughter, walk around a bit before her parents strapped her into a car seat. So, we left everyone at the table and hit the sidewalk outside the restaurant.
We walked together in front of the restaurant, taking in the sights on a quiet Sunday evening. The Chophouse sits on the corner of two streets, so we turned and meandered along the side of the building in an outside dining area that was unoccupied at the time. The wall featured several large windows facing out to the street and the sidewalk. Upbeat music was playing from a couple of speakers placed high on the wall above us.
Hazel began to bounce and dance the instant she heard the tune. This didn't surprise me as she was responding to music long before she crawled, walked, or talked. The girl has got some rhythm.
"They've got some jam going, don't they, Hazel?" I asked.
She bobbed her head and swayed a little as we walked hand in hand. We went back in front of the restaurant, stood to watch a car or two, and then she was ready to get moving again.
"Let's go back to the jam, Hubbie!" she commanded, tugging at my arm.
Any grandparent knows exactly where we went.
And she started swaying and bobbing and dancing again.
"Let's dance, Hubbie!" she exclaimed.
She has no idea that her grandfather, a man less than three weeks from being 60 years old, is embarrassed to the point of near terror at the prospect of anyone seeing him dancing. It goes back, I'm guessing, to some trauma in middle or high school, and a therapist would have a Field Day poking around in my mind and my memories to discover its root cause. I'm sure taking months of Square Dance lessons in 6th grade didn't help matters, but I'm not paying good money to figure out why I don't want to boogie in front of people.
"Dance with me, Hubbie!" she says.
I glance through the windows and see that the tables are filled with diners, all of whom are staring straight at me every time they look up from their plates. I'm back in middle school; my palms are sweating; my heart is racing. I seriously want to run to the truck and hide. But then I look down and see those eyes, that smile, that face so filled with joy . . .
I shuffle my feet. I bounce my head and wave my arms a little. I lift her hand and she spins. We hold hands and sway back and forth and she spins again, beaming and laughing the whole time.
There in Madison, Georgia, on a warm spring evening, I danced on a sidewalk in front of a whole restaurant. Oh, the things we do for love!