My dad has taken up Zumba. He attends his beloved sessions every Thursday without fail.
This time next year, he will be eighty and his class is called ‘Zumba Ladies’. Aw bless him.
My family had several ‘concerns’ over his recent past time, so when I visited my parents during the Easter holidays, I thought I’ve got to see this for myself. – I’m going to join him.
I wasn’t sure what to wear and not wanting to appear more ridiculously clad than my dear pa, I opted for full length leggings, long sleeve top under tee shirt and a cardigan draped around my waist to hide my skinny legs.
When we arrived, my emotions were a mixture of excitement and nervousness as several seriously-healthy looking, determined young ladies flew up the stairs with rolled up mats under their arms.
I decided to avoid all eye contact and quickly stared out the landing window so my fear of inadequacy would not show.
Thankfully, it turned out that a Pilates class was held in the room adjacent to ours.
By this time, Dad had disappeared, so with only one visible door next to the fit stretchers, I cautiously entered a large room laden with floor to ceiling mirrors. I remembered a notice that I had spotted posted to the downstairs window of the gym when we arrived. It said “Hold nothing back’. Oh dear.
I was relieved to discover that most of the women were older than me and many were novices. It was also comforting to learn that there is another elderly man who attends regularly with no more concern about the session title than my father.
The music began and as the instructor smiled at her reflection, the rest of us grimaced. Strategically placed right at the back, I could see that everyone was struggling to keep up.
Dad was quite good for his age and had far more stamina than me.
But like his exercise-hating daughter, no-one seemed to know their left from their right. It was plain to see that we’d all be hopeless at a Scottish Ceilidh.
After each track, the Colombian man inside the speakers seemed to get more and more impassioned and what started off as a cheerful lady guiding us to wave our arms to his singing, ended in dramatic waist-thrusting bogles. I couldn’t look – not even at myself.
To be honest, I left the class feeling rather sad. Owing to my mum’s rapidly deteriorating health, my dad doesn’t get to do any outdoor activities with her and being the gregarious, sanguine soul that he is, this is stifling for him. But, there are no male friends to go to those events with, so he settles for looking a tad silly by engaging in things such as Zumba Ladies. He’s just terribly lonely and I desperately hoped that the females were not laughing at him behind his back.
God promises to set the lonely in families, but sometimes those ‘relatives’ are hard to find.