Something in way a 2-year-old moves gets everyone going

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We used to go out dancing, my husband and I. We still do on occasion, though not so much anymore. I'm not sure why.

He's an editor by day, but a bass player by heart. You know how it is with musicians. With them, the music never stops. It's always playing somewhere, if only in their minds.

One of the perks of living in Las Vegas (besides being able to eat sushi at 6 a.m., if you can think of a reason to do so) is there are endless opportunities to hear the kind of music that makes you want to dance.

However, it usually requires getting off one's recliner, so to speak, to go out to a place that is (a) loud; (b) smoky; or (c) all of the above and then some.

Loud and smoky is not my idea of a good time. I avoid it, if I can. Except for family reunions or a chance to hear any of my favorite musicians, such as the Rolling Stones or Lyle Lovett or the guys my husband plays with every chance he gets.

I am picky that way.

But on New Year's Eve in the Entertainment Capital of the World, with all sorts of ways to party, we stayed home.

Why? We felt like it. It was going to be a quiet evening, just the two of us, plus a few special guests: my daughter, her husband and their 2-year-old, Henry, who were visiting for a few days from California.

We'd have an early dinner, watch a little TV. Then, just before midnight, we'd bundle up, jump in the car and drive up the hill for a panoramic view of the fireworks on the famed Las Vegas Strip, in relative safety and sanity some 10 miles away.

That was the plan. Imagine our surprise to end up dancing.

I blame Henry. You know how it is with 2-year-olds. They never pass up a chance to party.

For Christmas, my husband had given him "Madagascar," a movie that celebrates two of the things Henry loves best: animals and music.

After dinner, Henry wanted to watch it. So we did, and he named every animal in the film, including some I didn't know.

When the movie's theme song began to play ("I like to move it, move it! I like to move it, move it!") Henry began to dance.

I wish you could've seen him.

I wish you could've seen us, too, when we began dancing with him. You know how it is with parents and grandparents. If it's good for the 2-year-old, it's good for everybody, no matter how goofy it may look.

Then we drove up the hill for fireworks.

Late that night, while Henry and his parents and his Papa Mark slept, I lay awake thinking about my grandparents.

I recall, as a child, seeing them slow dance in the kitchen to music that played only in their minds. They kissed a lot, too, I thought, for old people with false teeth. But you know how it is with lovers. They never need an excuse to kiss or dance.

The day after New Year's, Henry and his parents went home to California, and Papa Mark went back to work. And it got really quiet in my house.

There are different kinds of quiet. I like some of them a lot. I didn't like this one much at all.

Maybe next weekend, we'll get off our recliners and go out to some loud and smoky place to hear great music and dance until we drop, a good 10 minutes, if we're lucky.

Or maybe we'll stay home, laugh like 2-year-olds and bust some moves to "Madagascar."

Who knows? We might even slow dance a little in the kitchen to music no one else can hear.

That's how it is with dancing. It doesn't matter where you are or how goofy you may look; makes no difference if you're young or old, with your favorite partner, a conga line of strangers or entirely on your own.

All that matters is you keep the music playing -- the kind that makes you want to dance -- and that you never stop.

Sharon Randall is a columnist for McClatchy-Tribune News Service (www.sharonrandall.com).


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