The Long, Long Winters

PATRICIA: To start, a confession: I have NO natural ability for dancing. None. Zero. I inherited my Dad’s rhythm. He had NONE. He used to take my Mom dancing before they were married. Afterwards, he said, “Thank god I don’t have to do that anymore!” Turns out, he always hated it, but it was part of his “courting” ritual.

BUT… I first got interested in dance about a zillion years ago, while living in a Northern Alberta town. (Fort McMurray, as it happens. I hope they come back from this horrible fire! There is even a street named after my Dad there. We lived there for 22 years, starting back when they had no TV, no radio, only a winter road out of town, no paved roads or sidewalks, and only the Edmonton Journal, which we received one day late. Yes, we had electricity, but the tap water was brown and smelled like rust and/or sulphur. We learned good coping skills.)

The winters were long and cold—not Vancouver cold—freeze-your-lungs-in-under-5-seconds cold. We had to breathe through scarves. We were always looking for things to do to help get us through the winters. DANCE was one of the things we found. Sometimes, class was canceled because nobody in town could start their cars, despite having them plugged in to prevent the batteries from freezing. At -60F with windchill (IT FELT LIKE -100!), nothing works!

When we could, we danced!  (Okay, maybe this is not a photo of me and my Mom, but we thought we looked like this!)