This weekend, I partook in a way of life that is slowly fading away, as more country roads become big highways and more corn fields become parking lots: a barn dance.
I went to lots of events like this when I was little, except they were held at a small rural town hall. They served as family reunions for the adults; they gave me the excuse to eat too many rosettes and spin in circles like a maniac. For hours.
I loved going to those events, despite the cheek pinches from people I didn't know and the long drive there and back. I usually wore a dress my mom had made for me, with a pair of frilly socks - back when pink was my favorite color.
My family provided the music for these events, as they did at this weekend's dance. Back then, there were a maximum of five or six musicians at once; this weekend, there were between five and ten. (Not pictured here are the ladies who played mandolin later on.) There was even a caller for the square dances.
The only ones I knew in the band at this event were my cousin (on the piano) and my grandpa (right where the lights come together in the middle). I'm sure I was related to everyone there, but these were distant relatives.
One of my favorite things was seeing so many people dance the polka. I spent most of the night standing on the sidelines, feeling more shy than usual and too awkward to jump onto the dance floor (which was specially installed for this evening). But I did end up doing a bizarre city-girl version of the polka with my sister, and a waltz with Papa Neal.
If these dances could happen every month - or even a couple of times in a summer - you certainly wouldn't hear me complain.