Monday, 15 October 2012

Barn Dance

So what else have we done lately in real life?  We attended a 'barn dance' (that's what they called it) in support of Seaton Sluice Community Centre.  Bill's friends in the Long Distance Walkers' Association were selling tickets.

I've written about this sort of event before, only they called it a ceilidh (KAY-lee).  That's an Irish word used to describe this sort of dance, only it originally meant any social gathering.  The old Irish céle meant 'companion'.  Americans would call this a square dance; the music is about the same and you have a caller who walks you through each dance first without the music.  Your job is to remember the sequence of steps!  Given the origins I feel fairly certain that my Irish-Scots ancestors will have skipped about like this occasionally. 

We sat with the few people Bill knew; they greeted us warmly and before I knew it I was chatting to people around me. 

The tickets included the dance and food:  hot dogs, corn on the cob and a mix of cold salads.  People brought their own drinks. 

I forget how much fun these are until we go to one.  I was a little reticent about going, thinking we wouldn't know anyone, but at these fund raising functions it doesn't really matter about knowing people.  Folks are friendly and inclusive and the evening flies past. 

I don't remember much of any community centres like these in the States.  You could get involved with school functions or at church.  There was the YMCA for kids.  I know in the 40s there were dance halls, but my Dad was never much of a dancer.  The local bar was a place Mom and Daddy went to hang out and play shuffle board with friends.  Community centres are sometimes attached to local churches and perhaps called the Parish Hall.  They are used to play bingo, to put on children's activities, for various groups to rent for meetings, as a general place for people to gather.  They are an important part of British social life and we were glad to support one.  And even gladder to get to dance. 

Are there community centres where you live? 


Rick Stone said...

:Are there community centers where you live?"

Yep. Many of the small towns in Oklahoma have them. The one down in Byars, where Dad grew up and where many family members are buried in the cemetery, is used almost daily. Senior citizen meals during the week at noon, town gatherings, etc. This is where the Stone's hold their family reunions.

Here in Warr Acres the community center has something going on almost every day. The bigger cities don't tend to have these places because they would compete with the commercial restaurants and clubs. In the small towns the community center is about the only thing there and is the center of community activities.

Shelley said...

Rick - I'm so pleased to hear that smaller town / suburbs manage to have community centres! I never met one, growing up in Oklahoma City, though The Village may well have had one I just didn't know about. When I was at work the term 'community' was thrown around a lot, but of course I was so busy working I didn't have any real experience of the concept. I'm just now finding out about where I live. Sad to have to wait until retirement, though I suspect having small children gets one involved at another level.