Dancing at Anna's Arbor

The big doors opened. A twirling, graceful, dark-haired lady moved across the floor in a bewitching waltz, which, in a very few minutes, became a Paso Doble and then the great Carolina shag.

Her name is Terri Bird, and her partner is Roy. He is the one who breaks the steps and changes the tempo with the ease of a fluid drive in a 1949 Chrysler.

They shift their rhythm with the grace and magic of professional dancers. Her shoes adapt to a pointed toe when she "Tiptoes through the Tulips" and then become "jazzy" when the majesty of Benny Goodman's clarinet fills the room.

Indeed, there were big "doings" at Anna's Arbor last Friday night, and they'll be repeated every Friday night until it becomes a habit.

It is a lovely thought to ponder. Imagine dancing in Chester every Friday night. The women can dress in graceful skirts and then shag, waltz, or twist in a stylish manner with the gentleman of their choice, just like it used to be.

Remember dancing at the beach as a teen? Certainly you recall Glenn Miller's "American Patrol" rolling over the sound waves or "Muscle Throat," Vaughn Monroe, crooning his way into outer space as he romanced us with "Ghost Riders of the Sky?"

We did not worry about who was president and how the Congress voted. What was retirement? We loved Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey and Claude Thornhill, who tinkled his way over piano keys.

A song, "Skylark," still teases my memory, as does the late Frank Sinatra telling us about "Barkley Square." I took my daughter to London in the 1970s and, with my scratchy voice, sang the first few lines of that song, under a big tree in the square, and I didn't hear one nightingale (although Sinatra assured me that he did).

Well, it just goes to show you, it is all in whom you know.

In addition to the dancing, Anna's Arbor will be open on Sundays for lunch. Just think of it, no going home to the slow cooker. Really, Sunday dinner is a fact that has been romanticized by writers, but I do not think writers were the one who cooked dinner.

It was stressful, those Sunday mornings. Get the children up, dressed and ready to carry all they needed for Sunday school. Put together what you were going to wear and then rush to the kitchen to make sure whatever you were going to serve for Sunday dinner was safely cooking in the oven or was waiting to be reheated. Out the door, see that everyone had their money for the collection and their Bibles, only to discover that the car battery was dead. Remain calm and gracious and smile your way to stardom on a typical day of rest.

That's not the Sunday portrayed by the storytellers. Those days, according to them, were just blissful, and everything in life moved smoothly while the mother and father smiled and the children crooned verses of scripture. Well, again, it is all in whom you know.

People keep singing the sad tales of Chester, but this Pollyanna sees a brighter side. What can be bad about a small town where on Friday night we can go to the Arbor, dance to music that we listened to years ago, have a big dinner or a light supper and a glass of wine?

True, in the past we had handsome partners. Some of us no longer have that gift, but we have an adventurous spirit and hope -- there is always hope. We can dream about being asked to dance and then see ourselves rising gracefully from the chair and floating into the arms of some farmer from down Landsford's way. Oh, well, again, it is all in whom you know.

I saw it last week: Cornwell Stone put his arms around Regina and they boogied just as they had boogied at the beach eons ago. Honestly, they looked wonderful and seemed to be having an extraordinary time. Ruth Whitman danced with Roy Bird, the professional dancer, clockmaker and old car aficionado, as if they had been waltzing together for years.

Arbor owners Karen Hutto and her daughter, Anna, will make your Sundays more peaceful and your Friday nights more fun. I will tell you, we did not get the big industrial contract, and we are moving our county offices, but there are two things that are sure to bring joy: You can "two-step" on Friday evenings and have lunch at Anna's Arbor on Sunday.

The good times just keep on rollin.'