I believe that days of yore were better than the days of now. Yore had gypsies, itinerant peddlers that came to one’s door with all manner of interesting stolen goods; there were hobos who had special symbols that they painted on one’s gateposts and stiles.

Today, nothing doing. We have just one gypsy. Granted, it’s Johnny Depp, and he’s the hottest man ever invented, but he’s about it. The door to door peddlers are long gone, the last one selling Fuller brushes—no stolen silver from the mansion up the lane. Hobos have become extinct, and the only ones painting anything on gate posts these days are gangs and the occasional brilliant artist like Banksy, but it somehow isn’t the same.

In the olden days, people did fun things, because no one had many books, the Kindle and iPods/Pads weren’t around, and the gamers did it with cards and chips. There were card games like Whist, and my great grandmother played Pinochle. When people got suddenly elated, they danced a “gay tarantella.” Or maybe only the gypsies did it, but non-gypsies did quadrilles, Morris Dancing, swung around a few Maypoles, and the French people did what looked like elaborate square dancing in mirrored ballrooms wearing powdered wigs.

We’re just way too casual or lazy now. One or the other. If I had to powder myself, glue on heart shaped beauty marks, and then go out to a huge drafty room to march around with men in tight pants, I wouldn’t want to work myself up to going. But I am sure that once I got there, I would be entranced. I hear candlelight is extremely flattering to women my age. And when I got tired, I could have Sherry, or Champagne to cool down, and play Whist. Doesn’t Whist just sound so very calming?

These days, for entertainment, we put our sneakers on and go to the movies. We sit there in the dark, chomping on popcorn, and WATCH Johnny Depp gypsy around. We observe the tarantella. We live vicariously. And we get flabby.

I asked my husband what he thought about this, and he replied, “Well, I am not sure if anyone around here gives tarantella lessons, but you could look in the yellow pages.” I got a little exuberant, but then quickly deflated when he also added, “If you find a class, and we take it—what then? Will you be having “Tarantella Nights” here at the house? Do you think any of our arthritic friends would come? And what would we serve? Macarons?”

He made his point. But as I dragged my flabby body up the stairs, I tried a few what seemed like “gay tarantellish” steps. Now I have swelling around my kneecaps.

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