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Seniors dance to tunes of youth

One day back in the early 1970s, then-Lincolnton Recreation director Betty G. Ross was asked to teach square dancing to the elderly.
“We didn’t have enough men dancing back then, so some of the women had to wear painters hats and act like men,” said Ross.
That was the birth of the weekly event where seniors gather every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. to dance, reminisce and laugh about old times.
Mary Crafton started coming to the dances 20 years ago with her first husband. Now she comes from Hickory with her second husband, Howard.
“The appeal is the people. I love the people,” said Crafton. “They’re like brothers and sisters.”
Once per month, the group has a pot luck lunch to celebrate birthdays.
“Everyone lines up to give the birthday people a kiss,” said Ross.
Anywhere between 16 to 20 people, couples and singles, gather for dancing. One of the group’s favorite artists is the late Hank Williams Jr.
Crafton says that nobody dances alone in their seniors group.
“If a woman doesn’t have a dance partner, the men will dance with them. Even if the men are married,” she said.
This past Tuesday, is was Beulah Reynolds’ 83rd birthday.
“I’m prepared to get kissed by everybody,” she said.
Gathal Eaker, 83, sums up what it means for the seniors who participate in the weekly dance.
“It’s a place to have fun, get together and enjoy life a little bit,” she said. by Jon Mayhew

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