Cut Loose on a Saturday Afternoon


“I like the way you dance,” he said to me that Saturday afternoon.

Margo and I had gone to Vino Godfather, a cool little winery in an old Victorian house on Mare Island in Vallejo. The island used to be a naval base, judging from the abandoned barracks on the way to the winery. A good band was playing there that day, and I needed to get to bed early so I could get up and sing with my chorus on Sunday afternoon.

I’ve heard that line before, about the way I dance. Dancing has been a big part of my life, from the time I was fourteen and insisted on taking ballroom dance lessons, until now.  I follow a bunch of local bands through their Music in the Park performances, and all the way to Felton in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Cut Loose, The Groove Doctors, Lumberyard, The Sun Kings, The House Rockers, The Big Jangle, Pride and Joy, The Fundamentals, Stealin’ Chicago, Majestic, The Cheeseballs — the list goes on and on. There’s a lot of musical talent in the Bay Area, even if some of their names are a little weird.

In the summer, a person can dance five nights a week to live music somewhere within fifteen miles from home. In the winter, it gets harder to find live music, and then it’s usually starts at 9:00 or 9:30 p.m. and ends at midnight or later. That works on New Year’s Eve, but not so much the rest of the winter.

If sixty is the new forty, then 9:00 p.m. is the new midnight. In other words, it’s too late for us old farts to start dancing at 9:00 p.m.  The two o’clock start time seemed much friendlier last Saturday afternoon.

With a glass of good Chardonnay in my hand and a room full of people to watch (mostly women), I was ready to enjoy the three hours of music. The house was filled with mahogany carvings on the staircase and door frames, the band set up right inside the front door. The wide foyer-hallway became the dance floor, and in no time twenty people, about half of the crowd, was out there, grooving to the bluesy sound of Cut Loose.

The lead singer, a perky blonde in a petticoat, taffeta skirt and a tiny midriff-baring black top, makes the band work. The rest of the guys are good musicians but not flashy, with their adorable alto dumpling front and center singing her heart out. After my first glass was gone, I, too, joined the dancers on the wood floor. Good thing I brought my manly wingtips with the leather soles.

Margo bought me a second glass of wine, and now I was really feeling the beat.  She took off (went outside) with a guy from LA, and I stayed put, grooving to the grooving.

Then Margo reappeared on the dance floor and told me the LA guy had left.  We were soon joined by a tall guy in a striped shirt, who walked up and busted a move. Actually he danced like most guys, arms down, feet moving just enough to call it dancing instead of loitering.

“I like the way you dance,” he said to me before handing me his business card.

If only I had a quarter for every time I’ve heard that, I’d have a lot of quarters.

If he only knew how old I am. Still it’s fun to get my dancing therapy whenever I can.

I filed away the business card until next time Cut Loose is close by. I think it’s one of those nine till midnight venues. This old lady will have to take an afternoon nap.

Couldda Wouldda Shouldda

I should’ve ventured out to Mare Island long before I did.

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