Yes, a real supermarket with produce and a meat department and canned goods on the shelves. Wegman's supermarket, to be specific, up by Baytown plaza in Webster, New York.
And no, I don't mean just dancing through the aisles -- I mean real dancing. Swing dancing, the waltz, the mambo...in a supermarket.
You see, my mom and dad have been asking us to come up every Friday night for the past several months, but something always gets in the way. And really, who wants to go to a supermarket to dance? Well, after last night? I do!
To understand why, you need to know a little about Wegman's. It's been voted one the Best Companies to Work For by Fortune magazine for the past several years, coming in at #3 for the past two years (it's been in the top five for eight years running). Yes, it's a supermarket, but it's also an experience. Just ask Alex Baldwin and his mom. I won't go on extolling the virtues of the store because, if you live near one, you already know and if you don't live near one...here's hoping you will someday!
Anyway, at the Wegman's up at Baytown, they have a large area for their Market Cafe. They sell all sorts of already-prepared foods (Asian, pizza, chicken wings, soups,subs, salads, even sushi!) and you can either make your purchase and take it home, or you can eat in their dining area. The first time I went to a supermarket for dinner I will admit, I felt a little odd. But the food is freshly made (often right in front of you) and is actually better than some "regular" restaurants I've been to.
Several months ago, this particular Wegman's started offering live music by Johnny Matt and his combo (he has a full swing band, but only brings a small group to perform on these Friday nights). The Powers That Be at Wegman's rearranged the tables and made a dance floor -- and people have been coming ever since. The band (which is terrific, by the way), plays swing and pop music from the 40's and 50's -- a lot of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and songs originally sung by Dean Martin, Sinatra, Como and others (if you've read "One Last Dance" in my Timeless Love anthology, you'll realize Glenn Miller and I go way back. And if you haven't read it, what are you waiting for?
Not only did my husband and I have a great time last night, so did about 50 other couples. The two of us did bring down the median age on the floor, but my glory, can some of those older folks dance! Most of them put us to shame. So many with hunched backs and more than one of them with a walker, got out on that floor and looked great. And of course, the solo woman in her fishnet stockings, all dressed up and by herself who wasn't going to let the lack of a dance partner stop her. She wove in and out of the couples all by herself, enjoying the music and light on her feet --and nearly 80 years old. She was terrific!
Robert Fulghum wrote a wonderful book called "All You Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" and followed that up with "It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It." To understand this woman, you should read his piece on "Geek Dancing". She fit it to a "T" -- even to the strappy shoes she wore.
So yes, last night my husband took me dancing at the supermarket -- and I'm going to make him take me again. Soon!
Here's to dancing -- play safe :)