EVERYONE!  Gather ’round like we did last summer.

O, that’s right, Chubby Checker not withstanding- we didn’t gather ’round that summer, did we?

If only I had known that at 65 years of age I’d look like Andy Warhol–I might have lived my life a bit differently.

First, I’d have accepted the stranger’s invitation to waltz in the cafe at Victoria Station in London in 1974.  He was dancing by himself, people, in the middle of the U shaped cafe to the piped in music.  All of us seated on the round tables were trying to pretend we didn’t see him until he waltzed over to my table and extended his hand like Fred Astaire and my head started spinning like Linda Blair in “The Exorcist”.

Even if he was out on a day pass, what harm could I have possibly done to myself by dancing with him?  I was getting on my train back to Germany in minutes. He was going to be twirling by himself forever.

But, no, I just wordlessly shook my head and looked at my table top as if it was one of The Dead Sea Scrolls.

Now, here on this beautiful spring day as I look at my containers and anticipate the cascading heliotrope and the smell of vanilla, I realize that 35 plus years later that I also twirl alone.

I can’t waltz anymore but I still twirl from time to time.

Here’s a video-twirl, Pappy style.

Miss Mary Comes to Visit.

©Pat Coakley 2010


**Select photographs from this blog and my wider archive can be purchased at

16 comments on “Twirling”

  1. Yup, channeling Andy Warhol, all right…. Funny how there are always things like dancing in the cafe that we might have done differently — and might have changed our lives. After all, you could have danced, and missed your train.

  2. “looked at my table top as if it was one of The Dead Sea Scrolls”

    LOL! you kill me.

    I’m betting you don’t REALLY look like Andy Warhol, it’s just photoshop magic! I did enjoy your video and must say, I’m always surprised when I hear someone’s voice from blog-o-land. You didn’t sound like I expected you to sound.

    Maybe you sound like Andy Warhol too?

    • Indeed, Photoshop, Carol. But, I’m telling you the original was shockingly similar which gave me the idea in the first place!

  3. I like the treament to the photo.

    The video was also amusing. I have to admit though, I thought Mary was going to loose her ice cream.

    As for the regret for not getting up to dance and other such things, all I have to say is that there is much that I regret doing, due to my poor impulse control.

    As my old friend Omar once said,
    “The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

    • Razz, I was looking at her ice cream as she told the story as well! She pulled it back just in the nick of time. We are probably two ends of a spectrum..poor and strong impulse control…both may lead to some regrets. But, your friend Omar has it so right. We move on. Maybe as a result of our past choices in the future–you’ll have a tiny bit more impulse control and I’ll have a tad less?

  4. this is just fabulous. the picture, the video and the writing. you have a great sense of humor mixed all in with your creativity and are as astute with words as you are with a lens and also wih PS. photoshop, not peppermint stick! omg, p’stick was the ONLY flavor i ever got at hojos back in the day, but it was very very pink then, mary’s looks creamy whitish but i have seen it both ways. hurray for peppermint stick! yum. mary is precious.
    the scene in victoria station is a classic. i can relate. isnt it interesting the way certain random events stay with us, become part of our story. you never know what/who might be influencing or making an impression that lasts. or who will hang an unusual ornament on the tree of life.

    • You know, tipota, I am just (as we speak) trying to describe to myself what I do….I think I’ll just take your description, complete with adjectives? Would that be so so wrong? Ah, of course, it would be but it’s fun to think about doing it. Let’s toast to those unusual ornaments on the tree of life!

  5. I actually heard that Andy Warhol looked at a photo of himself and declared that he was channeling Pat Coakley. I believe that was when his most prolific period began.
    We can retrospectively fill our lives with should haves and could haves and what the heck were we fearful of? That we’d have a spontaneously good time? Make ourselves look jerky?
    Good that you’re spending your days with Mary because that little sprout will make your head and your body twirl.

    • Looking jerky…isn’t that the truth? The funny thing is most folks aren’t really paying attention to what we do! Little Miss 7 year sister Kate arrives this weekend. She’s already requested to go back to the Decordova Museum Art and Sculpture Park that I took her to two years ago! Yea! I’m doing something right if I can bring some art into their sweet lives!

  6. Life is too short not to take the chance and dance once in a while: … but most people seem to think there are endless opportunities for some reason.
    Why do people think that?
    I guess that is another reason why it makes us human.

    As my great uncle said, “Use what Mother Nature gives you before Father Time takes it away.”

    • PR, Even as an older person, I still feel that endless opportunities thing right up till I have to sit down and write the long term care insurance check quarterly which tends to sober me up to future realities of those endless opportunities.

  7. Yes, you should twirl. :o) Laughter, joy….it adds a nice light to a face. It says, “I am confident and I twirl because I have so much joy and love in my life.”

  8. I can’t believe I’ve fallen so far behind in keeping up with you :) You inspire me so much that I am forgetting that its nearly 6am & I should sleep. A dose of you was just what I needed to maybe finish the backlog of photos I have.
    Thanks :)

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