Brody: You do the Hokey Pokey and…

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Do you remember the children’s song that went, “Put your left foot in, you put your left foot out, you put your left foot in and you shake it all about. Do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about?”

In Rochester, Minnesota, I saw a bumper sticker that said, “What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it is all about?” It struck me funny at first and then it got me to thinking.

What is a Hokey Pokey anyway? It seems to be a body movement, a dance maybe and what does the “it” refer to?

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I think “it” refers to one’s life experiences.

To me, that bumper sticker asks the question of what if life really is random, silly, meaningless? Personally, I do not believe that.

I guess some people manage to dance through life. Turning ourselves around, laughing at life.

However, for most of us, life is a series of challenges and problems that require us to think, to feel, to fall to our knees in humility.

I doubt the Hokey Pokey does any of these things.

The last day we were at Mayo Clinic we saw an elderly man in a wheel chair being pushed by an elderly woman who was totally blind. Just imagine that.

He was telling her where to go and she had the courage to follow his directions even though she could not see and she only had a metal cane to feel her way.

That took courage and trust.

Doing the Hokey Pokey does not require courage or resilience. Life requires both.

When we arrived at the little Rochester airport to fly the first leg of our trip home to Kentucky, we were told there was no plane available to take us. It was the first day of the North West Airlines strike.

But before any of the 30 people felt too stranded, it was announced a bus would arrive to drive us the two hours to the Twin Cities for connecting flights. It looked more and more likely we would miss the next plane as well.

Wouldn’t you think some of those 30 travelers would have gotten testy, tense, ugly even? Not one person did so.

In fact, the people began to talk to each other, offer to watch the children involved, and make calls for people without cellphones to alert those meeting our flights. General good will and kindness prevailed.

Do you think performing the Hokey Pokey takes compassion, caring, going the extra mile for others? No, but life does.

Maybe the Hokey Pokey does ask for a sense of humor and laughter but life requires them both.

Among those on the bus and hurrying through the huge airports in the Twin Cities to make connection was a young pretty mother with 5-year-old twins. They were tired and they were not about to cooperate by holding hands.

As we walked behind them, a wheel came off one of her two large pieces of luggage. I saw the mother’s face and knew she had finally reached the end of her patience.

I just caught up with them, took the broken suitcase out of the mother’s hands and, leaving Gene behind temporarily, helped to get that little family to the right plane.

Believe me, it was no big deal, but the fact someone was open to the needs of another and stepped in and helped that frazzled mom is the way life works, not the Hokey Pokey.

I don’t think doing the Hokey Pokey teaches us anything about the way life really works.

The bumper sticker, with it’s silly simplicity, was actually a profound question, one we might ponder but, let me say this: there is nothing wrong with dancing the Hokey Pokey.

The view from the mountain is wondrous.

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in the Sun for more than 25 years.