Peter Shelton

Celebrate, come on!

Posted in Uncategorized by pshelton on February 15, 2021

A mini speaker near the lift shack played “Celebration” by Kool and The Gang. We stood in line, masks up, faces obscured, socially and maybe emotionally and even a little suspiciously distanced from the skiers and riders around us. 

And Nicholas danced. 

He looked to be in his early 20s, couldn’t have been born yet in 1981 when that funky dance groove hit Number 1. Though he, too, was masked up, and it was hard to tell his age. 

Nicholas – so his name tag read – was in charge of the lift line, calling out “Front row!” when it was time for the next wave to shuffle forward toward the turnstiles. In his sky blue Mt. Bachelor lift-op jacket he might have been indistinguishable from the other blue jackets raking snow, loading chairs. But he set himself apart with a floppy brimmed hat ala Bill Murray in “Caddyshack” and – and this is the important part – he could really dance. Not just bop along in place but really move, shoulders and hands, hips and feet, in seamless, swiveling, perfect time to the music. 

“Celebrate good times, come on!” Up and down the maze he pranced, pointing to the singles to slide on out (“Two singles!”), never putting a foot wrong, back straight, staying within himself, never quite inviting the crowd to join him. 

But we couldn’t help ourselves. People behind me started singing: “…we gonna celebrate and have a good time!” Other voices chimed in: “Let’s all celebrate and have a good time.” I found myself tapping my poles and bouncing up and down. 

I couldn’t take my eyes off Nicholas. I’ve never been a good dancer. Maybe it was a reaction against mandatory cotillion in junior high. Maybe I’m just a white guy without rhythm. I envied Nicholas his body ease, his unselfconsciousness. But standing there waiting my turn, involuntarily grinning (unseen, of course), fully infected by this man’s contagious expression, I felt the sun on my back (after days of stormy weather), felt the gratefulness that should flow on a day on a mountain of snow, and marveled that one guy, in a position of power no less (and Lord knows, there are enough grim-faced ones), had the ability to make scores of people feel that there was a party going on.