It's rare that my husband and I are the youngest people in a room. Any room.
But we stuck out like two arthritic thumbs at this year's McKee House Country Jamboree. Don't get me wrong; we aren't members of the Ladner seniors' centre, nor are we of the 55-plus persuasion.
We were just there as guests of my mom, who's both.
I anticipated a low-key affair - maybe some soft music and a little slow dancing. I also expected to while away the evening as an observer, smiling and clapping when appropriate, but staying well away from the dance floor whenever music played lest I be mistaken for someone who likes to dance and can actually move in time to a beat.
Little did we know - my mom neglecting to tell us - that one must come early to this annual uptown hoedown if one wants to hide out at the back of the room. To my horror, the only seats still available by the time we arrived were at the front next to the dance floor.
"Don't make eye contact," I whispered to my husband. No use.
Who do you think they wrangled for the square dance demonstration? And the waltz demonstration? And the Texas two-step demonstration? You guessed it - the only couple in sight still young enough to be hurt by Stephen Harper's increase to the age of eligibility for Old Age Security.
We provided endless comic relief as we muddled our way through complicated toe-taps, boot-stomps and dosey does. The whole time I kept thinking, "Mom, it should be you up here - you've got that new hip and everything." I told her so nearly every time we swooshed by her table in an awkward embrace.
Once, when we tried to waltz our way back to our chairs mid-song, the room erupted into a cacophony of raspy protest. We haven't being collectively called out like that in years - not since cheering for the Toronto Blue Jays at an Oakland A's home game.
So what was this evil place, this stealer of dignity, this taker of pride, this McKee House?
Of course I'm kidding - not about the whole dancing fiasco (that's completely and embarrassingly true), but about McKee House being anything less than a premier seniors' activity centre.
While we may have sustained a few bumps and scratches to our ego, to the hundreds of seniors who visit every day, McKee Seniors' Recreation Centre is nothing short of essential; a place to meet people and socialize, stay mentally and physically active, learn new things and, above all, have fun. There isn't enough room in this newspaper to list all the programs, services and opportunities offered by this member-driven facility. The bottom line is it makes a difference to my mom, and that makes a difference to me.
The B.C. government is in the process of gathering public input on the role and mandate of the new Office of the Seniors Advocate, which it hopes to have up and running by spring 2013. The advocate will speak for nearly 600,000 seniors.
I wish every community had a McKee House, and to that end I hope the seniors advocate has a chance to stop by some time and see what seniors are capable of. And if he visits on jamboree night, he ought to bring his dancing shoes.