Dean Rich, a resident of Pratt Road, started square dancing in Batavia 60 years ago. He's danced in California, Arizona and Florida and remembers the time he danced to a caller from Alaska.
"I enjoy it because you meet so many interesting people," Rich said.
As if to prove it, he told an engaging story about himself. Now age 88, he's retired from MY-T Acres farm where he spent most of his farming career, invested his money wisely and was able to quit 28 years ago.
"I was working for my uncle for $50 a week and Bob hired me for $55 a week," Rich said. "Plus, I didn't have to come in until seven and I got a pig. Bob's dad said, 'You're paying him too much,' because the guy I replaced was making only $35 a week."
Rich and his wife had been married four years when a neighbor invited them to their first square dance, and soon they were regulars and including square dancing in all their travels. They were together 64 years. Rich took some time off while she was ill, but after she passed, he couldn't stay away from square dancing. He just enjoys it too much.
"There are so many interesting people and you never meet anybody who's rowdy," Rich said. "You cannot drink and do this, when you really get to square dancing."
Rich is one of 24 members of the Silver Stars, who gather every Monday at the VA Center in Batavia.
It's one of at least 15 clubs in Western New York, said caller and Buffalo resident Bill Ryan, who started calling 52 years ago at age 14.
"It's just a whole lot of fun," he said.
It's also good exercise, Ryan said, and, he agreed, you meet some great people.
Jean McCoy (top photo) said she would go stir crazy if she had to stay home, so she square dances to keep herself active.
"Truthfully, I like the outfits," she whispered when asked what she likes about square dancing, but then added, "I like the camaraderie. You have to be out and be around people when you live alone, otherwise you'll wind up in the psych ward."
The age range of the club runs the spectrum and the youngest dancer at Monday night's club gathering was 7-year-old Caylin Perry, of Batavia. Caylin was too shy to tell us why she likes square dancing. She just said she does. She looked like she was having fun.