I’m not much for dancing. I can’t seem to keep up with the moves and my mind-to-body coordination isn’t the greatest.

But, I like to watch other people dance, provided it’s clean and in good taste. I saw a nice example of that Saturday evening at Malabar Farm in Ohio’s Richland County.

The first night of the annual Ohio Heritage Days celebration, the staff and volunteers held the annual Heritage Barn Dance inside the beautifully restored loft of the big white barn.

The farm — if you’re not familiar — is now an Ohio State Parks property and is famous for its previous owner, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, farmer and conservationist Louis Bromfield.

The place has a history all of its own, and Bromfield’s books and philosophies have received worldwide attention.

I have been to Malabar many times before and studied the history and toured “The Big House” where the author lived. The huge white house was made famous in part for holding the wedding of actor Humphrey Bogart to actress Lauren Becall in 1945, and holding various social gatherings with other notable people.

You can read more about Bromfield and Malabar here. But the main reason I went there Saturday was to relax. There’s something refreshing about fiddle playing mixed in with some folk-songs and a group of people dancing on a wooden barn floor.

Or, at least to me there is. I sometimes like a little time away from the television and computer. I didn’t see a single person sending out a text message or checking their Facebook at the dance, and sometimes that kind of a break is nice.

Instead, they were busy holding hands and promenading, swinging their partners and each other and trying to keep up with the various moves required for each dance.

Some of the songs dated back to at least the 1930s, and I imagine some were much older. Still, it seemed like all ages had a good time getting involved. I had a good time just watching, and eating cookies and drinking coffee — the proceeds of which went toward upkeep of the farm and buildings.

The beef cattle outside the barn didn’t seem to know what to think. Mostly, they just stood in their places and eyed the crowd, probably waiting for it all to end and they could get some sleep.

I don’t think I could handle folk music every night. In fact, I know I couldn’t! But every once in a while — especially on a crisp fall night at an historical place like Malabar — it sounds pretty darn good.

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties.
Chris Kick
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