Sunday, February 7, 2016

Mr. Vandy's Travelin' Soft Shoe Show

I think it’s pretty safe to say that the world loves Dick Van Dyke. He’s been entertaining us for decades, from the Broadway production of Bye Bye Birdie to The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and beyond. I remember watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang countless times as a kid, and I’m also pretty sure I’ve seen every episode of Diagnosis: Murder. Despite celebrating his 90th birthday back in December, Van Dyke is still finding new ways to make people smile, and he has no intention of stopping. In fact, whenever he’s asked the secret to staying young, he says, “Keep moving.” That bit of sage advice is also the title of his book: Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging. In it, you’ll find out all sorts of interesting things about Van Dyke, like how he spends his day, how he met his wife, Arlene, and why he’ll never stop dancing. Did you know he sings in an a capella quartet called the Vantastix? Did you know he tends to dance up and down the aisles while out shopping? Did you know he has an ice cream sundae every night? Now one might think that this book is strictly for the older crowd, but all you “youngins” out there can learn a thing or two from it as well. (Seriously, "Mr. Vandy" is probably younger at heart than you are!) Take, for example, Van Dyke’s list of what things truly matter in life and what things are simply a waste of time. Family and friends tops the list, but you’ll also find things like staying curious about the world and having a sense of humor. In one chapter in the book, Carl Reiner, creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show and longtime collaborator and friend, gives his own advice to young people, saying, “Be who you are. If you can, if you can afford to, do only the things that please you. If you can’t do what you love in order to make a living, find a hobby that you can’t wait to get to after work. You need passion and joy in your life. Family. Love. Passion. And joy.” And that, as Cary Grant would say, is good stuff.
But Keep Moving is chock full of good stuff. It’ll make you smile. You may even laugh out loud. And if you didn’t know already, by the time you’re finished you’ll understand why the world loves Dick Van Dyke. I highly recommend it.   

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