Davidsville woman finds outlet in square dancing
Clara Cable doesn’t have much use for the internet or television — and, a lot of weeks, no time for them anyway.
Cable is a member of square dancing organizations in Somerset, Salix and Hollidaysburg. It’s a passion that’s helped her meet a variety of friends across the region.
“There’s younger people, empty nesters and then there’s a few people like me who don’t give up,” the Davidsville resident said with a laugh before readying for Burger Mania at the Flyin’ Lion Pub in Jennerstown at 5 p.m.
Cable — who asked that her age be listed only as “80-plus” — is a graduate of the former Quincy High School. She was married and worked for 27 years at the state hospital in Franklin County.
Widowed for the first time at 47, she moved in 1982 to Somerset County with Earl Cable, her second husband.
“He had a business here and they were mining his property so it was pertinent that we move here,” she said.
It was her late second husband who introduced her to square dancing. She took lessons at the Richland Mall from Tom Miller, who she still sees at local sessions.
In no time at all, Cable said, she was hooked.
“I enjoyed it from the very beginning because you might say I’m a people person. I learned a new outlet,” she said.
Cable’s participation in square dancing has allowed her to perform at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg. At present she belongs to three clubs: the Wheelers and Dealers group in Somerset, Track II in Salix and the Shamrock Squares in Hollidaysburg. The Somerset and Hollidaysburg groups meet twice a month, while the Salix crew convenes weekly from April through December.
“Some weeks I’m dancing three times,” Cable said. “Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday.”
“You meet the nicest people. I have so many friends through square dancing — everyone is very cordial.”
According to Cable, a misconception about square dancing is that. She noted that a variety of music is played.
She also said that it is, above all, great exercise.
“People need to get out and keep moving. If you don’t use it, you’re gonna lose it,” she said, noting that a square dancing session is equal to walking approximately 2 miles.
“More people need to get out and do things like that than sit in front of the computer, TV or any of the electronic devices they have. All you need’s a good pair of shoes.”
Cable cited the mental benefits as well.
“When the caller says ‘track two,’ you better know what you’re doing,” she said. “There’s seven other people depending on you.”
Though she has become quite the advocate for square dancing, Cable has other hobbies as well. Her interests include painting, needlework, gardening, reading and cooking, and she is a member of the Red Hat Society.
In addition, her travels have taken her to England, Scotland, Wales, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Puerto Rico and several other islands.
She said that she and her second husband toured America for a week or more each year on his motorcycle.
She enjoys cooking and baking as well, and proudly pointed out that she won first place for her Japanese root pie, salmon quiche and apple pie recipes in Our Town newspaper’s weekly contest.
“I also enjoy camping with family and friends,” she said. “I am blessed with a loving family and friends. I hope to continue enjoy my blessings.”
Cable also has two sons — Dennis and Michael Fortney — five grandsons and 14 great-grandchildren.
As for the future of square dancing, Cable is encouraged by the programs like the one in Hollidaysburg, which includes parent-and-child groups.
“The entire family dances,” she said.
Still, she has concerns. She said she’s hopeful that more will take advantage of these opportunities, noting that Salix offers free lessons to new dancers.
“It’s a dying thing, and it really shouldn’t be.”