Two thoughts came to mind when we learned that 85-year-old Ruth Vogel had performed a high-kick alongside her great-granddaughter, 17-year-old Tori Olson, followed by the splits at a Denton High School Fillies Follies spring variety show.
Our first thought was that we wish we had Vogel’s flexibility and agility, and the second was what a great support system loving families can be.
Fillies Follies is a variety show held in the spring that always includes various dance routines and skits, but this year’s version featured something special.
Vogel and her daughter, Teri Reeves, and Reeves’ 4-year-old granddaughter, Sophia Lepkoske, participated in the mother-daughter dance, a tradition of the Fillies Follies showcase, with Tori, a DHS senior, on March 1 and 2.
The three filled in for Tori’s mother, Miranda “Mandy” Mitchell, who died Feb. 2, 2008. Reeves said she’s raised Tori since her granddaughter lost her mom.
Not many people can say they have performed a dance routine in which their great-grandmother does the splits, and Tori told us the family act was a real hit with the audience.
“When my great-grandmother did the splits, the crowd just went wild, and she became a star-struck ham,” Tori said. “She was the star of the night.”
Reeves described the multi-generational performance as a memory of a lifetime, and we believe the other family members would probably agree with her assessment. We’d also be willing to wager that more than a few members of the audience found themselves a little misty-eyed.
But as impressive as the performance was, the show of support for Tori was not just showing off for the crowd, she told us. Since her mother’s death, her grandmother and great-grandmother have stepped in and been the mother figures in her life, Tori said, and she felt a true bond with them during the Fillies Follies event.
“These two ladies really have done a lot of things for me to shape me into who I am now,” she said.
In our view, Vogel is setting a good example in more ways than one. She told us that dancing has been a part of her life since childhood and that she once danced with the USO tour. Performing with the Fillies Follies showcase was great, Vogel said, and she found the response from the audience heartwarming.
Vogel said she’s always been the type of person who enjoys moving and doing stuff and has always had the urge to exercise and stay agile. As long as she can kick eye height and sit on the floor and do splits, Vogel said, she’s not old yet.
You know, Ruth, something tells us that you will never grow old.
You’re a reminder that life should be lived to the fullest. Thanks for showing the rest of us how it’s done.