People: Sadie Query

June 07, 2004|TIME WISEMAN

All eyes were on the feet in the purple socks.

In the greatroom of the Boyle County Senior Citizens Center, Sadie Query began the "Hoochie Dance" as her line dancing class followed her bouncing, purple-socked feet.

Since she started teaching this line dancing class in 1991, Query has missed only two sessions - that was when she had to have a heart catheter.

"Sadie's very seldom sick," said Fran Johnson, who has been taking the class since it began. "If she is, we don't know it, because she still comes."


It was heart trouble that led Query to line dancing in 1986 when she had triple bypass surgery at age 60. After the surgery, the doctor said she had to exercise. On a trip to Florida with her husband, Bert, she found the answer.

"I wouldn't walk and I wouldn't swim," said Query, now 78. "They were line dancing in Florida, so I started line dancing."

But Query had been dancing long before that trip to Florida.

Born in Boyle County, Query said she started dancing with her father when she was 2 years old. She loved it from the start, and she went on to take tap and ballroom dancing lessons.

"I'm just a dancer - that's what I do"

"I'm just a dancer - that's what I do," Query said. "I'd like to know how many steps I've done."

She graduated from Junction City High School and then became a nurse, but she "hated it." She took another job, working as a consultant with Olan Mills Photography. At Olan Mills, she worked with her husband, and the two traveled throughout the country. He passed away three years ago, but she kept dancing.

In 1991, Jackie Sims, executive director of the Senior Citizens Center, thought of her friend Query when looking for a teacher for a line dancing class. Query agreed to do it, but Sims wondered how long Query would stay.

For the last 13 years, Query has been in charge of the class every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 p.m.

"You don't buck Sadie," Sims said. "She runs it her way, and she's in charge of all the scheduling."

Query charges $2 for every student, but she does not consider the money hers.

"I have not taken one penny from the lessons," Query said. "I just turn it over to the center."

Over the years, the money has paid for a new sign for the center, helped pay for paving the parking lot, and has funded programs that feed and transport seniors.

"With the people we have here, and how good the center's been, it's good to give back," Query said.

The class attracts people from five counties

The class has attracted participants from five counties - Boyle, Garrard, Lincoln, Mercer and Fayette - as well some well-known visitors.

Danville Mayor John W.D. Bowling, Boyle County Judge-Executive Tony Wilder, former Congressman Scotty Baesler and Gov. Ernie Fletcher have all taken some lessons from Query.

Baesler, Bowling and Wilder all stood behind Query to follow her directions, but Fletcher took a place in the back row, she said. And Fletcher was the best, a tough concession for the card-carrying Democrat Query.

"I have to tell the truth, and he was the best," she said. "He just caught on quicker, but I think he had had some lessons before."

The point of the classes, however, is just to get active and get together with friends, Query said.

In the two-hour classes, she said that she and her students cover a distance of three miles. That exercise has helped keep her heart in shape. Her bypass has lasted 18 years, even though a typical one lasts five years, she said.

"I hope when I'm her age I can still dance like she does," Johnson said.

The classes also build friendships

Not only do the classes get seniors moving, they build friendships.

"Socialization is a big part of it," Sims said. "It means a lot because a lot of our seniors are alone. Here, they can come together - they don't have to sit and be a wallflower."

The usual members of the class stick together, all under the leadership of Query.

"She cares about all of us," said Annie Smith, who along with her husband, Hugh, never misses a class. "She treats us all alike."

When Sims' parents passed away, Query got on the phone and called each of her line dancers. They all showed up, and Query led them into the visitations to show their support.

"Seeing them meant a lot," Sims said. "Whenever Sadie hears of a death or something, she gets on the phone and calls them all one by one. And they all do what she says - she's a leader."

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