Carl Johnson of Fernley learned a long time ago that women love to dance.
"I was a kid in the eighth grade when I saw that the boys were out playing sports and the girls were in the gym dancing," he said. "I started dancing when there were around 100 girls and two of us boys decided to join them. The girls all stood in line to dance with us."
After a lifetime of dancing, a lot of it with his wife of 50 years, Johnson missed the socializing when his wife passed away three years ago. He found a solution to some of the loneliness and desire to dance by joining The Mingling Singles in Reno and becoming the group's event coordinator. When the drive became too tedious and gasoline prices too high, he decided to start a singles club for Fernley residents 50 and older to meet new people so he wouldn't have to travel to Reno.
He found his efforts a success, meeting many people, both male and female, craving companionship. Interested people came from Fallon, Wadsworth, Stagecoach, Dayton and other locations. Johnson took on the role of events host coordinator in mid-October 2007.
"Since then, we've had 300-plus different people attend," he said. "The first two meetings, it was me and 14 ladies the first time and me and 15 ladies the second time.
"We did a lot of dancing."
Gradually, the men began to arrive.
"Our oldest member is an 85-year-old World War II and Vietnam vet," Johnson said. "We have a variety of people including school teachers, artists, business people, Lion's Club members and others."
Anyone 50 and older interested in dancing, dinner or socializing can attend the weekly meeting.
"Most call first to confirm the location and time," Johnson said. "We usually have 25 to 30 people come each week."
The group meets at various places around town including Jake's at the Silverado and Brimm's Cafe. Social hour begins at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and dancing at 7:30 p.m. Sometimes they move on to someone's private residence for a card game of hearts to end the evening.
Besides dancing, outings are offered in which the group carpools to museums, art shows and other places of interest.
"There are no fees. Everyone pays their own expenses, for their meals and such," Johnson said. "There are no big rules except no smoking. "Everyone seems to enjoy the socializing."
For more information, call Johnson at 835-6533 or e-mail him at FernleyBigCarl@sbcglobal.net.