Happy Halloween Shake Dem Bones

HalloweenHalloween is one of my favorite holidays. When I was a child, I ate bags full of candy in one sitting and then stole from my little sisters’ stashes. This year I plan to dress up as a skeleton. My limbs are aching, but I keep shaking cause dem bones were made for dancing.

Anyone who suffers from chronic illnesses and injury can relate to crushing bone, joint and muscle pain. This old carcass has carried me across the globe. Broken, bruised, battered, the bones on my slender frame have taken a beating. I hit a brick wall chasing a basketball, flipped off a bicycle careening downhill, and flew out of a car crashing out of control on an autoroute.

I can no longer remember a day without pain, but the secret to outsmarting the soreness is to keep moving. Anyone plagued by any of the myalgias knows that everywhere hurts. Joint pain in the knees, hips and shoulders reign, then migrate to the ankles, wrists, fingers, toes and infiltrate every spinal notch where muscles and ligaments attach to the vertebrae.

I don’t have a flexible cell in my body, but I dared to learn yoga in my fifties. I still can’t touch my toes, but I keep trying and that makes all the difference.

Jim's walking sticksI follow the examples set by my eighty-four year old dad who walks daily even though his legs are tingling and heavy from neuropathy and my Grandpa Coach Mac who defied the odds by continuing to help coach college football in his late 80s and early 90s.

As soon as my feet hit the ground in the morning, I start humming Dem Bones to keep me going.

As kids we sang Dem Bones, which we thought was a funny children’s song, designed to teach us the parts of the skeleton. However, Dem Bones, is actually a popular spiritual, composed by African American, James Weldon Johnson, and inspired by Ezekiel 37:1-14.

skeletonToe bone connected to the foot bone

Foot bone connected to the heel bone

Heel bone connected to the ankle bone

Ankle bone connected to the shin bone

Shin bone connected to the knee bone

Knee bone connected to the thigh bone

Thigh bone connected to the hip bone

Hip bone connected to the back bone

Back bone connected to the shoulder bone

Shoulder bone connected to the neck bone

Neck bone connected to the head bone

Now hear the word of the Lord.

Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around.

Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around.

Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around.

Now hear the word of the Lord.

Boo! Now scare those old limbs into action. Celebrate the season. This Halloween put one foot in front of the other. Join those pint sized ghosts and goblins creeping and peeping around your neighborhood. Get up. Get moving. Shake your booty. Dem bones were made for jiving.

Happy Halloween to you and all the cute lil’ pumpkins in your life!

Posted in family, humor, inspiration, relationships, social view.


  1. Love this, Pat. Your fighting spirit shines on to remind and inspire us all to keep moving. No excuses! You are truly an inspiration and a ray of sunshine on a gloomy day

    • Kathy, I know that you make it your personal policy to keep Dem Bones moving, too. Bet this time of year is especially fun for you with all those little trick or treaters in your family. Do you help make costumes?

  2. Thanks for the reminder that regardless of how we may be feeling, there is still a lot of life out there to be living. Happy Halloween to you, my friend.

  3. The Babe wrote: Sis, how come it looks like I ate All the candy when you were stealing have my bag?? Haha!! Great memories And reminder to Just Keep Moving. Love the history of Dem Bones And Love you Big Sis!!

    • Ha ha ha! I can still remember when you hid all your treats in your room at the end of the hall. For old times sake we will have to Shake Dem bones together over the holidays. Miss you, Babe.

    • Ha ! Karen, you certainly don’t look like you ate ALL the candy. Besides, you would save it for so long, it would turn rock hard or stale and no one could eat it! Love all our old trick-or-treating memories from East19th Street. Great message, Pat. Gotta keep moving even when we ache. Can’t wait to be walking and yogasizing with my sisters again. Love you both.

      • Ha ha I remember finding some of Karen’s rock candy. Can’t wait to see you so we shake Dem Bones…dancing with your sissies is oh so good for your soul. Love you more.

  4. We sang Dem Bones, too, when we were kids (wonder if it’s an “Illinois thing”?!! Anyway, yes, this is great encouragement, Pat. I’ve been battling sciatica, and despite the pain, I know healing won’t come through inactivity. Keeping busy and moving, there’s the answer! And you’ve said what my late dad always told us, There’s plenty of pain and misery to go around in this old world for all of us. No sense complaining!! Happy Halloween to you and yours!

    • Maybe it was an Illinois thing. That song still makes my limbs feel like shaking. I am so sorry to hear you also suffer from sciatica. Have you tried seeing an osteopath or chiropractor. That has saved me from undergoing the knife, but as you well know it is one of those pains that may subside but then comes back to haunt you. Be careful not too sit long. If possible take an anti inflammatory to help ease the pain during an acute flare up. Stretch when able and try alternating ice and heat. When my problem gets really bad, I take regular rest breaks where I lay out flat even in my office at school! Bon courage..hope the pain subsides soon and you get back to your regular routines.

      • Thanks for the advice, Pat — the best advice, of course, is from one who KNOWS! I’ve been toying with seeing a chiropractor but haven’t convinced myself to do so yet. Some people swear by them; others swear at them! I really can’t take medicine much either (upsets my stomach), so I’m doing stretches, staying active, and using a heating pad. It’s maddening because I attribute this to my fall, but my doctors don’t want to believe that.

  5. Haven’t thought of this song in years! Thanks for the reminder Pat. I cherish each day I can get up and move and remember my mom telling me, “use it or lose it”

  6. Love this song AND dance Pat! Keep shaking that booty and stretching those muscles through yoga. You are, as always, an inspiration to others 🙂 I have shared this YouTube skeleton dance on my health Facebook page for others 🙂 Pass on the moving vibes, that’s what I say 😉 xx

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