An old man sits dreaming on a couch by a crackling fire. Next to him, a white-haired woman tries to read. Her attention wanders, though, and the book falls from her hand. Through her glasses, she looks at the man and realizes he is looking at her. “Were you thinking about the old days again?” she asks, with a small smile. “Yes, the old days,” he says. “The old days on the farm.”
“And what were you remembering?” she asks, taking off her glasses and moving closer.
“Things,” he says. “Things we haven’t done in a long, long time.”
“We could try them, you know,” she says, giggling girlishly. “I haven’t forgotten how.”
They begin, slowly at first, then the tempo picks up as their bodies fall into old, half-forgotten rhythms—the very same half-forgotten rhythms, no doubt, that 62-year-old George Lawroski has had the good sense to remember, and to include in his workout videotape, Exercise Country Style. The old man, if he really existed, might be trying his hand at milking a cow; his wife might be churning butter in pantomime. He might get down to chopping wood; she might try scrubbing laundry on a washboard.
Lawroski is a retired Army civilian employee from East Detroit, Mich., who used to make training films. Two years ago he decided that older folk who might be too fragile for Fonda could use an exercise video. Reasoning that many of today’s elderly grew up on farms, as he did, Lawroski thought, “Why not develop something on exercise based on farm chores?” He and his wife, Evelyn, 63, put up $3,000, and headed off to a pair of farms in a rural area north of Detroit. There, in just one day, the 22-minute video was filmed, starring Lawroski, former aerobics instructor Denise Daniels, 34, and a scene-stealing cow named Pearl. At $23.95, Exercise Country Style has sold some 200 copies, mostly in the Midwest, since its release in August. There is a Moo-zak sound track, and Lawroski, wardrobed in straw hat (with feather) and denims, offers such rustic truisms as: “Country living was great. The air was clean, the food was good, but the work was hard.”
Basically, what we have here is softcore corn.