One Prairie Village resident’s obsession with the Hokey Pokey recently caught some national attention.
Phyllis Brinkerhoff, 93, loves the Hokey Pokey dance song — so much so that she gave her neighbor, Melanie Mendrys, a Hokey Pokey CD in June.
Brinkerhoff, who has lived in Prairie Village for 50 years and is known as “Mrs. B” to her neighbors, told Mendrys she and her daughter Meredith would be great at “leading the neighborhood in the Hokey Pokey” dance.
An idea was born.
And though the summer got busy, Mendrys gave herself a deadline of hosting a Hokey Pokey dance party on Mrs. B’s 93rd birthday on Aug. 17.
Mendrys and her daughter delivered handmade invitations around their neighborhood, saying “it will only take three minutes of your time to make a neighbor’s day.”
On Brinkerhoff’s birthday, about 20 people showed up in her front yard near 67th and Roe.
Mendrys said she didn’t expect that turnout, and she definitely didn’t expect the gesture to be featured on the nationally televised CBS “Sunday Morning” show.
“I honestly think part of the reason people are so touched by it is not just because Mrs. B is an incredible woman, but wow, the news that preceded it,” Mendrys said. “We’re in a time of war and conflict and wildfires and hurricanes and murder hornets, and I think everyone needs a little Hokey Pokey.”
During the Hokey Pokey flash mob, as it came to be known, Mendrys said Brinkerhoff was surprised to see everyone in her front yard dancing.
Mendrys recalls that Brinkerhoff kept saying, “We have such great neighbors.”
Mendrys said Brinkerhoff approaches life with the philosophy of “one foot in front of the other with a smile on my face.” I
t’s that mentality that makes Brinkerhoff a joy in her Prairie Village neighborhood, Mendrys said.
“She’s like our neighborhood grandma who sits on her front porch and whistles at you when you walk by to come up and say hello,” Mendrys said. “I think [Brinkerhoff is] just seeing how important that is.”
Footage of the flash mob is featured in the CBS News story, here, or below on a CBS News Facebook post.