While we all enjoy sunny warm summer, there was a feeling of “Christmas in the air” at the Whitecappers Centre this past Tuesday, July 24th. The first annual “Christmas In July” event was attended by close to 80 of our community’s older adults and to say it was a “success” is almost understated!
The chatter and laughter of the 5- 6pm cocktail hour rung through the rafters as the cling-clang of china serving dishes and silverware reminded all that a turkey dinner with all the trimmings was about to be served. And what a Christmas feast! Delicious moist turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, vegetables, dinner rolls, coleslaw, jellied salad, cranberries all topped by a homemade Gingerbread cake ‘n whipped cream dessert! (made & donated by Leny Zietz)
As we all sat back to digest and relax in to the evening, the top-notch entertainment provided by national champion accordion player, Michael Bright, began — and get that stereotypic image of an accordion player out of your mind because this young man did not just stand there and squeeze air while pressing buttons; he provided full instrumental music electronically through a computer controlled instrument that was so much more than just an accordion and that he so deftly handled that jaws dropped at what almost sounded like a full band! At the end of an hour of being totally mesmerized by this one-man show, all automatically rose to their feet in a standing ovation.
And this was not the end of the fun. Next, we all opened Christmas presents! Guests were asked to bring white elephant gifts– wrapped in red for ladies’ gifts, green for a men’s gift. There is certainly a lot of truth to the saying, “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure”… And these gifts were far from “junk”. There were smiles all around, like kids on Christmas morning! And, before we could walk out the door, we were further gifted by Christmas bags full of candy that adorned as decorations the beautiful Christmas tree, all hand made as dinner favors by the Whitecappers secretary, Linda Avramovich.
Right from the beginning of the evening, I felt welcomed and engaged. There was such a feeling of excitement as old friends got “caught up” and new friends were made. If any one arrived initially a little down-hearted, lonely or discouraged, they certainly left with lighter hearts and hopeful spirits.
I am not only writing this letter to tell you about this most enjoyable event, but I am also writing to commend the Whitecappers, a group of kind, fun and volunteer-spirited people, and make sure that Chestermerians (is that what we are called?) are aware of this group that values the importance of a full and rewarding life after 50 years old. From the menu planning by several of the ladies (I won’t use names in case I miss someone) to food organizing by Diane Schneidmiller, to the British Isles restaurant roasting the turkeys which were (donated by the Nagy family), the Christmas decorations, the bartending, the door registration/welcome table, the m.c.’ing, the food servers, the clean-up group to the amazing event organizing (Whitecapper Presdident, Carollyne Hinde and her team), all was done voluntarily. And this is just one of many events held at the Centre throughout the year, on top of a full schedule of weekly activities that range from quilting, knitting & crocheting, to card games, coffee drop-in times, tours and trips, exercise classes, bocce and carpet bowling you name it or suggest it and they will try to accommodate it!
I truly feel blessed by our older residents who are hard-working, caring and so community-minded, committed to living the last half of their lives responsibly and joyfully! And, I am proud that in the Town of Chestermere we have what I like to call “stellar” senior citizens!
Respectfully submitted by Sherri Standish