Chatfield seniors enjoy early holiday meal
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 4:33 AM
They got mistletoe, holly, hugs, kisses and a hearty "Ho, ho, ho!" from a Lion in a teeny tiny Santa hat and a Lowell pouring trouble.
EMT Dawn Lubahn and ambulance director Sue Kester were on hand to provide free blood pressure checks to the seniors attending the holiday dinner.
And Dick Swanson's word of the day? Success.
"It's always a successful event. The seniors love and appreciate it," said Chatfield Lions Club member Swanson, who watched as his fellow Lions - including immediate past president Karen Huckstadt, who bustled around wearing the world's tiniest Santa hat - served up turkey dinner with all the fixings. The Lions served more than 150 people this past Saturday at Chatfield Elementary School during the Lions' annual Christmas Senior Dinner. This event is held each year for Chatfield school district residents age 70 and over and their spouses.
"We've got a pretty good crowd this year in spite of the rain today," he added.
Terry Zimmerman's Santa chapeau danced from side to side as he pulled out chairs for diners, and as Lowell Stephas poured coffee, mischief followed.
The Chatfield Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and National Honor Society members assisted seniors to the door from the curb and helped take their coats, then brought them the kitchen delights of the day, topped off with ice cream for dessert.
Mayor Don Hainlen, Marj Martin, F. Mike Tuohy and Bill Fisher provided Christmas tunes. Fisher, who often plays piano at the Mayo Clinic's Gonda Building, graciously shared his talents at the keyboard before enjoying his turkey dinner.
For those who wanted to know if their blood pressure was low enough to withstand a Christmas shopping trip including waiting in line, Chatfield Ambulance director Sue Kester and EMT trainee Dawn Lubahn offered free blood pressure checks, though the festive spirit in the cafeteria kept the diastolic and systolic rates at the right levels.
Seniors who hadn't seen friends or acquaintances for a while got to give them a squeeze and a smooch or a good, solid handshake.
Door prizes of Chatfield Dollars from Root River State Bank and F&M Community Bank and flower arrangements courtesy of Strongwell were given away during a drawing, after which Tuohy led the annual Christmas carol sing-along, spreading cheer from one senior's ears to another.
After the caroling was completed, the Lions sent the revered residents off with carry-out boxes of leftover turkey to be savored later in the week when the snow is falling and venturing out to the grocery store is like taking the "upsot" horse in "Jingle Bells" for a ride.
Swanson thanked the Lions, the Scouts and NHS members - and especially the elementary kitchen staff - for making the event possible.
Later, he commented, "It's a relief every year to get this put together and pull it off. It's a lot of work, but it's rewarding. I breathe a sigh of relief when it's done, because like any big task, everything came together after hard work. There's no way we could pull this off without the members of the club or the kitchen staff. We have a great time, and the seniors deserve the recognition."