|A night out to remember on the Coastside|
Last Thursday, April 3, at the 18th annual Seniors Night Out hosted by Senior Coastsiders, the Ted Adcock Community/Senior Center morphed to the golden age of Hollywood and Coastsiders did what this contentious age sometimes makes them forget they can do so well: created a scenario when strangers become friends and volunteers focused on making others happy and creating warm moments and memories.
Senior Coastsiders starts this event weeks early, by matching community volunteers with senior "dates" to enjoy the evening with. On the actual night out, Senior Coastsiders take over the Adcock center, make it festive according to a theme, prepare a tasty but balanced meal and graciously serve it in a lighthearted atmosphere amid entertainment and constant chatter.
With the theme of "Stars of the Silver Screen," photos of the same from the 1930s or '40s were scattered over the walls. Maybe some of them were heartthrobs 60 years ago for some of the time-touched eyes looking over those walls. Tableware, centerpieces, corsages, colors worn by servers, Mardi Gras-style beads handed out by volunteer greeters, balloons floating overhead, all reflected the elegant color scheme of red, black and gold. At the piano, Murlene Watkins set a tone with nostalgic favorites and took requests; up front, local chiropractor Mark Heath hoisted his guitar and entertained with good songs and bad jokes. Emcee (and Senior Coastsiders board member) Nancy Stern, in elaborate duds and a moustache, cheerily greeted the packed room and called for a show of hands of octogenarians, nonagenarians and applause for Maria, who topped the evening at 107 years of age. Behind the scenes, volunteers helping things go smoothly included about 25 kids from the Half Moon Bay High School Interact club who set up the room, five in the kitchen who prepared the meal, greeters, 15 servers, and five who took and distributed photos of community members and their senior guests -- 142 guests in all.
The Adcock center wasn't the Ritz-Carlton,. The meal wasn't caviar. It was plain, hearty fare, topped with a tasty little dessert. It was kind of like the event itself: simple but plentiful, unpretentious, and uncomplicated enough to allow for conversation between people generations apart getting to know each other, finding common ground and maybe building lasting friendships. Those enjoying it were both community newcomers and oldtimers (not just the seniors.) There were lots of stories: my "date," for example, was a gracious gentleman, and my husband's "date" was that man's mother. Those two chatted like magpies, and I am sure we'll all stay in touch.
No doubt there are many other stories, more memorable Seniors Night Out moments, out there to add to this one. Anyone?