October always reminds me of my great grandfather and his dog Snoopy. Snoopy was a Dalmatian that would run alongside my great grandfather’s 1950 Ford truck as he drove us though the fields on his farm in Massachusetts. This was a time when you could ride in the back. We would laugh as we held on for dear life. We kids just loved it as Snoopy and the truck bounced across the fields. Years later I remember when my great grandfather got sick. The truck went up on blocks and Snoopy filled out. Neither the truck nor the dog bounced across the fields any more. They tell me they towed the truck away on the same day the ambulance came for him. It gets me thinking…lying out on the couch can be like the truck going up on blocks. Both will gather some body rot just waiting their time. It is always better to take that old truck out for a spin and Snoopy needs his exercise, both body and spirit.
The Orange Senior Center can be a place like that. It is a place where you can take that old truck out for a spin and give Snoopy a chance to run in the fields again. The center is made up of a very diverse population. There is sweet little Edie who comes to the center because her family wants her to get out of the house and socialize. She sits with a wonderful group of ladies who look out for her. She does alright, she just gets a little lost sometimes. The ladies invite her to play cards, board games, watch a movie among other things. Edie has lunch, participates in chair exercise and enjoys special events such as when Chef Leif from Maplewoods comes and gives a cooking demonstration. Edie doesn’t always participate. She does like to sit and watch. I know that she is happy because I can see her smile and laugh at all that goes on.
Then there is Mary; she comes to Fitness, for exercise. Then she disappears only to return after lunch for her weekly card games with the ladies. Some evenings when I am working late I find her with another group of ladies playing cards. Mary serves on town boards and commissions. She is always on the go. I find her walking the track on the Community Center grounds. She is so busy. She comes almost daily to the center for one thing or another. She never slows done, always on the move.
Let us not forget about Paul. Since his wife died he has been coming for lunch. He hangs out and talks with the guys. After lunch they make their way to the pool tables. They play a few games while talking about the weather, politics, and the news. Just about anything is fair game. On the days they are not playing pool Paul meets a group for Bocce. They often get together outside the center for lunch to celebrate life events. He, too, meets a group of ladies for afternoon cards.
Paul, Mary, and Edie all meet here to socialize with friends and we are proud to play a part in it. Each one finds what they need and leaves a little something behind. They come for fun, they come for friends, and sometimes they just come to get out of the house. So, come on down to the center where there is sometimes coffee but always an ear to bend. If you don’t see a friend, the staff will do because we are real good listeners.