I am a senior citizen. There is no getting around that, no matter how much I attempt to mitigate the fact. I know this because of what society tells me with progressive programs, private sector directives and legislations starting with age 55 years when restaurants offer discounted (and smaller proportioned) meals.
Eight years later such organizations as American Association of Retired Persons and the Social Security Administration chime in, and then corporations who require termination at 65 years of age to state and then federal legislation, which either grants or limits programs for those who have survived for 70 years and more. There are exceptions, of course; many sitting on boards of directors of corporations who require employees retire at a certain age are older than that requirement and while there are minimum ages to run for political offices but there are no upper age limits, so if you are 101 years old and garner the votes you are in office.
Now, I make mention of the above just as pretext to my stance is that I do not really take part in programs or make use of offerings beyond that which are basic necessities and those in my life are the result of extreme largesse on the part of taxpayers so I’m good. That is just a personal choice and in no way is comment on the many, many people who avail themselves of senior programs and events. In fact, I would encourage more seniors to take advantage of those offerings that may appeal to them.
This is my offhanded way of explaining why I have twice turned down the meals offered when I attended the King City Recreational Department’s First Thursday Senior Luncheon. I made that name up because I don’t know what they call it, but the luncheon (not just a lunch but a luncheon, which implies food and other offerings; but I digress) is held from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month (unless otherwise announced; for example, I pass along the information that the April luncheon will not be held but will resume in May. You’re welcome). And though I did not partake of the meal, I did avail myself of some of the information offered and the entertainment provided.
Other than the entertainer, I will leave off using names because I don’t want to leave out any contributing persons, but I will say that one lady informs St. John’s will have Bingo in both English and Spanish on the third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Parish Hall. Also, from the California Highway Patrolman’s talk, we learn that there is an uptick in auto thefts in the city. And while those whose cars are stolen are victims, they are almost accessories to the crime; folks, ya gotta take your keys with you after locking your vehicles at night. Also, there were representatives of a couple groups who offer legal services and meals and other such amenities for senior citizens.
And then there was the entertainer, one Joy Bonner from Paso Robles. I got up close and personal, so to speak, with Ms. Bonner when she saw me lip-syncing along with the music as she sang “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” in honor of St. Paddy’s Day; which was the theme of the luncheon. She left the small stage and made her way to the back of the room where I was (I thought) relatively unnoticed and took me by the hand and ushered me to the stage as we sang a duet. Well, she sang, I uttered the words somewhat keeping to the melody and close, maybe, to the proper notes.
Now, I assure you this was not my first time in front of an audience with a microphone in my face, but I usually try to be a bit more prepared for such an exercise and this time I was not. But the diners seem to get a kick out of it and that is all any person on any stage doing anything can ask.
Here I add a little caveat: later in the program Joy sang “Under the Boardwalk,” an old song from the early ’60s recorded by the well-known Motown group The Coasters, I have some history with both songs. While attending “A Night for the Irish” at Carnegie Hall back some years ago there were over 250 Irish performers covering many aspects of traditional songs and dances and the performance ended with the whole house, performers and audience, singing “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” and “God Bless America”; so, I have sang in Carnegie Hall (and I didn’t even have to “practice, practice, practice” to get there).
Also, one night back in the mid-’90s sometime while doing community service (I don’t wanna talk about it) at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds there was an event featuring an opening show by the famed Coasters, followed by a night of dancing to the Dick Clark All-American Bandstand Band. After the Coasters had changed clothes, they wanted to go back and see the show, so I took them in via a door behind the stage and soon all of us were at microphones onstage singing backup to well-known songs of yesteryear. So, I have sang with The Coasters. Not bad for a fellow well-known not to be able to carry a note in a bushel basket and can’t tell the difference between the singing of Frank Sinatra and Ozzy Osbourne.
My recommendation is that if you are up for a nice time and you are a senior citizen, then get in touch with Andrea Wasson at the Rec Center and check out what is offered and you just might find a new and special place to be one day of the month. And if you ever get the opportunity to be around where Joy Bonner of Paso Robles is performing, do that too.
Take care. Peace.