Volunteer Catawba, staff members make Harvest Moon Ball a night to remember at Lutheran Home

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 28, 2008

By S.D. Blackmore
For The Salisbury Post
On Oct. 23, The Lutheran Home at Trinity Oaks held their third annual Harvest Moon Ball for the residents.
This year, the ball had a casino theme, displayed by the trios of red, black, and white balloons, giant playing cards decorating the walls, and table centerpieces of cards and poker chips.
This year, as in years past, students from Volunteer Catawba arrived to help with last minute arrangements, and to act as dates to the single residents. Earlier in the day, Avon representatives arrived to host a makeup clinic for the women at Trinity Oaks.
The ball officially started at 6:30 p.m., and Catawba students began by serving hors d’oeuvres to some of the residents who didn’t have attending relatives, or who were unable to walk unassisted. Then students, residents, visitors and staff chatted together while the band set up.Many of the residents were surrounded by family. Rebecca Davis and her sisters, Mary Phillips and May White, sat with their mother Jacqueline Davis for the evening.
“We come here every day,” Rebecca Davis said. “We know everyone here.”
The first band was the Polka Dots, who jumpstarted the evening with several lively polkas. As soon as the music began, Catawba students took turns dancing with the residents. With more female students than male attending, a few of the male residents danced with a girl on each arm. Several resident women were happy to dance in their wheelchairs with the smiling young Catawba men.
“That young man didn’t mind a bit holding my old, rough hands,” said one resident, smiling.
Some couples didn’t need to take to the dance floor. One of the most affectionate couples in the room, Bob and Kay Austin, sat next to each other watching the musicians and the dancers. Married 55 years, Austin introduced his wife as “the sweetest woman in the world.”
At 8 p.m., the Salisbury Swing Band took over, playing classics such as “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Blue Skies,” and “La Cucaracha.” While activity on the dance floor didn’t slow throughout the evening, residents left the room to have their “prom photo” taken in the hall against the Harvest Moon backdrop.
Eventually, the evening began to wind down. Though the event officially ended at 10 p.m., some students said goodbye to their “dates” early, needing to return to campus for performance rehearsals. Residents also began retiring after a full evening of fun and dancing. When asked if he was taking his date for another dance, a student replied that he was escorting her home.
Many residents did not leave until the very end. One woman said the evening reminded her of the time she stayed in New York City for a New Year’s celebration.
“It was on television,” she said, “and my friend watched it at home. Later, she told me ‘the camera stayed on you the entire time.’ “S.D. Blackmore is a student at Catawba College and an intern for the Salisbury Post.