Senior Morning Out attendees honored

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 7, 2012

Each month on the first Thursday, a large group gathers at Rufty Holmes Senior Center for Senior Morning Out. The mood is upbeat as the attendees celebrate life, gather information and enjoy fellowship with each other over a meal.

On Thursday, three of the most consistent attendees were honored with special recognition from the J.P. Johnson Memorial Society and the city of Salisbury. Senior Morning Out coordinator Greta Connor made the announcement and named the honorees. City Councilwoman Maggie Blackwell presented a Salisbury gold pin and candy dish to the nonagenarians, age 90 and over, Catherine Smith, Eliza Miller and Chalmers Wilson.

“One day, I hope to be as young as you,” Blackwell said. “You all are genuine treasurers of our community.”

Connor said those honored are some of the program’s most faithful members.

“They hardly ever miss our meetings. They all drive and they deliver Meals on Wheels,” she said. “With us serving seniors, we feel it is most important to highlight those in their 90s who are still viable in the community. These three are seen out regularly caring about and checking on others.”

Miller, who taught elementary education at Livingstone College and will be 92 this month, welcomed the recognition.

“It means so much that people know who I am and that they realize how old I am. This is certainly appreciated, and I hope our group keeps doing this,” she said.

Catherine Smith, a beautician for 55 years and a school patrol guard for 22, said, “I feel that I am loved and blessed that God has let me live 92 years. I just love people and am so thankful.”

Connor added, “Catherine is one of the best I’ve seen at parallel parking, much better than those quite a bit younger.”

After building a long work history at Coca Cola Bottling and Fiber Industries, Chalmers Smith is a very active 90 years of age. He said,

“This is fantastic. I’ve enjoyed everything about the recognition today,”

Connor said that “nothing goes on in the Sedgefield neighborhood that Smith isn’t aware of. He is our community watch.”

Senior Morning Out has been offered at Rufty Holmes Senior Center for about 10 years. Connor is past president of the J.P. Johnson Memorial Society, and was instrumental in that organization’s desire to start involving and remembering seniors.

“Pastor Johnson at Trinity Presbyterian Church always said that we need to do things right, decently and in order. We feel that by sponsoring the Senior Morning Out, we meet his instructions while giving back to the community,” she said. “The program always includes an informative speaker, bringing information that is useful to seniors. The attendees all get a light meal at no cost.”

Heading the program on Thursday was Robert R. Toth, well-known sculptor and painter from Salisbury. He recapped his 35-year career in the arts, including work done for movies, TV and well-known individuals.

Speaker Walt Brotherton, also of Salisbury, gave a humorous recap of life with his inspirational grandmother. He offered a recollection of her many quotes and asked the audience to provide some of their own.

“Senior Morning Out is a good fit at Rufty Holmes,” said Carolyn Blackman, who helped organize the meeting and introduce the speakers. “Our meeting is open to anyone 55 and older. This building is easy to get in and out of, and on occasion someone is dropped off right at the meeting room exit door.”

Past noon and the end of the meal, Connor was quick to note with a smile, “Just listen. They just don’t want to go home.”