Food’s only part of the attraction
GLENWOOD SPRINGS Joy Frank picks at her food Friday with less than complete interest during the senior lunch at Colorado Mountain College’s Glenwood Springs Center on Blake Avenue.Clearly, her real reason for being there is nourishment of another sort.For Frank and many others who take advantage of CMC’s Senior Nutrition Program, the cheap and plentiful food is nice, but the companionship is an even greater attraction.Frank has been going to the senior lunches since just about the start of the program in 1978. It’s only when she stops to think about it that she realizes that’s almost 30 years.”I can’t believe it,” Frank marvels.When she started coming, she wasn’t yet eligible for the discounted price that those 60 and over get, but that’s hardly an issue now.
“I’ll be 82 in November,” Frank says. She and other seniors at Friday’s lunch seem as proud of their ages as any 4-year-old who’s quick to point out he’s almost 5.The lunch program, which started in Glenwood, has expanded to include communities throughout the county. Glenwood’s lunches are on Tuesdays and Fridays. The food is prepared by the kitchen at Valley View Hospital and served by senior volunteers who also do cleanup duty.Betty Hollenbaugh was the cashier Friday.”Two dollars and a half,” she said when asked what seniors are charged. “It’s a lovely lunch for two dollars and a half.”On Friday, nearly 30 diners were served chicken pot pie with vegetables, Waldorf salad, mixed salad greens, and pecan pie and cookies, along with coffee and tea.Hollenbaugh – “I’ll be 87 in July” – enjoys helping out with the lunches.”I have worlds of experiences and love people, and the oldies need all the smiles they can get,” she said.
Smiles were abundant Friday, thanks in part to some special musical treats. Lunch attendees first were entertained by kids in the CMC Mini-College Preschool who were practicing a number they soon will be presenting at a tea party for their parents. Then Marble resident Jessa Young sang and played piano while diners such as Peggy Stevens and Bert Dever tried to guess the names of standards from Broadway, jazz and other styles.The camaraderie also encouraged the smiles. Frank, Dever, Peggy and Stan Stevens and Annie Cotton often eat at the same table so they can enjoy each other’s company.”We talk a lot about the latest scandal,” Peggy Stevens said. For these seniors on this day, it’s the back-in parking the city has instituted on Cooper Avenue downtown, much to their consternation.They also look after each other. Frank often will give her leftovers to Dever to take home, as a favor to a guy who’s partially blind.”She’s quite a gal, Joy,” Dever said.He thinks highly of Cotton, too, whom he jokingly introduces as his girlfriend.”She just found out,” Peggy Stevens says.
Cotton is 91. Or as she puts it in her Texas accent, “I’m going to be 92 in September.””I thought you said you were 93,” says Dever. He feigns disappointment, saying he likes older women.”I’m just glad somebody likes old people,” Cotton answers with a smile.It’s hard not to like these old people, such as Frank, who scurries over to the piano to join in singing when Young launches into “Pennies from Heaven.” And Cotton, who professes to be happy at winning 30 cents at the bingo game held just before lunch, even though she later conceded it cost her a dollar to play.”I’ve seen a time when I wished I had 30 cents,” she says, her memories of the Great Depression are as vivid as those of most people in the room.With that kind of life perspective, diners Friday mostly were reserved in the way they made mention of how hotly spiced the pot pie was. But Frank praised the portions. “Look how much we get. It’s plenty large quantities,” she said.Which meant lots of leftovers for Dever.
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