The senior center is a place for us

Published 10:07 am Tuesday, August 16, 2022

By Gwendolyn Williams

While visiting one of the many booths at the Senior Fest in June I was given a coupon for a free lunch at the Senior Center here in Picayune. During my many visits to Walmart I noticed the signs leading to the center, but never visited the place. I thanked the wonderful lady who serves as the receptionist at the center for the coupon and promised I would come one day.

Since the receptionist was a member of the church where I play the piano for her church she invited me to come do a sing-s-long one day at the center. I discovered a wonderful friendly place filled with people who love to sing and fellowship. I had a wonderful inspirational time and decided I must come back for the free lunch.

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One day after my workout at the gym I made my way to the Senior Center for lunch. I arrived a little early and discovered they were all playing bingo. I found a place to park in the spacious parking lot and a good seat among the crowd of cheering folk when their card was filled with bright red colors. Ms. Kathleen, the receptionist invited me to become a member and I asked how much was the membership? She said it was free and I only needed to complete a few forms. I was given a computer key and found a seat at the table near the front. Several of the members remembered me from the singing I had done during my last visit, so I felt welcomed.

Ms. Kathleen welcomed me as a new member and prayed the blessing over the meal. There are several helpers who help Ms. Ruby the chief of the kitchen. They hand out small cartons of milk, juice and packs of cutlery for each person. Some complain of the plastic silverware because of their false teeth. Next comes the delicious entrée for the lunch. Today was oven fried chicken with mashed potatoes and glazed carrots. I cleaned my paper plate and enjoyed the hot spicy fruit for dessert. Everyone was so friendly and enjoying the fellowship.

I continued to come, eat, and fellowship with complete strangers who became like family. I was not a game player, but every Wednesday BINGO is a treat for everyone, even me. They play a bean bag toss game that I just watch. Now that virtual bowling game on the television is a mystery, but I enjoy watching others play. There are many activities at the center that would fit every desire for fun and learning. They have painting, quilting, sewing, exercise classes, line dancing, and even karaoke singing. So, no person is ever alone or bored when coming to the senior center.

They even take trips to special events like the farmer’s market in Gulfport where seniors can shop for fresh vegetables and fruit. I enjoyed this trip where I was given funds to buy anything I chose and was given a nice bag to carry my purchases in.  We are blessed with great transportation and a wonderful caring driver who kindly helps us getting on and off the bus. I think he is fantastic to drive when all the seniors know more about the roads that he does. We love him for his thoughtfulness in transporting us, so we often buy him lunch.

After my daily workout at the gym, I make sure I get my lunch at the senior center. Today we had red beans with smoked sausage served with rice. We are given a menu for the month, and I look forward to attending enjoying the food and the fellowship with my new family. More than anything we pray for each other and tell stories of how we survived so long. Most stories are filled with laughter and how God provided during troubled times. Now if you come everyday for a week you get to participate in a prize drawing. Today my name was called, and I got the po-boy prize at a local restaurant.

If you’re tired, depressed, alone, bring yourself over to the senior center and laugh, play, eat, and tell stories with us. There is definitely a place for you