I sent Lisa Boucher a note and asked her if I could put the article she wrote on my forum. I also asked her for some pictures. She sent me, not only the three photos that appeared in the paper, but also four other photos that did not appear. A special thanks to Lisa for sharing these with us. This makes it possible for those of you outside the Franklin County Area to read the article and view the photos.
Seniors share meals and memories
By Lisa M. Boucher
Free Press Correspondent
Members of the board of the Fairfax Friendly Neighbors Seniors group (from left); Cary Parsons, Joyce Harris; Rita Bessette (secretary); Joyce Barkyoumb (president and Elaine Kirkpatrick (vice president) gather at Fairfax Fire and Rescue Station for the twice-monthly meal.
FAIRFAX — One dollar buys two chances in a drawing for door prizes of homemade crafts. The conversation is lively — the latest town gossip, personal ailment, or recovery. Faces are bright with smiles as more friends and neighbors arrive, some from Georgia, and as far away as Essex, but most are from Fairfax.
Mildred Warren displays the afghan she won
And Marie Bourgeois also was a lucky winner
Food is being prepared in the firehouse kitchen; the tables are set with white table cloths, full place settings, salt, pepper, creamers and sugar. Coffee is perking in a large pot; juice, iced tea, and water fill numerous pitchers. A number of small decorative glass dishes are filled with homemade pickles — Shirley "The Pickle Lady" Farnsworth's homemade pickles.
Orman Ovitt in the foreground takes a few of Shirley "The Pickle Lady" Farnsworth's pickles and Maryann Zeno talks with the lady on the end of the table
"I take after my mother for having kids and making pickles," said Farnsworth, who is fond of the nickname.
Long before 11 a.m. when people begin to arrive, the aroma of something delicious is wafting through the air at the Fairfax Fire and Rescue Station. Marion Eastman and Alberta Clokey are hard at work preparing a home cooked meal for those who attend the twice monthly affair that is open to seniors from Fairfax and surrounding communities.
The dinners are sponsored by and serve as a meeting for Fairfax Friendly Neighbors Seniors, says Joyce Barkyoumb, president of the organization. The meetings on the first and third Tuesdays are not a dull luncheon for senior citizens. "It's a good place for people to get out and socialize with each
other," Barkyoumb said. "They need that."
Attendees look forward to coming and are not only well fed, but are sometimes treated to entertainment or lectures.
"Sometimes we've had programs such as flu shot clinics and what to do when an ambulance comes," said Sarah Terrell, who is also a longtime member of Fairfax Rescue. "It would be nice to have more things, but it's difficult to get people in here."
Other topics that have been covered are environmental safety — where everyone received a radon detector, made possible by a grant from Homeland Security, and there have been demonstrations on the vial of life. The Champlain Valley Agency on the Aging has come to speak to the group when there was new legislation affecting seniors.
The seniors also provide their own entertainment at some meetings by having a drawing for prizes donated by members — most often homemade craft items. Those who wish to participate pay 50 cents a ticket. The tickets are later drawn until the prizes are gone.
When someone who usually attends doesn't, that person is missed. Get well and birthday cards are sent to anyone in need of either. Those present who have a birthday during the month are duly embarrassed by a heart-felt verse of Happy Birthday in their honor.
A bargain at $4 for seniors and $5 for guests, the organization receives a small subsidy from the government on the meals served. The money collected for the dinners covers the cost of the food and a stipend for Clokey and Eastman to cook. The small amount collected from the drawings is used for buying cards and things like that.
Jim Young, Treasurer counts out the money taken in for this particular meal
"We aren't rich by any means." said Barkyoumb of the group's finances, and pointed out the high cost of food.
Marion Eastman cuts the dough for biscuits
And Alberta Clokey stirs the pot of gravy
The meal is so popular, often when someone can't attend due to illness, a spouse will come by and pick up a couple of takeout dinners. When asked about all of the work they do cooking twice a month, Clokey and Eastman humbly reply in unison that they are, "assisted by many volunteers."[/b]