I live in a seniors-only apartment complex. Management has a tendency to patronize us, which is interesting and rather entertaining. Today we had our annual T-day dinner for the seniors, catered by a local church. Everyone who lives here was invited, so I went. Keeping in mind that we're all adults and most of us know how to behave, I got a lot of entertainment out of the control freaks who were there. First we had to sit at our places and listen to a little introduction by the minister. No prayer, I'm glad to say. Then one table at a time was allowed to get in line for the buffet. It was like adults herding children, and some of the old folks got a little pissed off about it! I do think they didn't need to be so controlling about it -- we're all too old to stampede anyway. One gal decided she'd start with dessert since she was having to wait so long for dinner. She was told she couldn't have dessert and sent grumbling back to our table. Meanwhile the property manager went around taking photos of everyone, which irritated another person at our table who felt that the manager should ask permission before taking photos. I kind of agreed, but felt it wasn't important.
The food was good, some strange combinations of cranberry sauce including one that was hot from fresh ginger. I liked that one best, although I'm quite fond of the stuff in the can, too. I enjoyed the dinner, especially since I did NOT want to cook a turkey this year. I think I'm done with cooking turkeys. It's good, but it hangs around in the frig far too long, and frankly, whatever you do to turkey it still tastes like turkey.
The noise was so loud I couldn't hear my neighbors at my table talking, and two adorable little old ladies were playing the piano and harp to add to the din. It became very warm with so many people in the room and all the hot dishes, but no one would open the door to let in a little air. I looked at desserts but didn't eat any. You know how at buffets people like to pick a little of this and a little of that and try out several things. Well, the dessert matron wouldn't let anyone have any more than one piece of dessert! That made folks grumble too. Eventually she gave in and let people pick what they wanted and put little dibs and dabs of this and that on their plates.
After dinner someone started singing, "When the Saints Come Marching In." Lots of folks sang along. This guy knows tons of old songs, what he thinks of as amusing songs like "Purple People Eater" and so on. I asked him about Tom Lehrer and he started singing "Vatican Rag," which is one of my favorites. Then he sang "Pollution" and the one that starts "goodbye mom, I'm off to drop the bomb." That was kind of fun as there were a few of us who know the words to lots of Tom Lehrer songs.
Then, as there was too much food, we all got take-home boxes, so I won't have to cook tomorrow either.
I did feel a little uncomfortable about the whole thing. I couldn't really get whether it was just kindness or was it charity from the church people. If charity, well, no one there was in danger of starving and the food could have been given to much needier people. If it is just kindness, well, that is very nice and I did enjoy the meal. It's awkward sometimes because people assume, since we live in a seniors-only complex, that somehow we are needy and helpless. It isn't the old folks' home, just a place where old folks live.
Next week, the community T-day meal in the park. Everyone in town is invited and it lasts all afternoon. I've lived here three years and haven't tried out the community T-day yet, so decided I would this year. I think it's a charming idea. It's free, but I sent a donation as I know they need $$$ to buy the turkeys and all the other stuff. I like the idea of everyone sitting side-by-side and eating a celebration meal -- families and single people and homeless and poor and rich all together.
I may get a third T-day dinner, as one of my friends will be cooking early because her children will be in town for a few days before T-day but will be off to have the real T-day with their in-laws. However I won't reach the record of one guy I know, who last year ate five T-day dinners, four of them on T-day itself!