by TaLeiza Calloway
Residents of Arlington Place journeyed back to the “Old West” during a barn dance June 23. Complete with straw hats and bandannas to horses and live music, the potluck-style gathering was a happy time for the more than 60 people who attended.
“We’re just having a blast,” said Pat Flicker, director of the assisted-living community. “We do something every quarter. I love doing this.”
And they loved being there. The last time Evelyn Vogt was on a horse was when she was a child. The 70-year-old enjoyed every minute of the horse-and-carriage ride as the animals trotted through town. While residents enjoyed the company of one another, family and friends were invited to take part in the social event as well. Vogt was all smiles that her friend Karen Larsen could join her during the barn dance.
Flores Ottenhoff used one word to describe the horse-and-carriage ride: wonderful. The 97-year-old, who hails from Louisiana, was glad the weather held out for the event. While the start of the Saturday afternoon was a little cloudy with a few drops of rain, there was plenty of sunshine for the barn dance.
Mary Pfeffer, one of Arlington Place’s newest residents, also enjoyed the horse-and-carriage ride, but what she enjoyed most was the dancing.
Pfeffer and her daughter, Sheila Dodge, kicked off the dance portion of the event June 23.
Dodge, a St. Joseph resident, said the event was almost like a welcome party for her mother, given the timing.
Pfeffer’s daughter. Linda Tingblad of St. Cloud, said it didn’t surprise her to see her mother get up and groove. It was a natural thing for her to do.
“I haven’t seen her dance in a long time,” Tingblad said. “My mother loves to dance.”
The music was provided by local blues-rock band “Beggar’s Dance.” The dancing was Rita Zen-zen’s favorite part of the day. She said her son, Gary, has come to the assisted-living community to play for the residents and now plays the accordion. She was joined by her daughter, Sharon Thompson, at the event. Both nodded along to the music with Zenzen moving her shoulders to the beat.
“I love music,” Zenzen said. “(This is) swell, great.”
Randy and Gloria Kremers attended the event to catch up with Martha Kierzek. The Waite Park residents used to be Kierzek’s neighbors before she moved to Arlington Place. They were glad to visit with her.
“We miss seeing her,” Gloria Kremers said. “We missed the luau, so we said, ‘We better make it to this.’”
Kierzek had a lot of company. Along with the Kremers, her nephew and his wife and her sister-in-law attended the dance.
“I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” Kierzek said. “It’s fun.”
From prizes for the best cowboy and cowgirl attire to the recognition of Arlington’s “Outlaw of the Year,” the goal of the event was to get out and have fun. St. Joseph resident Marie Przybilla has volunteered there for 13 years and likes all the variety of activities they have for residents. The 77-year-old visits Arlington Place one to two times a week and helps set up for lunch or just visits or assists residents individually. This Saturday was no different as she helped residents take part in the carriage ride and laughed and joked with some as they ate their hot dogs and hamburgers.
“I just have a special place in my heart for the elderly.” Przybilla said. “I just get so attached.”