Evergreen Outreach-Jun9, 2011

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By Melanie Schaafsma
At 1 p.m. Monday, guests were assembled at First United Methodist Church once again for Evergreen Outreach. As far as we know, there is nothing of its kind anywhere. It is a time of gathering together to celebrate life and show caring to those who don’t always have the chance to get out of their houses, nursing homes, or assisted living residences.
Our time began with Pam Childers playing old tunes on the piano that most people knew.  We heard “Oh My Darlin’ Clementine,” “On Top of Old Smokey” and “Shortnin’ Bread,” just to name a few. Pam is amazing to watch. Her hands appear to be playing on their own, while others come and sit next to her for a chat. Pam laughs, talks and smiles, all the while playing without a pause!
Beulah Brown led in the singing of the "Welcome Song" and the "Outreach Song." She told us that today was going to be a “Happy Time.” She announced that there was a new guest today named Stacy Gates. Even though it was Stacy’s first time at Evergreen Outreach, she was up and dancing with the crowd before our time was over.
Beulah announced the June birthdays.  Monday was Mary Crawford’s birthday.   Phyllis Rames informed me that Mary was there at the very beginning of Evergreen Outreach, and has been helping ever since, that’s 32 years of work as a volunteer! Happy birthday, Mary! Ruth Ann Scott, who helps in the kitchen, has a birthday on the 10th, Jessie Gordon on the 11th and several on June 12th (Wilma Johnson, Louise Kruenegel, Margaret Penn, Victor Vandre, Elizabeth Witt and Lynette Wise). Happy birthday to one and all!
The Rev. Jim Fackler gave the devotional.  He told us about his dad, who was a “fisher person.” His dad seemed to never be finished fishing, saying, “Just one more.” He always wanted to cast once more or try one more spot before he was ready to go home. Jim reported that his parents took he and his two brothers to a lake in Canada to camp and fish when he was growing up. His dad took Jim and his brothers out in a row boat that had no motor, and they fished until it was getting dark. This lake had no cottages on it. His dad had asked a farmer for permission to camp on his land by the lake.  He and his brothers kept telling their father that it was getting too dark and that they needed to go back to shore. As usual, their dad wanted to fish just a little while longer. Finally, their dad told John, Jim’s older brother, to start rowing – and he did, for a while. Then, John quit, saying he didn’t know where they were going, since it was pitch black by now. So his dad told Jim to row. Jim recalled that he told his dad there wasn’t much point, since they didn’t know which way to go, and so they’d never get there. His dad said to look over in a particular direction. Jim told us there was a tiny light, almost impossible to see. He told Jim to row toward the small light that led them safe to shore where their mother was waiting. Jim was happy to see that they didn’t have to clean fish that night, because his mother had been fishing from the shore and caught lots of fish. She had them cooking and ready for them to eat.
Jim shifted to a story of a man who was dying, and telling his friends he would be leaving them. His friends asked him where he was going. The man was Jesus. He told his friends that he was going to prepare a place for them,  so that they could be together again later. He told them not to worry, because he would be coming back again to get them. He said, “So where I am, you may be also.”
Jim told us that Jesus left the light on for us,  so we would know how to get home again to him (John 14:2-4).  He ended with a prayer of thanksgiving.
Our entertainment Monday was provided by Judy Varga and Randy Schukar, who both sang. Judy told everyone that she drives and her husband, Bob sets up. Judy began with “The Next Time You See Me,” then Randy sang “Ring of Fire” and “I’m Proud to be an Okie from Muskogee.” (Everyone seemed to know the words and sang along to both.)
We were also entertained by the “Erna Wasmuth Dance Troupe,” a train dance of at least 14 people. Debbie Rebbe led the train all around the entire room, with people hopping along for the ride. In keeping with the “train," Judy sang “Locomotion.” Since so many were up on their feet, it was natural that they played the “Chicken Dance” next. Brenda from FAYCO led in the dance. Some commented that Brenda always has a smile. She’s a pleasure to watch.  She’s so full of joy! Randy sang “Elvira” and “The Gambler,” and again people were singing along and dancing. Judy sang the “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” while Bob Varga and Phyllis Rames danced quite gracefully. Judy sang “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” followed by Randy singing “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and “Just Over in the Glory Land.”  Judy sang “The Tennessee Waltz,” to which Randy and Shirley Locke waltzed. When I left, well after 2 p.m., Judy was still singing “Crazy.”
In the pinochle games, Shirley Locke and Mary Woolsey won one game, and Jeanne Schlicht and Jill Zimmer won one also.  Rosamund Hobler and Peggy Lippold won one game, and Wolf Schlicht and John Hunsley also won one. No losers today!
We must not forget to thank Betty Schaub and Wanda McCollum for the cookies. And thanks to all of the volunteers who served, danced, sang and generally injected fun into everything we did. Evergreen Outreach is built on the volunteer spirit, both at Evergreen and at Operation Outing, the non-profit shuttle service that transports our guests from their nursing homes to share in Evergreen Outreach’s program. We appreciate all of those who unselfishly come each week to pour their joy and faith out in an effort to make our guests know that they care.
It turns out that Beulah was right! We DID have a “Happy Time.” See you next week for more of the same!