CORNER BROOK From the time the music started, the dance floor at the Legion in Corner Brook was full Tuesday night as area seniors gathered to celebrate Christmas.
They were brought together by the Corner Brook Kinsmen Club and throughout the hall there was a spirit of family and celebrating.
The club has been offering the free party to local seniors for over 30 years and many of the more than 100 at this year’s event have been coming for years.
“If it’s possible we take in all the seniors dances,” said Mary Rowsell.
The draw for Rowsell and her husband Ben is getting out and being with all the people.
“And I think it’s a fabulous job what the Kinsmen are doing and we try and support them all we can,” she said. “It’s a wonderful feeling to know that they are so responsible and take care of the seniors like they do. I know they take care of other people, but they are very sincere with the seniors.”
Rowsell said she’s always enjoyed the Christmas season.
“Family and the decorations. Getting ready for Christmas,” she said.
A special part of the decorating involves putting out the nativity a daughter-in-law gave her years ago.
“It’s getting pretty frail looking now, but I try to revive it every year,” she said. “I don’t think it’s Christmas without the nativity scene.”
And she still spends time making a lot of cookies, even though her husband sometimes wonders why.
“That’s what Christmas is all about,” she said with a laugh.
Rowsell said for as long as she’s been married she’s never left her house on Christmas Eve. “Only to go to church and back home. I just feel like that’s the place to be.”
And throughout the night her home would be a gathering place for family and friends, much like the gathering Tuesday night.
Alice Barnes and George Byrne have been attending the Kinsmen party for 12 or 13 years.
“I enjoy it,” said Barnes.
“Enjoy the people,” chimes in Byrne.
He said the party is just like one big family, getting together and dancing.
And for Byrne, Christmas is all about family.
“Family get-togethers. Just being with them,” he said. “We always got together the whole family. Wonderful memories.”
Barnes agrees and said she looks forward to spending Christmas with her family.
“At our age we’re lucky to be able to enjoy it.”
Marion Hull has attended the Kinsmen party for the last five years since moving back to Corner Brook. She always attends with her niece Judy Gushue and the two spend a fair bit of time on the dance floor.
“It’s so much fun and lively,” said Hull, “and everybody is so friendly.”
She said for her the Christmas season is about getting out and meeting people, and the party provides the perfect place to do that.
“Everything is so pretty and the people are all dressed up and friendly.”
Hull said she’s seen people at the party that she hasn’t seen in 40 years and they all remember her.
Like the others, Hull believes being with family is a big part of Christmas.
And while she spent 20 odd Christmases in Florida and loves a green Christmas it was never the same as being home.
“I made a lot of friends, but your family wasn’t there, so you missed them, especially at Christmas time.”
Since returning home, Hull has started a new tradition and spends Christmas with her cousins.