December 10, 2018
Conviviality reigned supreme during our annual Senior Holiday Celebration.  The club began sponsoring this Celebration over 21 years ago. It has been a welcoming Christmas social for local senior residents ever since.
This was the fifth Celebration organized by our own Cindi Shanley. Co-organizer Julia Ghigliotti now has two years under her belt. Well-deserved kudos go to Cindi and Julia for the success of this year’s event. How successful? The 150 senior guest list openings were filled in less than three hours a few weeks ago! An estimated 50 additional seniors were on the wait list.
On to the event itself. President Cleo Villaflores led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance. Invocator John Rice faced tough initial competition from the animated conversational buzz of 180 diners. John’s hearty baritone voice prevailed and his invocation was heard and appreciated by all.
Background music was stirringly provided by Portsmouth High School’s Instrumental Ensemble. The 26-piece group was ably led by Steve Cirillo.
As Santa Claus mingled with the crowd, President Cleo made a stunning revelation. Apparently for the last 20 years our Santa has been impersonating Portsmouth’s Bob Lister, former mayor and school superintendent. Thanks, Bob, for your ho-ho-ho help!
The Seacoast Community School is celebrating 50 years of providing early learning experiences for Seacoast children. Executive Director Peter Gilmore introduced this year’s “Spotted Turtles Class.” These precious preschoolers provided their own rendition of “Jingle Bells” and “Reindeer Hokey-Pokey.” (As in “you put your antlers in, you put your antlers out, you put your antlers is and you shake them all about,” etc.)
Cleo formally thanked Rotarian businesses and others that provided gift donations. Sponsors include the Salvation Army of Portsmouth (Major Reed), Infinite Imaging (Bill Hurley) and State Farm Insurance (Aileen Dugan.) Other sponsors are Direct Printing and Graphics (Lindsey Hery) and The Provident Bank (Tristan Shanley.)
There were two drawings before the $128 raffle prize was finally awarded. The first ticket drawn went unclaimed. The second was won by a mysterious senior guest “Lady in Red.”
The ending Holiday Sing-A-Long was highlighted by a special guest appearance of our very own “Rotations” musical group. Organized by John Rice and keynoted by Ashley Bush, this band includes Trish Cummings, Joe Cunningham, Donna Lewallen and Judy Loto.
After a sumptuous meal and this fine entertainment, our senior guests left with a nicely filled swag bag. And fond memories.
Respectfully submitted, Richard Greulich