Crooked River Ranch Roundup
Annual pre-Thanksgiving meal
By John Bowler
The point can't be proved and it isn't recorded in the Guinness Book of records but anybody interested would have to search far and wide to find many communities the size of Crooked River Ranch whose senior citizens treat them to a free pre-Thanksgiving style dinner with all the fixin's.
It has become an annual Ranch tradition on the Thursday before the official Thanksgiving holiday.
Ranch Seniors have put on the feast for at least 16 years, according to Secretary Edie Williams. She knows because she has been at all of them. There aren't any official records of when the tradition actually began, President Earleen Arthur said, and it's possible they started doing it even longer than 16 years ago.
The objective of the annual Thanksgiving event, according to Arthur, is for the Seniors to show appreciation to the Ranch for all the support they receive from the community throughout the year. That includes a generous arrangement for buildings that house Senior offices, storage areas and space for meetings and events.
Those buildings and grounds make up what was formerly called "The Old Ranch House" complex off Horny Hollow Road, the base from which the Ranch was developed and managed in its formative years.
One of the early Ranch managers, Ginger Morrison, had a particularly warm spot and high regard for the Seniors, whom she strongly supported during her tenure. Succeeding Ranch boards and managers have followed her lead in seeing to Senior needs.
Arthur said the Seniors fed about 200 people last Thursday, slightly more than last year. Presumably most of them were Ranch residents, but anybody who showed up was fed without having to pay a nickel or show any identification.
All enjoyed turkey, dressing, gravy, potatoes, and cranberry sauce, plus whatever side dishes were donated by attendees as well as dessert and a beverage.
Donations of money were not solicited, but were accepted graciously. Arthur declined to specify the amount.
"The Seniors were not attempting to raise money and I don't think it would be appropriate," she said.
Arthur handled the publicity and various event details assisted by Marie Carter, who supervised the kitchen, Sylvia Kimbley, who did the purchasing of food and supplies, and Stella Havens, who did the hall decorations.
All told, about 20 other volunteers helped with various event chores. Ranch Chapel personnel set up the tables and chairs in the chapel community center, where the event was held. Babs Weber and Edie Williams acted as greeters and Phil and Jean Cochran were in charge of desserts.
To borrow a well-worn phrase, "A good time was had by all" who attended, including the Seniors themselves, who seem to enjoy whatever they do most of the time.