Tucumcari seniors enjoy Pioneer Center

William Thompson

Social events occur regularly at the Pioneer Senior Center on South Third Street. The center holds a dance almost every month. Recently, the center held a tea social. The response was more than the center staff had expected according to Tara Martinez, volunteer activities director for the center.

“We had about twenty people show up for tea and cake,” said Martinez. “To tell you the truth , I wasn’t sure how it would go over.”

Martinez and her supervisor, Patty Stewart, said the center will be holding tea socials on a monthly basis.

Guests at last week’s tea social were invited to bring their own cup and tell the story behind the cup. One by one, the guests stood up and fondly recalled how they had come into possession of their favorite cup.

Laura Kouba had perhaps the oldest and most widely-traveled cup. It came from Japan via Hawaii.
“About 36 years ago, I was with my husband while he was stationed in Hawaii,” said Kouba. “A friend of ours was going to Japan for temporary duty. Our friend casually mentioned that he would bring something back for us. I totally forgot about it, and then one day we received a china set. This cup here was part of that set.”

Ricci Johnson told how she and her granddaughter both like the cartoon character “Tweety.”

“My granddaughter, who lives in Minnesota, bought me this Tweety bird cup,” said Johnson. “It’s not the fanciest cup I own, but it’s my favorite.”

After the guests told their stories, they settled down to good old-fashioned socializing. There was the usual local gossip, and a tall tale or two.

In addition to special social functions, the center is known for its daily lunch. The lunch draws dozens everyday, according to Site Manager Patty Stewart.

“We get over 60 people for lunch everyday,” said Stewart. “and we deliver Meals on Wheels to homebound senior citizens everyday.”

For guests over 60, the price for lunch is a $1 donation. Martinez said it is a good deal. “For $1, they get large, healthy portions,” said Martinez. “For some older Tucumcari residents, the meal served here is their big meal of the day.”

Local seniors do not just stop by for lunch. Some play bingo, take exercise classes or ceramics classes. The daily domino games are a hit with the men.

Martinez said she is impressed with the center’s library.
“We must have over a thousand books,” said Martinez. “We have boxes and boxes of books down in the basement because we don’t have enough room for them upstairs.”

The center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and can be reached at 461-2307.