The promise of two days of fun brought out an eager crowd, ready to pop the cork on the month of April at Monterey. Fun Day participants handled the menu of events on the first day with aplomb, working their way from walking and biking openers to the challenges of shuffleboard, pitching, and putting. Three carefully selected apartments held "Open House" for residents to visit, admire, and plan to emulate. Then came the Ball Drop. You'd never have imagined that the mere dumping of a bucket of numbered golf balls onto the slant of the fifth green, the balls spreading but heading toward the hole, with one winner's ball flopping into the hole, could mesmerize a crowd of golfers and bring about such a glorious shout of joyful excitement.
Even the accustomed Bingo routine, a weekly event at Monterey, brought out a full house of players, mostly regulars but some novices, eager to try their luck with five cards worth of possibilities to shout out "Bingo!" before anybody else could, and win a twenty dollar bill. The caller had as much fun as anybody but kept things moving and at an even keel. Meanwhile, at a nearby location, the billiard balls were clicking. The BYOB party-goers who met "under the tent" at six knew the drill and wouldn't have missed it for the world.
Shuffleboard and bocce contests held on the second day drew crowds, too, and led up to the crowning event, relocated from the pond to the pool because of construction work - the super exciting Duck Race. Real money was involved here, but the procedure was a bit improvised because of the lack of waves in the water to move the little yellow ducks, who, in the end, were simply scooped up and identified by number. Didn't matter. The final three were declared winners, and the crowd was satisfied, especially the unsuspecting owners of those special three.
The only rain to fall over the two-day period brought a quick change of venue for "Dancing under the Stars" scheduled in the parking lot. The dance ended up inside the clubhouse with the lights turned low and drew a standing-room-only crowd. The Sophisticats set up their equipment in one corner and sounded as good as ever, playing for a slightly noisy crowd that did not intend to have their mood or pleasure disturbed or called to a halt.
Don't toss out your Fun Day tee shirt. The format, frequently repeated with variations over the years, is sure to crop up again and again, because at Monterey having fun refining your skills is what it's all about.
Three groups of lady golfers, divided by skill levels and joined into partnerships of two, played nine holes of golf on a Tuesday afternoon, starting at designated holes one, four, and seven. The day was perfect -sunny and warm but breezy. The players were smiling, concentrating, and nervous as all get-out, in perfect accord with their partners. The rules were forgiving, allowing for a second chance after losing a hole. The organizers were unobtrusive, quick, and fair in their judgments. The observers were quiet and kept out of the way.
This is Monterey at its finest. The spirit of competition, the desire for excellence, the friendliness and support toward others - these are factors of living and aging that are not always evident in communities such as ours.
First Place Flight One: Agnes Bethune/Mary Ann Skertic
First Place Flight Two: Nancy OBrien/Grace McIntyre
First Place Flight Three: Pam Evans/Linda Nichosen
The contest comes to an end, the prizes are awarded, and everyone heads home with another treasure in the memory bank. Before too long, though, we'll all be out on the course once again. How can you let the great opportunities of such a stunning game go to waste?
You never saw so many shades of green in your life! The St. Patrick's Day dinner dance at the Monterey Yacht Club on March 16 (oops, they were one day off) brought out a fascinating conglomeration of outfits, from dressy to casual to imaginative, all very skillfully contrived, all with at least a touch of green. The occasion also brought out another visit from the Sophisticats. Believe me, the two of them did the job of an entire ensemble providing music for dancing during the evening as well as good old Irish songs for dinner enthusiasm. MacNammera's Band never sounded so good nor enjoyed more enthusiastic accompaniment. Who cared if you really didn't know the words? In contrast, later, a haunting rendition of Danny Boy took your breath away.
Well over a hundred participants, all with their own versions of Irish dress and mannerisms, sat around, strolled around, danced around. You'd truly believe, as they did, that on this particular day they were indeed Irish.
The dinner, of course, was corned beef and cabbage, accompanied on the plate by what the Irish really eat, carrots and potatoes. The dessert included tiny cups of Creme de Menthe to go with the ice cream and give it and the diners themselves a warm, green glow.
Yes, folks, Monterey has never lost the touch for giving this winsome Irish holiday the full blast of color and energy that is so highly prized by those folks across the sea.
When your very outgoing neighbor looks you in the eye and says, "I had the best time of my life," you blink and take notice - particularly when the occasion under discussion is a dance held in the Monterey parking lot.
The weather was perfect. Entry was free. The crowd was huge. The Sophisti-cats played all the right music, so everybody got up and danced and danced! "When did you ever see so many people out there on the dance floor at the same time?"
People assembled promptly at six, dragging folding chairs of all descriptions and even small tables, to surround the dance floor three-to-four deep. Conviviality was rampant, and people did not hesitate to sing along when songs were familiar.
It was a BYOB party, and there was no shortage of wine, beer, and munchies coming out of those clever little bags on wheels. In addition, refreshments for purchase arrived by truck, and sausages with onions, hot dogs, and those irresistible big soft pretzels were sold from a tent and gobbled down with abandon.
The evening was made-to-order. Everything close-by. No driving on public roads required. When it was time to leave, you just went home. (But you didn't leave too soon, because you were having so much fun.) The official 6 to 9 p.m. event name was "Dancing under the Stars," but to everybody who was there, it was so much more!