Senior Q 2007
By Morgan Wotherspoon
For the second year in a row, Big Boned BBQ competition team
from The New England Barbecue Society took on Senior Q. Last
year's event was such a blessing to us that there was no question
we were going to do it again. So armed with our proclamations
from West Warwick Town Council President John Flynn and Rhode
Island State Senator Steven D. Alves, Alex Morales and I decided
to have 3 events and one special hand delivery. This allowed
us to spread the words honoring our national treasures to three
towns instead of just one. Another reason was the space constraints
of The West Warwick Senior Center. Unfortunately, Last year
the seniors in the first seating couldn't stay for the band because
the second seating was coming in, so we wanted to correct that
Our first event was in Warwick at Sparrow's Point 3 housing complex
on Columbus Day. Our contacts for this event were Deb Rooney
and Bob McGann president and past president of the residence
committee. We served a BBQ lunch consisting of beef brisket,
ribs, coleslaw, beans, and Texas toast to 65 seniors. There
were many compliments on the food and I had a great conversation
with Helen Sanford who grew up with my grandmother. Unfortunately,
Helen died two weeks later. As Bob and I talked about next year,
he reflected on the number of people and said some of these people
may not be with us next year.
Our next event was at the Coventry Senior Center. I introduced
myself to the Director Pat Shurtleff and Pat Saballa Program/
Volunteer Coordinator and they were very excited about this event.
I explained that Big Boned BBQ wanted to give back to the community
and honor seniors. The Coventry Senior Center had more than
enough room to accommodate the West Warwick over flow and keep
that event to one seating, plus this was an opportunity for us
branch out and get more people involved in this great cause.
The date was set for October 11th. We served a meal of pulled
pork, chicken, ribs, baked beans, coleslaw, cornbread and blueberry
pie and ice cream for dessert to 90 seniors. The Staff at The
Coventry Senior Center was awesome. They even sent me a very
nice thank you card after. They hired a band, The Night Rockers,
who sang a mix of oldies and top 40 hits while people ate and
danced. This year, my neighbor Bunny came to the dinner with
her friends. Last year I brought her and her husband Tony a
BBQ Dinner because he was in a wheel chair and couldn't make
it to the West Warwick Senior Center. Tony died of cancer earlier
this year. Since that time Bunny has been spending more time
at The Coventry Senior Center participating in many of their
activities. She was looking forward to the dinner and said the
food was excellent. My wife and I joined in some of the after
dinner dancing with some of the seniors. (They looked a lot more
graceful than us)
Our third event was where it all began; The West Warwick Senor
Center. Tom Iannitti has retired and Manny Murray is the new
director along with JoAnn Reilly the head of Early Intervention.
I can't say enough about Manny and JoAnn. They are great people.
The dinner was on October 25th and the menu consisted of pulled
pork, ribs, chicken, potato salad, macaroni salad, beans, Italian
bread and assorted pies for dessert. We served 100 seniors.
The staff at The West Warwick senor Center is incredible. Their
system is very efficient and the food gets to your table quick
so you have time to enjoy the band. For the second year in a
row, Country trio The Harwoods kept everyone entertained with
old standards by Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, George Jones and
Johnny Cash. My parents sat with Mary Ricci and her husband
and had wonderful time talking about food. Mary has real passion
for food. Last year we named her Queen of the Apple Crisp.
This year she was on lunch duty and was able to sit and enjoy
the BBQ at the table instead of the kitchen. Bill Larose said
that our barbecue brought him back to the time he lived in Lockhart,
Texas. We really enjoy compliments like that.
My special delivery this year was to my oldest senior, my grandmother.
Mildred is 96 soon to be 97 in January and is recovering from
back surgery. She is home and doing well. I brought her dinner
on the Saturday after the West Warwick event. Last year she
attended this event with 3 of her friends. She loves BBQ but
her favorite is my baked stuffed shrimp.
We felt really blessed to be able to be a part of Senior Q month
and our three events were a lot of fun. These smaller events
were a great idea because they seemed more intimate and unique
in their own way and allowed us to interact with the seniors
more and that's what it's all about. I will miss those that
we lost, especially Tony who would come over to visit when the
smoker was fired up to see what's cooking.