The Elks Hall on Dec. 11 — take a look around and what did you see? What did you hear? What did you feel? There was so much ambience, a wonderful atmosphere of good fellowship, a soft buzz of conversation amongst friends and neighbours and a wonderful sensation of camaraderie and companionship.
It was an incredible evening as more than 225 elder guests celebrated the 11th annual HUB International Barton Insurance Brokers Seniors Christmas Gathering. And what a day it was.
The afternoon started off with absolutely wonderful entertainment by the Noble family from McLeese Lake.
Together with their friend, Debbie Browning who played the piano, the Noble brothers, lead singer and guitarist Stephen, bass guitar player Luke and violin player Paul enchanted the audience with their incredible singing and playing.
They played a few special numbers and then led the guests in a Christmas carol sing-a-long. They had so many compliments on how fantastic they were and everyone hopes they can come back next year.
There were many first-time guests as well as those who have attended this community event for many years. First-time attendees Wayne and Lynne Rodier were thrilled with the events of the evening.
They sat with friends, were delighted with the delicious supper, enjoyed the Christmas carolling, and were excited to receive a wonderful gift basket. Lynne’s comments were “It was such a lovely evening.
“It was absolutely delightful to see the RCMP in their dress uniforms. The Barton employees were absolutely sparkly. We really enjoyed it. It was really, really fun.” Paulette and Frank Hrynkewich came back this year after being first-time guests last year. They enjoyed themselves so much last year, they had to come again and this time they invited several of their friends to join them.
They were here with their friends Linda and Newfie Connolly, Emily and Robert Taschuk and Paulette’s mom, Marie Carrier. They have been “dealing with” HUB International Barton Insurance for many years and enjoy this HUB Barton event. When asked why they came back, Paulette said the company is good and the food is awesome.
Marge Butler came to enjoy the evening with her mom, Irene Jasper. Jasper has been coming for three or four years and asked her daughter to be her guest this year. Irene said she really enjoys this evening and the gift basket is great as well! It was great to see Rudy and Eleanor Klassen amongst the guests as they have been coming for several years.
They say they might have missed a couple of the early ones, but have been to at least eight of the celebrations. They, too, say the food is good and they get to see people they haven’t seen for a long time. They tell us they will keep coming every year as long as they are able to.
Hope Humm and her friend Grace Wilson have been coming for several years. They tell us it is a very special night. The HUB Barton staff spoils them with meals and gifts and it is wonderful to see the Mounties in their red serge. It was good to see first timers Joe and Gerry Doyle attend this special evening as well.
Their daughter Madelene is a new employee with HUB Barton and she asked them to attend the event. They are long-time ranching residents and we are sure they will be back next year. Several of the RCMP officers enjoyed posing with the seniors. It is so special to see the officers here in their red serge and a lot of the guests want their picture taken with them. Corp. Mike Hacker has been coming to the seniors’ gathering for several years and it is always great to see him.
Eileen Dell has only missed one celebration over the years. This year she came with her sister Noelle Rowat, who was here for her second time. Dell has lots of fun and really enjoys the fun fellowship. Their father was a provincial policeman, so that’s why it is so special to see the RCMP.
Dorothy Rhodes has been coming for four or five years. She says it is a wonderful classy evening. Carmen and Jim Dobie have been here since the first year. They are relatives of the HUB Barton office managers, Monica Lachapelle and Nicole Aumond. They too say the food is so good as are the people. They were at the gathering with their friends Ernie and Cecile Barbondy. Cecile says they haven’t been coming as long as Carmen and Jim, but they have been for several years. Asked why they come, she says, “the good food — that’s why I come!” First-time guest Judy Keighley says she has heard so many good things that she just had to come this year. Helen Buchanan has been coming to this special evening for three years. She has been coming with Neil and Nettie Penner, five-year attendees, who say they keep coming back because they really enjoy it!
en attending it for a long time. This year she was caught telling Santa if she has been naughty or nice — we will never know!
She says she loves to see old friends, share the Christmas season and taste the wonderful food.
She says there are lots of laughs and many feel-good feelings all night long. Office manager Monica Lachapelle presented a surprised Del Bremner with a poinsettia in celebration of her 80th birthday.
Bremner has been attending for several years and looks forward to next year.
There were well over 15 staff members as well as two spouses and one sister at the hall on varying shifts from the setup at noon until the last dish was dried and put away at about 7:30 p.m. in the evening.
Head chef and central area sales manager Roger Gysel had all the kitchen staff well organized as the food was prepared and served in a timely manner to all the guests. It was a long and busy day for many staff, but when they see the joy and gratitude on the faces of each and every guest, it makes them all know in a heartbeat why they do this and why they do this every year.
The guests give so much to all the staff by showing their deep appreciation and that’s what makes it so worthwhile. It is a wonderful evening. It is an enchanted evening. It is a charming evening. It can all be summed up by guests, Gail and Bob Pilgrim who say it so eloquently. They say they have been coming to this celebration for about six or seven years.
Gail says, “I love it. It’s a lovely evening. It feels elegant. It’s a wonderful gesture by HUB International Barton Insurance employees! It’s the celebration of the year!” If you want to be a part of “the celebration of the year,” please call the HUB Barton office next October to ensure that you can be a part of the 2012 Christmas gathering, as tickets sell out very quickly.