“December is a bewitching month.
The grey of cold teases
to explode into something worthwhile,

into a dream of cold,
a starlight shower you can taste,
a cold that does not chill. . .

. . .The crunch underfoot is satisfying
and the thrill of virgin snow
never leaves.”
~ Joseph Coelho, A Year of Nature Poems

“May and October, the best-smelling months? I’ll make a case for December: evergreen, frost, wood smoke, cinnamon.”
~ Lisa Kleypas, Love in the Afternoon

What is so satisfying about crunching snow? Hmmm.

A snowfall is easier: It’s magical. It’s silent and peaceful. It makes the ordinary beautiful. Just set aside worries about walking or driving and bask in the otherworldliness that lands at our feet in “a fortunate stroke of serendipity.”

Affinity groups
In addition to the wide variety of courses and events, there are other gatherings that can easily be overlooked. These are the “affinity groups” that meet to pursue other activities. The largest of these is Duplicate Bridge on Monday afternoons—for those already familiar with the game. Although it is played competitively for points, the players are friendly and welcoming. This is also true for the Mahjong group on Tuesday afternoons. They play the Chinese form (not the American one) and are happy to take the time to start you off if you want to learn.

Likewise, the Fiber Arts Group on Thursday mornings and the Arts Group on Friday mornings are relaxed gatherings of people who enjoy the camaraderie while they work on their various projects. These are not courses, so instruction in a particular area is not provided. Newcomers with like interests are always welcome.

There is also the Spanish Conversation group that meets on Tuesday mornings and chats informally about various topics every week. This winter, the intermediate-level French Conversation group has shifted into instructor-less mode.

Another affinity gathering is the monthly Writers Group on (2nd) Fridays, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., which is still forming. Where are the writers out there? Come help start a new group—and you can shape it the way you want. You do not need to be a pro, just someone who likes words and writing—stories, autobiographical pieces and poetry. Read and discuss your pieces, listen to those of others and offer encouragement all around. Please register to indicate your interest. No fee. Help get this off the ground in the new year.

A note on course fees
Perhaps you have wondered about “Scholarships Available” mentioned in the seasonal schedules. It means that if you would like to participate in lunches or a course that has fees but feel that it is just not affordable for you, we can make it work. Please stop by to speak with me about what you need.

In January
On Monday, 1/6, from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m., Age Well’s Universal Restaurant Tickets will be available at the Senior Center. Suggested donation is $5 per ticket; each one is good for one use at any participating restaurants on designated days and times. To qualify, you must be 60+ and can register with Age Well at purchase.

Two returning course variations are Watercolor in Winter (1/7, Tuesday mornings) and Acrylics-Intuitive Painting (1/9, Thursday afternoons), both taught by our popular, long-time instructor Lynn Cummings. Her courses fill up early, so please be sure to register and send your check in at least one week in advance of those dates.

The Writers Group gathering is not to be confused with this new course Writing Your Life Story, with Laurie McMillan, starting Friday, 1/17, at 12:30. This one is a five-part series on how to approach writing your life story for yourself or your loved ones. It does require preregistration and the fee is $60.

Also in January is a free iPhone workshop, 1/20, and a free iPad workshop, 1/27. Entirely new courses with fees are Traditional Rug Hooking for Beginners (1/14) and Cartooning (1/22). These all require preregistration.

Wednesday afternoon free events at 1 p.m.
1/8: Caricatures and the World of Cartooning with Marc Hughes
Join Marc in an unusual, hands-on talk about the drawing, creation and business of cartoon illustrations—while he draws your caricature. Come by with questions about how he works, and bring your own stories of favorite cartoons that were special in your life. (And of course, you may keep your own pictures.)

1/15: Gardening and Mindfulness with Cheryl Wilfong
As a master gardener and mindfulness teacher, Cheryl will explore the parallels between nature and human nature. Experiences and stories from the garden can help to teach us the big lessons of life— including impermanence, change, aging and Cheryl’s favorite subject: composting.

Art news
In December and January, check out our Art Exhibit: “Challenge Quilts ~ Black & White Plus One.” These are the creative responses to the challenge put to Champlain Valley Quilters to use only three colors. There are nearly two dozen entries, and the ribbon winners of the contest are indicated. Please note the viewing times below, since the exhibit space is used for other events.

And stop by to have peek at our tall, stately Christmas tree in the Great Room until January. Please note the same viewing times as the Art Exhibit below.

Holiday closing schedule
Because of the dates of the holidays and instructor vacations, our closing schedule is a little fractured. The Senior Center will be open on Monday, 12/23. It will be closed from Tuesday, 12/24, through Sunday, 12/29. It will be open on Monday, 12/30, closed on Tuesday, 12/31, and Wednesday, 1/1, and will reopen again on Thursday, 1/2, at 9 a.m., when the Senior Center will resume regular days and hours.

Happy Holidays! You can think of the coming new year (2020) as The Year of Seeing Clearly.

Winter weather closings
When there is iffy weather, remember that the Senior Center follows the school closures of the Champlain Valley School District (CVSD). Closings are announced on local TV and radio stations, at the CVSD website and on our website. [Please note that the Senior Center does not close during school vacations.]

The best times to see the Art Exhibit in December & January 
Mon. & Wed. at noon, Thurs. & Fri. after 12:30. Please call the Center during the week to check on Sunday availability.

Do visit our website, for more details and menus. If you have questions, would like to register, or ask about volunteering — please call (802) 425-6345 or stop by Monday -Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

We are at 212 Ferry Road, Charlotte, right across from the post office. The Senior Center’s mission is to serve those 50 and up. Residents from other communities are always welcome. There are no membership fees.

Stop in and say hello. See you soon!

Charlotte Senior Center
(802) 425-6345

Lunch Menus
Monday Munch
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
No reservations required.

December 23
Pea soup with ham, salad, crustless pumpkin pie

December 30
Tortellini zucchini soup, greens, cranberry crumb cake

January 6
Welcome Philo Ridge, chef’s choice

December 25
(closed) Merry Christmas

January 1
(closed) Happy New Year 2020!

January 8
Jambalaya (smoked sausage, shrimp & rice), homemade birthday cake & ice cream

Thursday Gents Breakfast
7:00 – 9:00 a.m. Reservations required.

January 9
Menu and Topic – TBA

Keep up to date on Menus at our website, and on Front Porch Forum, as they sometimes change.