By Steve Jusseaume
Hampton Union, Tuesday, December 10, 2002
during the Hampton Police Association's 23rd Seniors Christmas
Dinner on Thursday, Dec. 5th. [Staff photo by Sarah Zenewicz]
HAMPTON - Music, turkey and all the trimming of a traditional Christmas feast greeted more than 100 seniors at the Hampton Methodist Church Thursday, during the annual Christmas dinner, sponsored by the Hampton Police Association.
"We've been putting this on for the past 23 years," said Gus Knowles, a 26-year member of the police force, who serves as emcee, chief cook and bottle washer. "We get up to 150 senior citizens every year.
"We prepare the food the night before. Some of the guys from the force help out down here. It's a great way to give our seniors some Christmas spirit, along with a great meal."
This year, police officers - some active and some retired - and their wives prepared six 20-pound turkeys, and had on hand 65 pounds of butternut squash, 60 pounds of potatoes, five gallons of gravy, 30 pounds of peas, and a big crock of cranberry sauce at the lunch-time meal.
"The peas are the easiest. You don't have to peel them," Knowles said with a smile. He noted that Hannaford Bros. and the Ashworth Hotel both donate items toward the dinner.
In addition, residents lunched on 15 dozen rolls; pumpkin, apple, mince and custard pie; fruit cocktail and coffee and tea.
"Gus is the grand poobah of this event. He and his wife do most of the work," said Hampton Police Officer Steve Henderson.
The Recreation Department also chips in, this year organizing the raffle where all the poinsettia centerpieces were raffled off.
"It's a great way for our seniors to get out of the house, socialize," Knowles said.
The fifth-grade carolers from Sacred Heart School came over in a big yellow school bus to sing Christmas songs.
At one table, Marjorie Orr sat with a half-dozen of her friends.
"I love it. We've been coming here for years and wouldn't miss it for the world," Orr said, sitting with Fran Harvey, Shirley Carpenter, Dottie and Chris Griffin, Alta Kimball and Margaret Lovett.
Added Dottie, "It's fun and exciting; it gets us out and with all our friends, and gets me into the spirit of the holiday season."