Senior privileges

Jimmie Batchelor

Guest Columnist

Having retired, I now can participate in senior activities with our Henry County Senior Centers!

Not only are delicious breakfasts and lunches available at a low cost, there are many activities there for the choosing. The socializing alone is good for your mind and your health. No senior has to be alone these days with Henry County Transit or friends there to help.

Senior centers in Henry County are Hidden Valley in Stock-bridge, Heritage in McDonough, with the newest located at the Locust Grove Event Center.

Aside from the senior center activities, there are my favorites, the trips. Have you checked out the variety lately? I’ve just begun dipping into the trips; a Broadway show at the Fox was a first. I’d like to take a minute and describe a recent trip to St. Simons Island that I went on with the Hidden Valley seniors.

As a child, St. Simons was always a summer destination from McRae, GA, where my grandparents lived. Perfect for a day trip, we’d arise very early and be on the road by 5:00. I can still feel the excitement. My best friend, Judy, usually made these trips with us. Memories to me of St. Simons are of waves dragging me across rocks as I tried to escape the sea, lunches on cool cement picnic tables under huge old oaks, still there, many are said to be hundreds of years old.

Judy and I both remember the large swings that would send you circling out toward the vast ocean, feeling as though you would cut loose any moment, flying off to join all the fish in the deep dark sea! What we actually got from that ride was bad vertigo, staggering back to our picnic bench to lie down.

So, you can imagine how excited I was to revisit my childhood haunt as an adult. Our outing included one night’s stay and, boy, did we pack as much sightseeing as we could into our time. Quite a different visit from mine long ago. I appreciate history now and was fascinated during our guided trolley tour, visiting a very old cemetery. I was amazed at the detailed stories our guide imparted on us, all from memory too. This first afternoon welcomed us with this tour of history most of us never knew. As far as I was concerned, the tour ended way too soon. I believe we were all so enthralled with the stories, time just flew by. We ended our evening with a local seafood dinner and walking around a small shopping ‘village’ right behind our hotel.

Our hotel served a delightful breakfast buffet, so almost everyone was up early to take advantage of that service. We planned to bus over to the pier and lighthouse, shopping at the seaside village shops, lunch on our own, then homebound. Luckily, our plans were changed and our activity coordinator, Nelda, made arrangements for us to visit Ft. Frederica. This was a fort that James Edward Oglethorpe had built for defense against the Spanish, protecting the Georgia land that was the last of the original 13 colonies. A town, born of war until Oglethorpe returned to England and the inhabitants of Frederica, without purpose of war, moved elsewhere. The town had “outlived its purpose and fell into ruin” in the late 1750’s. It is now an archeological site and we were able to see the ‘footprint’ of long-ago homes, businesses and fortresses.

Isn’t all that fascinating? We still had the time to visit the lighthouse, pier, and shopping village, having lunch on our own before departing for home. Please open your eyes to all the benefits we seniors have around us. The Henry County Times publishes a “Senior Spirit” on the last Wednesday of each month, showing the opportunities available, benefits, and general information of which you might not be aware. Each center in Henry County publishes their schedule in that section. You can also visit any of the centers and get the available information and a tour. All I want is for no one to be left out. It is up to you to reach out and grab it. Make sure to have some fun, I certainly will!

Jimmie recently retired from Henry Co. Senior Services in Stockbridge, where she managed Hidden Valley Senior Center and resided for 38 years. She plans to use her new found time writing (for The Times) and enjoying life!