Category Archives: seniors

Bazaars Kick Off Holiday Season in Woodland

bazaars 2007By Pat Nelson / South County News

@South County News/The Daily News, reprinted with permission

The parking lot was full Saturday, Nov. 17, when I drove up to the Woodland Care Center for its annual holiday bazaar. Inside, tables stretched across a hallway and filled a side room, and signs directed shoppers to more tables upstairs.

Danna Barbo of Ridgefield, chairwoman for the event, sold cuddly bears from a Christmas tree for $5 each, and goodies, ornaments and jewelry from the Woodland Care Center’s tables. “Residents,” said Barbo, “put the ornaments together and baked the cookies.”

“Do they have use of a kitchen?” I asked.

“They use an Otis Spunkmeyer cookie oven,” she replied, referring to the commercial cookie ovens often used by convenience stores and hotels to offer fresh-baked cookies made from Otis Spunkmeyer cookie dough. “The fudge,” she said, “is made by the staff in the kitchen.”

Two-year-old Kylie Robertson, daughter of Jennifer and Eric Robertson of Woodland, knew exactly what she wanted. She walked up to the Christmas tree and chose a fuzzy bear the color of cotton candy. Then she also wrapped her arms around a sky-blue bear.

Kylie’s mom took the bears from her daughter and held them out. “Which one do you want?” she asked. Kylie quickly chose the pink one, and then reached for the blue bear. Barbo, unable to resist the toddler’s cute smile, let her have both bears for $5.

“We buy the bears,” said Barbo, “and the residents put the ribbons on them. A lot of them have never had a teddy bear. If there are leftovers, we use them as Christmas gifts for the residents.”

In another room, I visited with Pat Madsen at her booth, where she told me the Woodland Care Center opened in 1973. The bazaar gives her a chance to visit with friends where she previously worked as director of nurses and then administrator. “We started the bazaar as a patient activity making manger scenes,” she said.

What started as a care-center activity became a community event, and the bazaar gives Woodland Care Center residents an opportunity to buy Christmas gifts for their family members.

Evie Leonard of Vancouver sold items from the next table. Leonard told me she had been an RN at the center for eight years. Next to her, Pat Pearson, formerly of Amboy but now living in Salmon Creek, displayed her crewel work.

Asked what crewel is, she replied, “It’s embroidery in wool.” Before her retirement, Pearson was charge nurse at the center, then director of nurses, and then charge nurse again, working every shift. She worked at the center from 1980 to 1986.

“There are two other bazaars in Woodland this weekend,” Barbo said. “We share flyers.”

Hearing that, I next visited the Holiday Boutique at St. Philip’s Parish, where a column of red and white balloons on the walkway hinted at the festivities inside. I said hello to Pat Kenny, who was enjoying a bowl of “white chicken chili.” It was time for lunch, and the chili smelled great. I bought a steaming bowlful and joined Kenny and others at a table. The chili was as good as it smelled, and before I left, I bought a cookbook to get the recipe. The cookbook, called “Feeding the Flock,” is a collection of favorite recipes by the St. Philip Altar Society of Woodland and the St. Joseph Parish of Kalama.

My next stop was the largest bazaar of the three, the Sno Flake Bazaar, held at the elementary school gym. The parking lot was full, and most people leaving the building carried plastic sacks of handcrafted treasures. As I entered the building , I saw the Behrendsen Farms booth operated by Ruth Wendt and Ann Bradshaw. Their booth offered local-area products including honey and aprons, plus beautiful baskets made in Ghana, West Africa.

In the main room of the bazaar, the first table was occupied by Nancy’s Potholders, owned by Nancy Johnson of Woodland. “I’ve had the same space every year but one since 1994,” Johnson said. “I have a lot of fun and love doing it.” Husband Noel buys a lot of raffle tickets, she said. When I talked with him, he had already won three nice prizes.

One vendor, Meredith DeBuse, was there selling handmade doll clothes. Asked how she got started selling doll clothes, she said, “I got into the doll thing 10 years ago. Mother made doll clothes for me.” DeBuse didn’t have daughters herself, but now has seven granddaughters to sew for.

Charlene Brooks and Kathy Huffman, both of Ariel, were working at the bazaar to earn funds to help the Pleasant View Community Church build a home for a needy family in San Vicente, Baja California, Mexico. Along with handmade items for sale, a quilt was raffled. About 15 women contributed their time and materials to supply the handcrafted merchandise and the raffle prize.

After attending all three bazaars in town, I had been well fed, had purchased some gifts and had the recipe for the famous white chicken chili. I had visited with old friends and made new acquaintances and could see why so many area residents look forward to these three bazaars each year.

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Spending the Day with Red Hatters

Whether you’re a writer or a retailer, there’s always plenty to do, and it’s hard to set aside time for yourself. Ed2go writing instructor and author Eva Shaw knows it’s important to save time for yourself, so one assignment she gives students is to go on a date and write about it. I just came across this account of my date, written about 1 1/2 years ago. It’s probably about time for another date. See photos of this event at was fun dressing for my date. I wore jeans, a t-shirt with a picture of a big red hat on the front, and a red wool blazer. I dug out the pretty purple shoes with the open toes from my daughter’s wedding…and I didn’t wear socks because I didn’t want to! Next I had to decide which hat to wear. I chose the red wool felt with a wide, floppy brim and long red and purple feathers. I took off the hat and added a purple dickey under the t-shirt. Perfect. Red and purple.For accessories, I stretched a red-hat bracelet over my wrist, swapped my gold hoop earrings for a pair of glittery red hats, and slipped my purple lanyard with the Red Hat Society medal over my head. I added pins to that: the purple cow with the red hat, my magnetic name tag with “Pat” printed carefully in Sharpie pen, the gaudy red pin from Aunt Liz, and the new Washington State pin. I added a red fan pin with purple tassel to my right lapel. On my left lapel, I lovingly place the glitzy frog with the wiggling legs, a pin given to me from the frog collection of my dearly-departed fun-loving best friend Jan.I drove to the lilac gardens where I met my friend and red-hat sister Andy. We were there to meet a group of red hatters from Silverdale, Washington. They were arriving by bus to celebrate the Red Hat Society birthday by visiting our town’s spectacular gardens. One by one, forty-some ladies stepped off the shiny white bus in their red and purple.

When you combine reds and purples with the lavenders and pinks of the lilacs, you have the makings of some great photo ops. Flower lovers strolled the brick paths and sucked in the fragrance of the blossoms.

Noel Johnson of was on hand to photograph the gathering. He and his wife Nancy stayed with our group all day, touring and visiting. Andy and I had a great time visiting with them at lunch, where Noel was delighted to be the only male dining with 44 ladies!

Andy left, and I went on to the next stop, the tulip fields. Rainbow colors spread across acres of fertile ground. By then the day was warm, and I was sorry to be wearing the wool hat and jacket, but happy to be spending the day with my new acquaintances.

The ladies boarded the bus to head for their last stop, a shopping trip to my husband’s discount variety store. They had a great time.

The kazoo is the official musical instrument of red hatters. Our store gave each lady a red and purple kazoo, and they could be heard humming “Yankee Doodle Dandy” into their kazoos outside our store. Inside, we presented Noel with a special gift, a windsock of a guy in red and purple attire with the saying, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” It was perfect for a guy who had just spent all day with a group of red-hatted ladies.

What a great day. I had walked away from all the things I thought were priorities, including my writing lessons. I had fun, I made some new friends, and I discovered some more things to write about. I waved as the big bus drove away and I went back to my desk, happy I’d made time for my date.

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