Starting with a little turkey structured discovery right up to the point where we start stuffing our faces, when the videographer puts away his camera to get in line. Even journalism has its natural limits.
There was plenty on Thursday, November 16 – plenty to eat and to be thankful for at our 100-percent student-prepared Thanksgiving Feast!
It’s tradition at the Colorado Center for the Blind to hold our own Thanksgiving feast before we break for visits to family and friends on the official holiday. Our students cook it all with the guidance of our unparalleled Home Management staff, and there are always a lot of “firsts”.
For example, every year there are students who have never seen what a turkey looks like just out of the refrigerator. So on Tuesday, with serving gloves on, students examined and explored the four turkeys that eventually became our dinner.
And on Thursday in the buffet line Casey was happily talking about the gravy he had made.
“I’ve never made gravy before,” he said. “I’m going home and make gravy all the time now!”
Or words to that effect.
After the meal, Director Julie Deden asked everyone to share one thing that they are thankful for this year. Forced to make that choice, the great food fell back in the top ten. Instead, the top items were family and friends, improving health, the gift of being at the Center at all – both for students and staff. More than one mentioned that they were thankful for Diane McGeorge who founded the Center in 1988. There is no question about it, something special exists at the Colorado Center for the Blind that is shared by the teachers with their students and by the students with other students, and it is something that inspires wonder and gratitude.
Like this meal, which is indisputedly part of the learning process. Preparations started a month ago, beginning with the pies (pumpkin and pecan), which were frozen. In fact, everything but the turkeys (four of them), hams (two) and 30 pounds of spuds to make the mashed potatoes and Casey’s gravy were made in advance and frozen.
We had two hotel pans of sausage stuffing, two hotel pans of pineapple stuffing, a pan of creamed corn and one of green bean casserole, two kinds of sweet potato dishes, dozens of homemade dinner rolls and of course lots of cranberry sauce, also homemade. The dessert table had the pies and cheesecake bites made by the CCB Student Association. The only things not homemade were the sodas and apple juice.
It was a wonderful meal that we shared, that every student had a part in creating and working toward on the team. Yes, plenty to be thankful for …
By the way, the gravy was awesome!
There are always firsts at the Colorado Center for the Blind. For example, today Casey, a relatively new student, went on his first independent route to Romancing the Bean. Sure, he’d been there before, but not traveling on his own. And that’s what makes it a first.
Adia has been at the center since August, and last night she cooked her dinner party – for herself and five guests. This afternoon, Cody completed his mini-meal – it’s only for 15 people. He served Mississippi Pot Roast over smoked mashed potatoes and homemade bread.
What makes the pot roast “Mississippi?”
“A whole lot of butter.”
The seven contestants and their pies were:
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie with Chocolate crust – Lia took second place
- Carmel apple – Melissa
- Tropical Mango topped with nuts and whipped cream – Cesar
- Key Lime – Zach P.
- Raspberry Pie – Adia
- Cherry Pie – Tyler.
But the winner, baking his very first pie, was Justin with a crispy apple, proving that sometimes it’s hard to beat the simple basics! First prize included a new rolling pin.
It’s a horse race, for sure. It started this morning with the announcement that Laura was about to go on her support drop with Daniel. She made it back about 11:30, no problem.
Mickey has been working on her mini-meal – for fifteenn guests – for the past couple of days. At noon she served a penne spaghetti with meatballs to die for, and chocolate chip brownies big enough for your head stone. There were plenty of extras to go around, no sweat.
Julie has been excited all day about meeting 9-year-old Lexi to talk about Braille. Lexi’s teacher, Janet Anderson, brought her over to meet Julie and talk about ways to read Braille even faster. Lexi is an excellent reader and loves to read, so she and Julie have a lot in common!
In Philosophy Class today we watched the 1976 documentary film about the Iowa Commission for the Blind’s training center, “We Know Who We Are.” The film focused on the strategies used there by it’s then-director, Kenneth Jernigan in what was the most successful program in the country. The principles in that program are the basis of what we do at the Collorado Center for the Blind today, some 40 years later. No doubt!
Tomorrow the CCB Student Association is holding a pie-baking throwdown, so they auctioned off the claimants to each pie. Winner is the highest bidder on the pie that the impartial panel of judges chooses. If you’re a judge, there’s no way you can lose.
We’re proud of our senior programs and how they have changed the lives of seniors who have lost vision and the people who love them. We’re excited about how those programs continue to grow – from the residential Seniors in Charge (twice a year), to four support groups (one in Spanish), to ever-expanding opportunities to provide outreach services.
And so we’re proud of our new Senior Program video, made with filmmaker and long-time collaborator Djuna “DJ” Zupancic. The video doesn’t talk about all the program details as much as it endeavors to tell what those programs and services have meant to five seniors in particular. Embodied in these seniors and in their stories are the values that drive our Senior Services – indeed everything we do at CCB – skills that build belief in ourselves, a community that supports us, hope where there was uncertainty and maybe just a skoshe of defiance!
Thanks to DJ for her highly professional and creative work. She gets us!
Thanks to all the Seniors and the staff who appear, especially Judith, Richard, Bernie, Phyllis, Ruben and Dale for telling the world! Thanks also to Tech Instructor Chris Parsons, who reads the descriptions like a pro. You’d never guess it’s her first film!
Last year’s gardening season, with the Arapahoe County Master Gardeners from first to last spade, and Kimberley giving us historic background.
Well, yes! And a geek who is blind can be too, as David describes how he’s come from being only able to warm up frozen French fries to making Shepherd’s Pie for fifteen people.
You wouldn’t have needed to be told that Dorine’s Cinnamon-Pudding Cake was an award-winner if you had been anywhere near the Center’s kitchen this afternoon. It’s our spring Seniors in Charge week, and we have five dynamic seniors determined to keep living the lives they want. This afternoon, of course, they were cooking and baking under sleepshades, and the smell of that cake had mouths watering out in the lobby and beyond!
Sleepshades are optional, though encouraged, in the five-day training for seniors. This group is pretty game though, and all are giving them a good workout this week.
All five, along with some of our Senior Services staff, are staying in our apartments, traveling back and forth to the Center on the bus every day. They’re learning cane travel, Braille, technology and of course the tricks of cooking and cleaning up without vision.
The group come from all over Colorado and as far away as Portland, Oregon. The week wraps up on Friday morning with the Friends and Family gathering.
Believe it or not, the forecasts were correct, snow came in Friday night and is still falling Saturday morning of the last weekend in April. So here’s a warm thought. Serena made applesauce from scratch on Thursday in Home Management – peeling, coring, chopping, cooking and putting the mixture through the food processor. She’s got her hands wrapped around the still-warm quart jar of the golden stuff in the photo above, and she’s probably enjoying some of it this morning!
Tilapia and ratatouille were served to fifteen with flair for Ceci’s mini-meal, but that was no surprise!