Smartest Decision in Our Retirement? – Part 8

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. July 2014

Last month you read that after our first night in our lovely garden home at Panorama, Helen, whom we met the previous evening with Wags, rang our door bell and delivered large, homemade cinnamon rolls with an aroma that made my mouth drool! She wore the sweetest smile.  Her head was slightly bowed.  With both hands, she proudly presented them to me.

In her loving tone she said gently, “I know you don’t have anything for breakfast, and I hope you enjoy these.”   She was to be my first forever friend at Panorama.


With no cooking utensils yet, we walked over to our on-campus McGandy Park and joined 200+ residents who welcomed us at the 4th of July celebration.  Catered by our Chambers Restaurant, the BBQ brisket, chicken, hot dogs, hot, sweet corn on the cob, huge bowls of baked beans, best-of-the-West slaw and potato salad, cold drinks, and ice cream cart were all-you-can-eat.  Everything brightened under the huge, snow white tent that shaded red check table cloths topped with festive decorations like shiny red stars popping out of stand-up firecrackers and bottles of bubbles to blow.

New names, faces, questions and answers, lively mariachi music with three guitarists in black, silver-studded Mexican suits and three-foot-round, bright-colored, embroidered sombreros heightened the excitement.

Drawings for door prizes and Best-of-American-Hat-Contest included free meals at Chambers Restaurant, exercise classes and books.   Not enough?

A special event that year was the Parade on Wheels. Some had helpers to guide them slowly through the park on our majestic, curved sidewalks. Sven, with a red stripe, blue-stared top hat rode a three-wheeled bike with a huge basket packed with yellow, white and lite blue mums.  Bright, shiny blue metallic, long streamers wove through the spokes of his wheels.

“King” Ray in his wheel chair donned a large, elegant crown.  The deep red, velvet, round puffy center was framed around the bottom with large metallic cloth gold spires.  A band of cloth ermine circled around the bottom.  He proudly locked his palms around a large handmade scepter of aluminum foil.

DSCN7131The winner was Mary.  She rode an electric scooter with six large red, blue, orange, and multicolored balloons.  Her large basket was overflowing with giant maroon, and white dahlias from her garden or our Panorama Pea Patch.  An 18”x 18” poster read, I’m a lucky Dog:  I live at Panorama:  Signed, Tootsie Roll.  A large bold arrow pointing down was aimed at a small basket with her tiny brown Yorkie dog, dancing around to the excitement, peering out the top.  I had to do twists with my body to snap a photo of Mary’s face which was almost hidden in the large assortment of balloons, flowers, poster, flags and her precious friend in his basket.


Onlookers clapped, cheered and clicked pictures. The prize and the person who won was not what impressed us.  It was the genuine love and care that the staff, employees, and residents had for each other.  Not bad for a first meal!  We knew we were blessed.

Mary Jo Bio


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