It’s been a long two years for the members of Creekside Senior Centre, but there was a distinct feeling of excitement in the air as longtime friends gathered for activities again.
As members arrived one by one for their twice-weekly carpet bowling match recently, they were greeted with smiles and laughter and a few good-natured jokes.
“Now, be nice! This is going to be in the newspaper,” one member warns as two bowlers exchange a few friendly jabs with each other.
The overall feeling among the 14 or so bowlers who came to play was one of relief.
“We are so excited to be back,” said Creekside treasurer Joyce Bueckert, who noted that other activities, including crib, bridge and pool, are also back up and running at the centre.
It hasn’t been an easy two years for many members, Bueckert acknowledged. COVID-19 restrictions put a halt to the centre’s activities and gatherings until earlier this month when the protocols were eased.
Stuck at home for the most part, members said they took to hobbies like crafting to stay busy, and were grateful for the support of neighbours who checked in and kept them company.
“I did a lot of knitting, crocheting, crafts, puzzles, reading,” said Creekside president Renata Cargnelutti. “I have never read so many books.”
Now that the centre is back open and activities are running again, the members have wasted no time in starting their social activities.
Many of the carpet bowlers who have come out to bowl have been playing together for many years.
“You sort of become like a big family,” Cargnelutti said.
The group was eager to get out on the mats, so they passed around a hat to draw positions for the recent match. Some celebrated when they drew their token, others groaned with dismay at their position.
Once the match was set, players got to work delivering their bowls. Though plenty of fun was had, the competitive nature of the sport also shone through.
“We are pretty competitive with each other,” Cargnelutti admits. “But there is also a fair amount of horsing around and joking, yakking with each other and catching up.”
In the past, carpet bowlers from Creekside have competed at the regional and provincial level. In those instances, the ambience is a lot more serious, Cargnelutti points out.
“There’s no horsing around at those tournaments,” she said.
After the matches – which take place on Monday and Wednesday afternoons each week – the group stayed for coffee, tea and goodies.
Many of the members agree that having an outlet for seniors in the South Cariboo is extremely important.
“It gives seniors a chance to get out and do something. I don’t think there’s a whole lot for seniors to do in this town,” Cargnelutti said.
Creekside organizers said they are hoping to be able to host their usual potlucks and picnics over the spring and summer months, as well as their weekly activities which run until the end of June.
To find out more about what’s taking place at Creekside, visit creeksideseniorscentre.ca or call 250-395-3919.