Mayor Cluck Hosts Holiday Luncheon for Seniors
By Office of Communication
Posted on December 14, 2012, December 14, 2012

Esther Fernandez has lived in the U.S. for 39 years but any time she hears even the slightest twinge of a melody "the Cuban comes out of me' and she has to shake, rattle and roll. On Thursday during the annual Mayor' s Holiday Luncheon at the Senior Recreation Center Eunice, Fernandez shimmied in her seat until she was about to burst.

She wasn' t alone. By the time the plates and drink cups were cleared and the second wave of entertainment was underway, the 200 or so seniors who attended (some waiting in line more than an hour before the luncheon started) seemed ready to break out into one big dance party.

Blame the Arlington High School Chorale, which blew through several high-energy tunes that had some of the seniors on their feet. Blame, too, the continued popularity of this lunchtime gathering.

"This is the best one yet, I think,' said Pearl Wright, whose husband, David, was part of the 21-piece ukulele band, The Chordbusters, which kicked off the event by playing an array of holiday tunes. "I' ve been coming here for years and I don' t remember having this much fun.'

The 2012 Mayor' s Holiday Luncheon has been around for more than a decade and free to Arlington residents 55 and older. Former Mayor Elzie Odom started the tradition while in office from 1997 to 2003.

Mayor Robert Cluck has been more than agreeable to keep it afloat.

"This is by far one of my favorite things to do,' Cluck said after he and a dozen or so city staffers served guests plates of beef briskets, potato salad, baked beans, Cole slaw and sausage, courtesy of Spring Creek Barbeque. Dozens of Arlington business donated items for door prizes.

"Sometimes I don' t know who is having the most fun - the seniors or us,' Cluck added. "It' s definitely a special, special time.'

Such was the case for Haskell Wall, age 77, who was there, once again, with his dad, who sat right to his left.

Dad' s age? "He' s 103,' Haskell said of Roy Wall. "In February, he' ll turn 104.'

Which means W.C. Weeks was the Arlington mayor when Roy Wall was born. The city consisted of several blocks of brick commercial buildings along Center and Main Streets at the time and only about 1,000 residents called Arlington home. A City Hall didn' t exist. Neither did electricity, running water or telephones.

Nineteen mayors have come and gone since then, but Roy Wall appears partial to the current one, as long as he keeps putting together this holiday shindig.

"He still likes to dance, believe it or not,' said Haskell Wall. "Which makes this a fun place for him. He' s loving it.'

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