BONNE TERRE — It was no normal day at Bonne Terre Senior Center Tuesday.
Almost every patron seemed to have turned green for St. Patrick’s Day.
Even Ed Yoder’s beard turned green. He was wearing a green shirt and a green John Deere hat.
His wife, June, sported a green flower in her hair. She wore green beaded necklaces, green earrings, and a shamrock pin.
Next to her, Ruth Hunt also wore a green shirt. She had two long braided extensions in her hair with green bows.
Kimberly Dollar, director of the senior center, donned a light green wig. But she said she hadn’t expected to see so much green Tuesday. By noon, 97 guests had come in to eat and there were more coming to the door. Most were wearing some form of green.
Kathleen McEvoy Lindsey couldn’t have been more delighted. She wore a curly green wig, a green St. Patrick’s Day shirt, green pants, a green necklace and a smile.
She proudly displayed her Irish birth certificate and a picture of her family. She was the youngest of 18 children and is the only one still alive.
She said her father died when she was 4 and her mother, a devote Roman Catholic who was blind, raised the children.
She met and married an American GI in 1954 and moved from Southern Ireland to the United States. She’s only been back there once and that was in 1993. It was a Mother’s Day present to her from her daughters.
Lindsey, the mother of eight, has been married to her current husband, Gary, since 1972 and they live in Bonne Terre.
They celebrate St. Patrick’s Day every year with some corned beef and cabbage and a “good stiff drink.”
“We celebrated big at home, just like here, but mostly in pubs,” she said.
She said in Ireland, everyone would go to the pubs at 4 p.m. and a chef would start serving food and carving meats. Then they would sing and dance and celebrate.
She said the people in Bonne Terre are just like the people in Ireland — very friendly. She doesn’t just come to the senior center for the food. It’s about entertainment, seeing friends, and having a great time.
At the next table, sisters, Mona Miller and Deanna Vallo were just sitting down to eat their corned beef and cabbage. They had hats, beads, and big “Kiss Me I’m Irish” buttons. Vallo had a temporary St. Patrick’s Day tattoo.
They normally dress up for the day. “We’re just kids at heart,” Miller said. “I didn’t get to dress up when I was younger. Now that I’m 80, I dress up.”
After eating, guests enjoyed cake and chocolate candy. There were also door prizes and games like Bingo.
Teresa Ressel is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 179 or at email@example.com.