The thriller, spiller, filler dictum of effective container planting is flaunting its full midsummer flash in the two giant pots filled with towering curly willow, mandevilla, salvia midnight blue, coleus, begonias, sweet potato vine and a few other things, flanking the Wagner Terrace entrance. They were designed, planted and are maintained by Kim Sherwood, who has taken care of the many containers and flower gardens beautifying the Noble Horizons campus for the past nine years.
Probate Judge Diane Blick spoke to an audience at Noble Horizons for one reason only: to dispel worries about the probate process.
In her third term as probate judge for Litchfield County, Judge Blick, known affectionately as the "judge on wheels" due to her habit of traveling to the homes of residents who need her help, said that planning was the most important advice she could give.
"Don't feed the bears," was the key point in a presentation on black bears by Paul Colburn, a Connecticut Master Wildlife Conservationist, who spoke at Noble Horizons on April 29. The large and very engaged crowd was an indication that black bears have made their presence felt, frequently in our backyards. There were 6,600 reported sightings in the state in the past year.
Fifteen local elementary school students and a similar number of Noble Horizons residents had the good luck to work with seasoned theater professional Michael Berkeley for several weeks to prepare for a performance of "The Golden Age of Broadway: Bridging Generations" for a very appreciative audience at Noble on April 28.
Sweethaven Farm's Noreen Driscoll arrived with piles of planters, trays of sedums and succulents and buckets of soil and stones for Earth Day on April 22. In short order, 50 enthusiastic participants from Noble and the wider community made their own sedum tablescapes to bring home. Such free events ending with a creation of one's own are popular, and with good reason.
The extravaganza that is the Volunteer Recognition Dinner on April 18 had a game show theme with scores of volunteers cheering on the lucky few chosen by chance from the audience to compete for many wonderful prizes. The Volunteer of the Year was Stephen Moore, the Resident Volunteer of the Year Lib Grannan, and the perennial winner with the highest number of volunteer hours, Josh Brennan, was awarded the first-ever Josh Award. Josh is out of the running for winning it again but will no doubt present it next year to a new winner with the greatest number of volunteer hours.
Kamilla Najdek of Kamilla's Floral Boutique in Millerton was the guest speaker April 8, at a flower arranging presentation and workshop. Known for her contemporary design skills, Kamilla was generous with advice as well as with buckets of blooms she provided to participants who made their own floral creations to take home.
Students from Housatonic Valley Regional High School have, as part of their community service commitment, organized every detail of the Senior Prom held at Noble Horizons on February 25. Decorating, socializing, photos galore, a sumptuous meal, donated gifts, and dancing for everyone were highlights of the day.
Former State Representative Roberta Willis, retired after many terms in the CT State House, was on hand February 25 to talk about past legislative successes and the issues soon to be before the government. The room was packed with devoted admirers.
December 2016 saw the return of former teacher Maura Wolf to Noble for a midday poetry appreciation class. She brought together a devoted group of readers and writers from Noble and the wider community. Maura selected poems that accomplish something special, specifically, igniting a passion in the reader for the special qualities of poetic language, universal themes and verses that bring about an instant connection. Poems by Dylan Thomas, William Butler Yeats, Edna St. Vincent Millay, e.e. cummings, William Stafford and Mary Oliver, among others, were discussed.
Parties and get-togethers with friends and family have been constants in the year-end calendar at Noble. 2016 marked the 20th anniversary of the Auxiliary's Festival of Trees, an event that has come to be a must-see for the wider community. School children arrive in waves to marvel at the glittering lights and decoration. The annual Holiday Fair of handmade goods and Christmas decorations coincided with the opening of the Festival, so everywhere there were crowds full of holiday happiness. The Gala Party was the finale to the festival but not the end of the season's parties. Christmas Cheer devoted to residents, staff and families saw an especially large turnout with platters of food and drinks all around. Concerts and a resident art show were shoehorned in and plans are set for medical levels of living to mark the season with parties nearly up to Christmas day.
Jean and Bill McClelland wowed a capacity audience at Noble Horizons on November 5th with their polished presentation of show tunes by Oscar Hammerstein II and Stephen Sondheim. Pianist Bill set the pace of the hour-long show like the Broadway professional he is, while vocalist Jean contributed keen insight into the production histories of the musicals and the close, personal relationship between the famed librettist and mentor Hammerstein and his protege composer and lyricist Sondheim. Jean held the audience in her hand with her vocal stylings and sparkle.
Keith Moon, a member of the faculty of The Hotchkiss School and a frequent visitor to Noble Horizons where he has led a number of workshops on Russian literature, was at Noble on the afternoon of October 15 to share his thoughts on Vladimir Putin. Fluent in Russian and a frequent traveler to the country, Mr. Moon described Putin's spectacular rise to power, from his years in the KGB in the '70s and '80s, his return to what was then Leningrad (St. Petersburg) to work for the deputy mayor and becoming President of the Russian Federation in 1999. With an extension of his term of office and other political alterations to the system, there is every reason to believe that Putin will hold sway over Russia for an indefinite period. Mr. Moon said that while Moscow and St. Petersburg are vibrant cities, the remainder of the country hasn't changed. As an interesting side note, he mentioned that Putin's personal fortune is estimated to be between 2.2 and 98 billion dollars.
Every year families of Noble residents are invited to attend the family gathering. It's a perfect opportunity for residents to introduce their family to their Noble friends and to show off their grandchildren. The gathering on September 10 featured a reprise of the recreation department's version of The Wizard Of Oz, first presented at the the volunteer dinner last spring, and ended with Auntie Em's own apple pie and ice cream.
The yearly lobster dinner, made possible by the Noble Horizons Auxiliary, packed the house with the Riga Dining Room and the private dining room filled to capacity. Chowder, lobster, coleslaw, baked potatoes and biscuits were on the menu.
Noble Horizons staff members were guests at the annual employee recognition event, this year held outdoors beside the ponds on a beautiful afternoon in September. Big Green Truck Pizza from New Haven, featuring wood-fired pizzas made fresh on-site, was a first for Noble. Thin crust pizzas of all sorts, tossed salad, soft drinks, espresso and gelato were on the menu and, by all accounts, more than a few employees ate themselves silly. A raffle and years-of-service jewelry and gifts were part of the festivities.
During the summer of 2016, cottage resident Mimi Davis won two monetary prizes for paintings at two separate art shows at the Kent (CT) Art Association. One was "The Presidents' Show, Sascha Maurer AWS Memorial Award for Watercolor" for Plaza Hotel at Holiday Time. The second was the "Members' Show Award of Excellence, Any Medium" for Lily Pads. Congratulations, Mimi!