Ingrid – June 25, 2018
What a welcome relief it was to attend Summerfest this past Saturday. I use the word “relief” deliberately, as it was the first rain-free day all week! Lindsay and I got there right when it opened at 2:00 p.m. and headed straight for Farfar’s apartment. He was dressed in Danish red and white and was all ready to go outside.
“I told you it wouldn’t rain,” he said to Lindsay, who is Farfar’s granddaughter and my roommate. Once outside, we headed straight for the food tent, where I ordered a yummy hot dog – they let me put ketchup on it, even though it’s not the Chicago way! – and Linz and Farfar ordered Nordic choices, including Danish smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches) and frikadeller (Danish meatballs). I started with the hot dog to be sure I had enough room for BBQ ribs and ice cream later on. I may be Danish, but I still go for all-American food in the summer!
We all went to the beer tent, got a Carlsberg, and found a great place to settle in and watch the scene on the sun-drenched lawn. Kids and families flowed in at a constant rate all afternoon, totaling about 550 visitors! There were games for the children as well as face painters, a bouncy house, a Lego tent with tons of the beloved Danish blocks, and a clown/balloon artist. For adults, there were Lucky Buckets silent auction prizes and a Lucky Chances raffle, and everyone enjoyed homemade Danish baked goods and the great items for sale at the Treasure Chest and jewelry tents.
But the real gem of the day was a Blues Brothers tribute band, featuring “Jake and Elwood” and a full complement of brass and woodwind musicians and vocalists performing the iconic Blue Brothers tunes and other popular songs. The band’s energy had everyone tapping their feet and bopping to the beat. Even before they took the stage, an a cappella quartet of musicians played New Orleans-style music to get everyone in the mood.
Personally, the highlight for me was seeing Farfar soak in the afternoon, chatting with staff, fellow residents and their family and friends. I also caught sight of two residents I’d read about in an article about The Danish Home activities. I was a bit shy to approach these ladies at first, but they were thrilled that I recognized them from the press release and only too happy to share more about all the activities and outings they enjoy at The Danish Home.
Listening to Farfar and the ladies talk about their lives at The Danish Home, Lindsay and I sensed a deeper chord running through their conversation: companionship, community, an absence of loneliness. So many older adults experience isolation, especially when spouses pass away and they’re living alone in their own homes.
The theme of this year’s Summerfest, “Chasing the Blues Away,” was not lost on me, and I’m sure it was intentional on the part of The Danish Home. It gave me a wonderful feeling inside to see that residents are immersed in the full life my great-great-great-grandmother Olivia Rose, a founder of The Danish Home, most definitely would have wanted for them.