Washington column for Jan. 23

Birthday with family and friends

A birthday is a special time, a day with family and friends. It is the day when you started your life’s journey, and one day out of the year dedicated especially to you.

Anna Clatterbuck’s (front) surprise birthday party Sunday (Jan. 19) was well-attended. Some of the 80-plus guests included (from left) Sandra Stoots, Mary Gochenour, Steve Clatterbuck, Bud Clatterbuck and Mae Racer.Jan Clatterbuck | Rappahannock News
Anna Clatterbuck’s (front) surprise birthday party Sunday (Jan. 19) was well-attended. Some of the 80-plus guests included (from left) Sandra Stoots, Mary Gochenour, Steve Clatterbuck, Bud Clatterbuck and Mae Racer.

The cold weather in the late afternoon did not put a damper on Sunday’s (Jan. 19) birthday party for Anna Clatterbuck, who turned 86. Daughter Mary Gochenour and niece Beverly Exline decided to have the surprise party at the Washington fire hall. Of course, Anna was the guest of honor.

Mary, Beverly and Mae Racer told Anna that the family was going to take her to Manassas for her birthday. When she walked into the firehouse and saw everyone, the smile on her face told everyone there more than words ever could.

Around 80 family and friends came out to help Anna celebrate her special day. Her daughter, Sandra Stoots, grandson Paul and granddaughter Crystal Owens travelled the farthest — it took them about four hours (from Marion, Va.).

Melvin Gochenour gave the blessing on the food.

One whole side of the wall was line with tables of delicious food and desserts. Danny, Austin Huff and Doug Exline were outside deep frying the chicken — and believe me, it was everyone’s favorite. Thanks for staying out in the cold guys, and congratulations on a job well done!

Beverly brought her favorite cake — coconut. The ladies brought dishes of food. You name it, we had it. No one left hungry, that’s for sure. After everyone enjoyed the good food and the fellowship, we sang happy birthday to her.

“Today has been one of the best days of my life,” said Anna’s granddaughter Crystal. “A road trip with my brother and mother is just what I needed. But the highlight was seeing my grandma for her surprise 86th birthday party. She had no idea we were coming to see her. The smile on her face was priceless! I love her so much . . . What a great big family; I’m so grateful to be a part of it.”

Families who share the preparations for a family celebrations are more likely to continue the traditions. Many thanks go out to Mary Gochenour, who keeps the Clatterbucks’ tradition going.

All the children want to thank everyone for making this birthday celebration for their mom such a memorable one.

Bonfire . . . at last!

A crowd of 75 attended the Town of Washington’s bonfire Friday night (Jan. 17)  at Avon Hall.Ruthie Windsor-Mann
A crowd of 75 attended the Town of Washington’s bonfire Friday night (Jan. 17) at Avon Hall.

The Town of Washington was finally able to pull off its bonfire last Friday night (Jan. 17), after postponing it twice due to inclement weather. An estimated 75 people attended at the new location Avon Hall, which was closer to the town and which allowed more accessible parking.

Mayor John Sullivan opened the event with very few words — and then the fire took over, delighting any would-be pyromaniacs in the crowd. The mayor passed around popcorn, chips and wine, and the crowd seemed pleased with the entire experience as it was a time to enjoy the company of others in such a festive activity.

AAA award

Congratulations to Patrick O’Connell and his staff, as the Inn at Little Washington once again received AAA’s Five-Diamond designation this year. The restaurant maintains the longest Five Diamond tenure in history — 26 consecutive years and counting. Way to go, Patrick!

Aging Together workshop

The Rappahannock Aging Together team, with the expert assistance of local nurses Jennifer Matthew and Judy Reidinger, hosts its annual training seminar in March covering resources, medication management, home safety, nutrition, pain management, dementia, advanced medical directives and much more.

Lately, a huge issue is dealing with hospital discharge and follow-up care. Everyone’s favorite part of past workshops seems to be physical therapist Annie Williams’ hands-on care, including fall prevention, bed care, walking with a cane and transfers to beds, wheelchairs and more. The seminar, will also cover advanced directives and medical power of attorney, is 12:30 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 5. For more information or to RSVP, call Sharon Pyne at 540-675-3313 (ext 2221).

Stonyman’s winter hours

Stonyman Gourmet Farmer (337 Gay Street) has started its winter hours for January and February and will now be open 10 to 5 Friday through Monday. Neighbors are invited for off-hour pickups: If the kitchen light is on, just knock at the porch door. And of course, the emergency and special request line is always open at 540-860-9090.

Have a wonderful week!

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