Area seniors celebrate Christmas in July

The Islam Grotto Clowns were part of the fun for Metowers residents at the “Christmas in July” event hosted by Pat Muscati (second from right). Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

While the thermometer nudged its way toward the 90 degree mark on a recent Sunday, a gathering of friends and residents of Metowers in Avalon sang along to the strains of "Winter Wonderland" and "White Christmas" while dining on a sumptuous buffet luncheon, playing games and enjoying a nip or two, all as a way of celebrating Christmas in July, an indoor picnic held in Avalon.

Sally Adams, a Metowers resident, explained how this early version of the "season to be jolly" came about.

This past March, Sally was in Kuhn's grocery store parking lot, putting bags into her car when a stranger offered to help.

"I immediately grabbed my purse and said, 'No!' He laughed and told me he had more money in his pocket than I'd ever have in my purse. He was just being nice. We talked and got to know each other there in the parking lot. What impressed me most was he was at Kuhn's only to buy peanuts for the squirrels!"

"He" turned out to be Pat Muscati from Avalon, the organizer of the event and, as described by Sally, "…such a kind and giving person."

Pat came to Metowers and got to know some of the people. He asked the administrator, Kathy Williams, if he could give an indoor picnic for the residents and their guests.

And so from noon until "whenever," Pat held his picnic, paying for everything, overseeing horse races, bingo, 50/50, door prizes, sing-a-longs and lots of food being served, as well as a visit from Santa.

Retired from his job with school maintenance, Pat, now 70, finds happiness in helping others, just for the fun of it.

Pat picked up the tab, but he had lots of people helping to coordinate the event. In addition to Sally, several Metowers volunteers were on hand to assist those needing help in the buffet line. Members of the Bellevue YMCA provided transportation, while three members of Islam Grotto in Ross Township stopped by as clowns to provide entertainment.

As the afternoon wore on, Pat found time to sit back and enjoy his party and to consider what he might do next. When not setting up social events, he enjoys riding motor scooters with his buddies "all over the place. I have a Honda 250 CC. We meet on a morning, might drive to Youngstown, have lunch, turn around and come home."

By the end of the afternoon, everyone agreed that the Christmas party had been a great way to spend a July afternoon, and that Pat was a very special friend.


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