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Seniors offer life advice
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Wanda Rigsby and John Wanamaker show off their dancing skills as they two-step during the McMinnville Warren County Senior Center’s karaoke night.

Many lessons can be learned from those with a lifetime of experiences. On Thursday, attendees at the Warren County Senior Center began the new year with karaoke and offering advice to younger generations. 

Individuals from 60 to over 90 years old wrote information on poster boards with lessons learned over their lives in hopes of benefitting the youth.

Wanda Rigsby wrote the message, “Work hard and save your money.” Rigsby’s advice stemmed from the fact hardships will occur at some point during life, and having the extra money needed during times of struggle is important.

John Womack agreed with Rigsby, but jokingly added his own ending to Wanda’s statement. He instructed to not only work hard and save money, but also “buy a farm and grow sweet ‘taters as long as your arm.”

The two are regulars at the Senior Center and enjoy dancing the two-step with each other. 

“We cut the mustard while two-stepping together,” says Womack in regard to their dance skills. 

Other advice came from Doyle Speaks, who emphasized the importance of getting a good education. Elva Jean Carter gave a spiritual recommendation to have an unwavering faith in God. 

“God is the one who takes care of us each day we breathe,” says Carter. “Young people need to remember to never lose faith.”

Judy and Foster Turner, the owners of Turner Karaoke, provide the karaoke machine and music for Thursday night festivities. Judy, who also enjoys line-dancing, stated “Plant love. Grow friends.”

“I’ve loved people all of my life and everyone at the center is my friend,” says Judy. “I have wound up with the best people here.”

Besides giving advice, many celebrated with singing beloved tunes. The Senior Center holds weekly karaoke parties each Thursday beginning at 5:30 p.m. Equipment is provided by Turner Karaoke.

Henry Earl Swindell performed songs by his favorite artist, George Strait, and Sandra Burger was a special guest. She gave a show-stopping rendition of “She’s Got You” by Patsy Cline.

While singing lyrics such as “I’ve got your picture” and “I’ve got your records,” Burger pulled out a photo and vinyl records and theatrically threw the items on the floor. 

“Patsy’s my favorite singer, and she has many great songs to perform karaoke to,” says Burger. “As you can see, we have so much fun out here. We love to sing on Thursdays and dance every weekend.”

After her performance, Burger explained not to be afraid of getting older since age is just a number. Burger previously worked at the Senior Center and takes part in The On the Road Again Show with Billy Pittard, who she claims is her “partner in crime.”

Marion Speaks, vice president of the Warren County Geological and Historical Association, expressed the importance of learning family history.

“Keep your ancestors and their memories alive,” says Speaks. “Visit grandparents, aunts and uncles, and record them telling stories of how their life was in the past. Go visit the cemeteries where your loved ones are buried and research your ancestry.” 

Kat St. John explained how the natural beauty of Warren County and Tennessee should be appreciated.

“Tennessee is God’s green Earth,” says St. John. “I came here from New Jersey where everything is asphalt and brick, trees are surrounded with rocks and there’s very little grass,” says St. John. “The nature and landscape is beautiful here, and everyone is so kind compared to where I’m originally from.”

Barbara Garretson, the assistant director of the Warren County Senior Center, says all ages are welcome to join activities the Senior Center offers, such as potluck dinners, singing karaoke, dancing, playing Bingo and card games and spending time with the many individuals who visit the center. 

“Be true to yourself and God, and stay young at heart no matter your age,” adds Garretson. 

The Warren County Senior Citizen is located at 809 Morrison Street and can be reached by calling 473-6559.