The potatoes were mashed, the turkey was cooked, and the pumpkin pie sat ready for dollops of whipped cream.

It was the perfect spread for a Thanksgiving meal, and Mary Kay Rose of Crothersville couldn’t wait to dig in.

“There is so much good food here, I don’t know where to start,” she said. “And the best part is I didn’t have to make it all.”

After a moment of hesitation, she picked up her fork, smiled and scooped up a bite of cherry cheesecake first.

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Rose and other senior citizens from across the county came together Tuesday morning at the downtown Seymour Community Center for a pitch-in Thanksgiving dinner.

In all, around 80 people showed up, including seniors from Seymour, Brownstown and Crothersville.

The turkey and tossed salad were provided by the Seymour Community Center, while those attending were asked to bring vegetable side dishes, rolls or bread, and desserts to share.

“I think this is just wonderful,” Rose said of the event. “I don’t know everybody, but that doesn’t matter. I can sit down and talk and eat with anyone.”

Besides conversation, Rose’s contribution to the meal was macaroni and cheese, which she makes with Colby instead of American cheese and bakes.

“That’s the secret, and everyone just loves it,” she said of the dish.

Tuesday’s meal was as much about friends and fellowship as it was about the food, said Amy Anderson Miller, activity director for Seymour Parks and Recreation, which operates the community center.

Although the site provides free, hot meals daily for residents 55 and older and usually does something special for the holidays, it was the first countywide Thanksgiving dinner for seniors,

she said.

“I got the idea after we had a countywide picnic this summer at the forestry, and everyone had such a great time then,” she said. “We wanted to do something again that would bring everyone together, and what better time than Thanksgiving, which is all about sharing good food with good friends.”

She also was prompted to organize the dinner because of a limited number of free Thanksgiving dinners available in the community.

“There’s just not as many opportunities anymore, and some of our seniors have nowhere to go,” she said.

Anderson Miller said she and senior meal site director Carol Gee got up early to cook more than 60 pounds of turkey.

Gee said she didn’t think there would be many leftovers, though.

“Not with this group,” she said. “They do like to eat.”

By inviting the other senior citizen centers in the county, Gee said, it was a good opportunity to get everyone together to meet each other.

“It can also help us get more people signed up for our trips and activities,” she said.

Also attending the dinner was Mayor Craig Luedeman, who gave the prayer before the meal, and parks director

Brent Jameson.

“I think the mayor did a good job with the prayer,” Rose said. “It was nice of him to do it.”

Rose said she was especially thankful for her family this year.

“They take such good care of me,” she said.

She also gave thanks for her health, which she said remains good enough for her to stay involved with activities at the Crothersville Senior Center.

Daniel Cox of Seymour said he was extremely thankful for the meal because he wouldn’t have celebrated Thanksgiving otherwise.

“My wife is in a nursing home, and I don’t have any family around here,” he said. “And I can’t cook very good.”

He said he often comes to the center for meals and is thankful for Jesus.

“He provides it, and we eat it,” he said.

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