MOUNT VERNON — For years, Country Club Retirement Campus has hosted a luncheon for Ohio’s Junior Miss participants during their week in Mount Vernon. On Wednesday, two CCRC residents — wearing name badges declaring them “Host Grandparent” — were paired with two Junior Misses at each decorated table in the CCRC dining room.
Greg Carnes, administrator, welcomed the contestants and called the event “a long-standing tradition.” Lynn Jurkowitz played the piano for the audience’s enjoyment.
During a lunch of lemon-pepper chicken, couscous, chicken salad sandwiches, fruit salad and chocolate, blueberries and strawberries for dessert, CCRC residents Johnny Niederhouser and Melina Amicon enjoyed the company of Kate Dowrey, Warren County Junior Miss, and Brooke Stevens, Eastern Morrow County Junior Miss. Neiderhouser, a master player of a historic rhythm instrument, told them how he learned to play “the bones” and sang a song for them. He even ate his dessert first, just to set an example for the younger generation.
“I love to get a little bit of their personal background,” said Stevens of the opportunity to dine with the seniors. “I want to learn things about them and hear their stories.”
Resident Wilma Zimmerman hosted Hope Brill, Central Knox County’s Junior Miss, at her table and told Brill all about her large family. And when Brill mentioned that her mother’s maiden name is Durbin, Zimmerman announced that two of her grandsons-in-law are also Durbins and the two became immersed in a new round of stories and connections.
Ed Dauchy, another resident, found common ground with Brieanna Stegman, Mount Gilead’s Junior Miss, when he discovered that she lives on Ohio 95 in Mount Gilead, the same highway he lived on in Chesterville.
After lunch, the OJM contestants introduced themselves at the microphone and answered questions. Taylor Ullom of Cardington told the audience that her town is the home of three Underground Railroad stops. Samantha Hanshaw of Central Morrow County told them of her passion for running, track and cross-country sports. “Indecisive” and “witty” are the two adjectives Christina Misch’s friends would use to describe her, she said; Misch represents Wayne County.
Choruses of thank-yous and goodbyes rang out as the OJM contestants took their leave and headed back to the Memorial Theater for rehearsals, preparing for Friday and Saturday night’s shows.
Today, Soroptimist International of Mount Vernon and Knox County will host a luncheon for the Junior Misses at The Dan Emmett Conference Center.