Fun with balloons and long johns |

Fun with balloons and long johns

by Jo Rafferty

Take a grown man and woman, give them each a pair of long johns and some balloons, and stand back and see what happens.

That’s what took place Saturday at the Douglas County Senior Center Christmas party, when red thermal underwear were distributed to a couple of volunteers, Larry Nichols and Doris Dantone. What ensued were lots and lots of laughs.

“I asked for two volunteers,” said Young At Heart Vice President Esther Hildebrand. “The one lady, Doris, just happened to stand up at the right time. I asked them to choose two helpers each that they trusted and who were speedy fast and full of energy.”

From there, Hildebrand instructed the volunteers to stand still for the helpers so that the helpers could put the long red suits on without touching them. After that, all the balloons had to be stuffed in through the rear flap. After 10 minutes, time was up, and volunteers counted 22 balloons inside Dantone’s suit, only 18 in Nichols’.

“Laughter is good medicine, so I figured the seniors, they had a good laugh so it was worthwhile,” said Hildebrand.

Hildebrand came up with the idea for the long johns and balloons race years ago while visiting a senior center in California. She is in charge of coming up with a novel idea at each year’s Christmas party.

This year, about 100 seniors enjoyed a prime rib dinner, plus the usual “pirate” gift exchange.

“Of course they always love stealing the gifts,” Hildebrand said.

Hildebrand said it was a small group compared to past years’ parties, possibly because there was no transportation provided. At the YAH meeting this week, it was decided to provide transportation for next year’s party.

“It’s a fun event,” said Hildebrand, “and I hate for anybody to miss it.”

n Jo Rafferty can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 210.