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On the Town: Times are festive for the Oakmont League at the Luncheon for the Blind and Holiday Dinner

December 17, 2013|By Ruth Sowby
  • Mona Craig and her guide dog for the blind, CeCe, a female Golden Retriever, have been coming to the Oakmont League?s Luncheon for the Blind for five years.
Mona Craig and her guide dog for the blind, CeCe, a female… (Photo by Ruth Sowby )

Advances in low-vision aids are thinning the ranks in a good way at the Foothill Service Club for the Blind. At least that’s the opinion of the Oakmont League’s Donna Sauer, who put together this year’s Luncheon for the Blind at the service club.

About 50 blind and limited-vision guests joined a couple dozen league members for a turkey luncheon party last Wednesday. The lunch, cooked in part by league members, was enjoyed by slightly fewer people than in past years. But that didn’t stop the fun.

The Charismatics from Crescenta Valley High School provided the holiday cheer. The nine-member choir raised the rafters with Christmas carol after carol. Choir director Shannon Mack and his singers will be busy this caroling season. They will make 24 appearances in and around La Crescenta and Glendale.

Free raffle tickets were added to the festivities for the first time. Among the prizes was a $25 Ralphs gift certificate for groceries won by Donna Lewis. She may buy her Christmas turkey, courtesy of Ralphs.

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Blind since birth, Mona Craig, has been coming to the league luncheon for five years, so has her guide dog, CeCe, a female golden retriever. CeCe allows Craig to live alone in her residence in Hawaiian Gardens. She enjoys cooking, but wishes she was able to see while she cooks.

In addition to Sauer, more league members on hand included Glendale residents Ann Chadney and Lana Handley as well as Grace Gregor from La Crescenta.

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Members of the Oakmont League took some time off from their philanthropic efforts to have a little fun of their own at their “A Charles Dickens Old Fashion Christmas Dinner Dance.” On Sunday, about 60 league members and their guests were ready to dine and dance in the Oakmont Country Club’s more intimate Oak Room.

League President Chris Halajian welcomed one and all. Carolyn Beaton, social and event chairperson, was busy, much of the time behind the scenes. Immediate Past President Donna Sauer, event chairperson for the league’s Lunch for the Blind earlier in the week, was able to relax at this party. She had the help of Jeri Benton, philanthropy treasurer.

Arriving fashionably late and dressed to party were Glendale residents Marcy Kalish and Wanda Bistagne. VIPs present included Jim Isenman, retired principal of Wilson Junior High School, and past league presidents Julianne Budimia and Isenman’s wife, Liz.

The Los Angeles-based Voices of Christmas Carolers kicked off the entertainment. The Joel Scott Band provided music during the old-fashioned, English Charles Dickens dinner of prime rib and Yorkshire pudding. Vocalist Laura Angelini was outstanding as she sang like an angel.

After dinner, band members played up-tempo tunes to dance by. First on the dance floor were Marion and Paul Greene and Jeraldine Saunders and Donaldo Monroy, he of the delightful Guatemalan accent.

Both couples are from Glendale. Saunders is hard at work casting the feature film version of her book, “The Love Boat Lady.” Monroy is equally busy. He has just put his brother in charge of their exclusive Club La Vegona in Guatemala. The club caters to only one couple every 10 days with a seven-member staff to wait on them hand and foot. Club La Vegona is especially popular during the holiday season.

A singalong of Christmas carols ended the evening.

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RUTH SOWBY may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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