Senior Living

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Diers Avenue 518 N. Eddy Street 308-384-5350 S T. PAUL — It all began with a craving for crab meat omelets. The year was 1996 and I told my mom, Kay Yax, that I wanted to prepare the delicious egg dish in celebration of my birth- day the next day. I had envisioned serving it, along with all the trim- mings: hollandaise sauce, grilled asparagus, home- made shredded hash browns and, of course, mimosas. I think it was the orange juice spiked with champagne that sealed the deal. As I began to unload my car of all of the necessary groceries, my mother proclaimed that I had “purchased enough crab meat to feed an army.” That remark inspired me to invite five friends for a brunch the next morning. That first, fun-filled brunch sparked a tradi- tion and cemented friendships that have lasted over 22 years. Of the original six in the core group, only three remain: Marion Bahen- sky, and Carol Thomsen of St. Paul, and myself. The other current brunch club roster includes Judy Johnson and Buzz Welch of St. Paul, Janet Fenton and Carol Schooley of Grand Island, Norma Mahrt of Wolbach and Marilyn Retzlaff of Doniphan. As an equal opportunity brunch club, Ron Sack’s name is occasionally added to the guest list. We call ourselves “The Howard County Intoxi- cated Secret Monthly Brunch Club,” topped with a long standing mantra of “We don’t care what you serve for brunch, as long as you serve mimosas.” The tongue-in-cheek name was originally conceived because several of us were members of a Howard County organiza- tion. The small-town rumor mill had it that we were gathering in secret to discuss issues while consuming alcohol in the morning. T he membership has been consistent at nine gals. The number seems a good fit with the majority of the hostesses’ available space at the dining room table. The members meet one Saturday a month and rotate the hosting duties. The hostess sets the date, time and menu. Addi- tional guests may also be invited by the hostess. The brunch styles, homes and table settings are as individual as this spirited group itself. I’d like to think that we embrace our similarities and respect our differ- ences. The ages range from 59 to nearly 90. Our brunch club met this past Saturday at Bahensky’s place. She’ll be the first to tell you that she’s “no Martha Stew- art.” Fortunately for the brunch club, she’s equipped with the names of a good caterers and an even longer list of impressive credentials. She taught school in Harlem, was a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, and was the first and only woman mayor of St. Paul. As a former New York City editor, and co-author of numerous publica- tions, I thought I’d invite her to artfully describe our eclectic group. S aid Bahensky: “Each of us has special talents and interests. I am the eldest, com- pletely devoid of house- hold skills, but so ready to appreciate others’. “Buzz Welch is next in age and life experiences. She is a master banker and a collector of beauti- ful things, mother of four, with loyal children who plan to relocate here from Chicago on retirement. Her church frames her life.” Bahensky continues: ■ “Norma Mahrt is the most gentle, kind and unassuming. She keeps up on all the farming activities and is ready to discuss animals, grain, irrigation and current events — and then giggles with the rest of us.” ■ “Marilyn Retzlaff has a full life with four daughters, grandchildren and dear friends from church. Her conversation and food offerings are beautiful and generous.”: ■ “Carol Schooley, retired art teacher, is off on one strenuous vacation trip after another.” ■ Janet Fenton, born near Dannebrog, “can make beautiful presenta- tions of food for two or twenty, and make it all look easy.” ■ “Carol Thomsen is still in the business world, and is very adept in all that her job entails. We’re lucky that she still saves time for us.” Bahensky pauses and describes member Judy Johnson as “often a comforter and advisor. She and Elizabeth really enjoy extensive trips to Greece and Ireland, to name just a few. And we elders have as much fun listening as if we were there.” A fter our monthly brunch that featured delicious quiches and lively conversation, we turned our discussion to a more serious side of the dining room table. We recalled special memories over the past two decades, which brought to mind members who are no longer seated at our table. We raised our glasses and toasted the memories of Kay Yax, Revel Loedy and Alice Mayne. My dad, Bernard Yax, also liked to host the brunch club up at his Greeley County farm. A brunch that had been scheduled was still held in his honor two weeks after he passed away. Not only do the members live in Howard, Hall, Greeley and York counties, we’ve also been blessed to have guests at our gatherings from around the world — in- cluding Germany, Swe- den, Ireland, Belgium, Thailand and Holland. ■ turn to BRUNCH CLUB , page 7A The Grand Island Independent THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 6A SENIOR LIVING Fellowship, and mimosas, for 22-plus years ‘THE HOWARD COUNTY INTOXICATED SECRET MONTHLY BRUNCH CLUB’ Story by Elizabeth King for The Independent Photo courtesy of Elizabeth King Pictured in this recent photo of the entire Howard County Brunch Club are (top row, from left) Marilyn Retzlaff, Carol Schooley, Elizabeth King, Norma Mahrt, Carol Thomsen, Judy Johnson and Janet Fenton, and (bottom row) Marion Bahensky, Ron Sack and Buzz Welch.