CHRISTMAS COMES EARLY FOR G.O.A(TORONTO) RETIREES
BY ARMAND RODRIGUES
Let there be no misunderstanding. Bringing forward Christmas in no way implies a condescending gesture towards aging members, or a way to avoid the vagaries of the weather. With banquet halls being in seasonal demand, clubs are left with no choice but to book anything available at a reasonable cost, as near to the big day as possible, without clashing with sister institutions. That explains why the G.O.A. (T) had its Xmas Fantasy Dance for retirees, on November 15, 2015. The occasion was at the Pearl Banquet Hall in Mississauga. It turned out to be a gorgeous day and the absence of snow for Christmas was of no consequence.
In keeping with the theme of Christmas, the chairs were draped in red and the centre-pieces on tables were tall make-believe conical fir trees in sparkling splendour. A special touch came with Xmas cookies for all, courtesy of Joan Francis. The hall was cosy and just right. Everybody seemed to know everybody else and this made for ambience that was priceless. The dress code was aimed at bringing back familiar memories of fashions in the 60s. And, indeed, a number of people emulated the bell-bottoms, beehive hairdos and hippie garbs of those bygone days. If a band creates the mood for any occasion, the Q.CS Sixties Revival Band provided the right generation-appropriate vibrations. The quartet of Errol & Tom Francis, William Fernandes and Polly Dias, had the remarkable voice of Natalie Rodrigues to enhance their music. They were in total sync with the sensibilities of the audience and put forth nostalgic fare greatly appreciated by all. The shakers and movers of yore showed that they still had it in them by strutting their stuff with gusto on the dance floor. Fabian Correia and Mattie Dias, dressed as Elvis and Priscilla respectively, were in their element jiving to an Elvis Presley number.
Song sheets were placed on all tables, and Christmas carols sung by all, helped elevate the Christmassy spirit. There were prizes for best period-outfits and for spot dances. And there were coveted gifts won in a raffle. Understandably, some nice older gals seemed somewhat bashful about sitting on Santa’s lap for a selfie. Mrs. Claus was less intimidating for the naughty boys. The Clauses were Dennis Pereira and Margaret DeSouza.
The appetizers and buffet lunch were of the Indian persuasion. Typically Goan was the “kunswar” that included : “cocado”, “pinagre”, “hot-kotem”, “choniam-doce”, “froot-cake”. These creations came from the kitchens of Pam Albuquerque, Muriel Pereira, Edith Dias, Edna Mathias, Enid Rodrigues, Eurema Colaco, Essie George and Fiona Pinto DeSouza.
Delphine Francis did justice in her role as M.C., specially with her cool demeanour. And, Greta Dias, Director-Goa Retirees & Friends, used her flair for planning, organizing, and mobilizing her support team, to good advantage and happy fruition, with the best interests of retirees always in mind.