The Culpeper Senior Center celebrated 25 years of a holiday tradition this year.
Since 1992, Culpeper Senior Center coordinator Gladys Williams and her seniors have been treated to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner at Pepper’s Grill.
The tradition started after Williams’ husband died on Dec. 23 and she decided that no one should spend Christmas alone.
“I decided that day that no one should be alone on Christmas Day,” Williams said. “I talked to Ted Tedeski, at that time it was at the Holiday Inn. He agreed to have us every Christmas and also on Thanksgiving.”
James Atkins and Eddie Jenkins at Pepper’s have graciously worked with the seniors for more than 30 years, dating back to their work at a previous restaurant. That connection has fostered a loving relationship between Pepper’s and the seniors.
“They treat us like we were kings and queens,” Williams said. “We get to eat first, before their guests arrive. It’s the biggest spread.”
The staff at Pepper’s makes the seniors feel very welcome and it makes the seniors day.
“Some of them, their families are off doing other things, but a lot of my folks have outlived their family,” Williams said. “They’ve outlived their friends. A lot of them just like to come and be a part, because that is their Thanksgiving, that is their Christmas.”
She said the seniors share memories of their times with family and their traditions, but they also cherish the opportunity they have to share the day with friends and Pepper’s staff.
Williams again praised Culpeper for the work the county does in making sure the senior population is taken care of.
“They enjoy everything the community does, and I’ll say it again, it’s the best community in the world,” Williams said.