Union City's older lovebirds got to celebrate Valentine's Day early, as the city held its annual Senior Citizens Valentine's Day Luncheon on Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Colin Powell School.
Members of the Union City High School Junior ROTC delivered plates of rice, pasta, eggplant, lasagna, and baked ziti to the elders, who all received flowers as well.
“It's a nice gathering,” said local resident Grace Contreras, attempting to talk over the Latin music in the school's gymnasium. “I love to be here. It's a nice treat for everyone, especially the senior citizens.”
Her plans for the actual holiday involved a “nice dinner” with her husband of over 30 years.
She recalled her most memorable Valentine's Day as being the time he bought her a “nice, beautiful ring.”
Amaralis Rodriguez found herself at the luncheon largely because of her young son, who attends second grade at Colin Powell.
As it turned out, he was interested in another classmate who was soon to arrive with her parents, hoping she would be his Valentine.
“They get along with each other very well,” said Rodriguez, who is married.
“I just came to get together with the people from Union City,” Rodriguez added. “I know a lot of them because they have their sons here too.”
“It doesn't matter if you're single, married, divorced, widowed, love your parents, love your sister, siblings.” - Cristina Garcia
Cristina Garcia, 37, was at the event with her husband, young daughter, and mother—the latter of whom eagerly danced with anyone who came close enough, and planted a kiss on their cheeks.
“It's a great thing to be here,” Garcia said. “Valentine's Day is a day of love. It doesn't matter if you're single, married, divorced, widowed, love your parents, love your sister, siblings. [It's for] anybody you can share love.”
She noted her favorite Valentine's Day. “Last year, we went to Massachusetts,” she said. “We took a drive; it was snowing. It was so romantic to be in the car together while the snow was falling down. We were drinking hot chocolate.”
“It's a great day to celebrate Valentine's Day,” Commissioner Tilo Rivas told the crowd. “It's the day of love and friendship. That's the important thing. We're gathering to say hello to each other. This is what the mayor wants to do every year. This is Union City—Unity. Don't get divided.”
“We're gathered today to spread to you how much we love you,” added Commissioner Maryury Martinetti. “And how much we appreciate being your friends.”
Hannington Dia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org