DALTON -- Dorothy Snyder may be 91, but she still has a passion for life. So, she was happy to attend a birthday party on Wednesday at the Dalton Senior Center.
Snyder even enjoyed some birthday cake -- even though her next birthday isn't until December.
Official birth dates? They didn't matter on Wednesday, when the town of Dalton threw a birthday party for more than 30 of the town's nonagenarians at the Senior Center.
Before hearing the familiar tune of "Happy Birthday," sung by second-graders from Saint Agnes Academy, the seniors enjoyed a three-course meal, including a cake decorated with purple and gold roses.
"We have over 3,000 years represented in birthdays among our guests, which just amazes me," Senior Center Director Kathy Pizzi said before the meals were served. The food was donated by Williams College.
Snyder and her twin sister, Helen Pomeroy, were both present. Snyder said a passion for life has allowed her to outlive 11 other siblings and enjoy her later years with three children, more than a dozen grandchildren, more great-grandchildren than she can keep track of, and a 1-year-old great, great grandchild.
"You've got to love life, enjoy every minute of it," Snyder said.
There are 126 senior citizens who live in Dalton, according to the 2011 town census, which was reason enough to hold a birthday party.
The oldest attendee was 99-year-old Odessa Daoust. Several seniors who live in the Sugar Hill assisted
"As you grow older you become isolated so we get them together to bring them out," said Town Manager Kenneth Walto, who helped serve plates of food.
The town has hosted a party for nonagenarians in the past, but with the focus on building a new senior center, the last such gathering took place four years ago, Rizzi said. Wednesday's party included Greek tomato and cucumber salad with sliced feta cheese, chicken and dumplings with butternut squash
Even with nine decades before them, the mood of the participants was lively. They dismissed age with a wave.
Pomeroy said she doesn't feel her age.
"Not until I look in the mirror," she quipped.
Snyder fondly recalled sledding down relatively barren streets in Hinsdale as a youngster in the 1930s. She continues to reap joy from daily conversations and lunches with her sister.
Rita Matthews, 91, who lives at Sugar Hill, said she continues to be a vociferous reader and enjoys long walks.
She credits her longevity and health to sensibility, which includes a sensible diet, an occasional drink, and an unquenchable curiosity that has taken her to all the continents, including Antarctica.
As she's watched other seniors slow down, she's made a point to speed up.
"You've got to keep going, Matthews said. "Don't stop."
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