Palos Park, IL – Like falling leaves that carpet the ground in autumn, the Corderos see their mailbox fill with invitations every week. The invitations ask Sam and his wife Barbara to enjoy lunch and tour neighboring retirement communities.
“We’ve never responded before,” says Sam. “But when this one came from Peace Village – wow. We knew this was something we really wanted to attend.” The oversized poster of an invitation itself was a “wow” piece, something Barbara felt was a work of art, and an important factor in deciding to attend the event. And when they arrived at “An Evening Of Jazz”, it was one wow after another.
Sponsored by Peace Village, the Evening was just about perfect. Twinkling golden lights hung from tree branches over the patio, overlooking a lush walking path surrounding the pond framed by a wooden bridge and gazebo. Cool breezes blew away the remnants of a hot afternoon. White cloth-covered tables and comfortable chairs filled the patio and the balcony, both flush with visitors.
“This is very beautiful. The waitstaff is lovely and everything is thoroughly enjoyable. No cooking for me tonight!”, laughed Barbara. Sam also laughed and agreed. “We couldn’t pass this up. Music, drinks, food – and look at this,” he gestured happily at the harmonious, tranquil surroundings and at the uniformed wait staff offering platters of bacon-wrapped scallops, silver dollar beef tenderloin sandwiches, shrimp crostini, Tuscan skewers and more. “It’s like being on vacation!”
The Brother John Band, who have played with the likes of Eric Clapton, Black Crowes and Buddy Guy, kept the crowd moving, swaying and tapping along with cool jazz and songs from the 50’s.
“Better than Ravinia,” said Sam. “Our view from here in the balcony is just perfect.” Barbara said, “We came a little late and I think we have the best seats. We can see and hear everything!”
“I love when they play the whole song like this,” said Rita Davids of Orland Park as the extended version of “Georgia” was heard. “And these appetizers are just so beautifully done.” Her sister-in-law Marilyn Davids agreed while enjoying a Manhattan, then pointed out a gentleman snapping his fingers, tapping his foot and bouncing at a nearby table. “He is certainly enjoying himself.”
That enjoyment seemed to be a universal feeling as couples and friends clinked wine glasses with hearty “cheers” and sat back to enjoy the music, the food and their companionship. It was indeed a setting worthy of any resort vacation.
Rita observed, “I have friends who live here at Peace Village and they are always telling me I need to make the move. Maybe I’m just about ready. It is lovely here.”
With elegant and modern buildings within a serene and natural environment, complemented by a schedule bursting with daily activities, shows and many outings, Peace Village in Palos Park is a vibrant community for those over 62 years of age.
“This is really a place to enjoy life and retirement,” says Nancy Smeraldo, Director of Sales and Marketing at Peace Village. “The Jazz Evening is meant to illustrate that this is a vibrant place. We have quite a crowd here tonight, nearly 100 people. We knew within days of sending the invitations that it would be a success; we had so many immediate responses.”
“Peace Village is really a neighborhood; a neighborhood that caters to retired adults with a lot of living ahead of them. Our residents still drive, they vacation, they have family visit. But now they are in a maintenance-free, worry-free, secure home, with, if they like, restaurant-quality meals prepared and served to them every day. They are surrounded by friends who like the same music, who have time to play cards in the afternoon, who understand their experiences,” Nancy smiles. “It’s like being in college without the classes.”
Upcoming resident events include a fall fashion show with clothing from stores such as Macy’s and Carson’s, Oktoberfest with beer, brats and Eddie Carosa’s polka and a wide variety of excursions in and around Chicagoland.
At the Jazz Evening, dessert now made the rounds on silver platters. “This makes us feel ritzy,” said Barbara. Sweet trays were passed, including lemon squares and brownies. Barbara said yes to another cannoli and sighed, “Oh, my goodness. This is the ultimate.” Sam laughed with his wife and said, “We’re ready to move in today.”