Spread­ing an at­ti­tude of grat­i­tude

The Progress-Index Weekend - - LIFESTYLES - Kristi K. Hig­gins PROGRESS-IN­DEX.COM]

The Car­son Ru­ri­tan Club was packed with fam­ily and friends of Johnny and Michelle Oak­ley’s for their an­nual Christ­mas party! It is one of those events folks look for­ward to all year long.

Johnny told me, “We host the get-to­gether to spread hol­i­day cheer! Ev­ery­one knows every­body in Car­son. We have peo­ple com­ing from all over. I in­clude my Johnny’s Auto & Truck Ser­vice cus­tomers to show my ap­pre­ci­a­tion, and I, also, in­vite busi­nesses I buy things from.”

It was the first year they held it at the club due to the grow­ing num­ber of at­ten­dees. He com­mented, “Be­tween 200 and 300 guests drop in and out. A team of fam­ily and friends help pre­pare the din­ner.”

The amaz­ing menu con­sisted of: Beef rib­eye loins & pork butts (both pre­pared by Mark Jerni­gan), mar­i­nated chicken breasts (pre­pared by Glen New­ton), mashed pota­toes, mac & cheese, green beans, cole slaw, sweet potato casse­role, etc. “Guests bring a dessert, if they feel moved to do so.”, Johnny shared.

Joey said, “My sis­ter, Terry Oak­ley Ran­dolph, plays a big role in the feast since she owns a cater­ing busi­ness. And, two other sis­ters, Carolyn Pecht and Shirley Wilkin­son lend a hand.”

Upon Terry’s in­vi­ta­tion, I at­tended my first Oak­ley party, last year. I was hooked in­stantly on the de­li­ciously, fun af­fair. The sweet potato casse­role alone made me an ad­dict. Sorry you couldn’t make it this year, Patty Pope; I ate your share.

Mark Jerni­gan (“Rhino”) made me aware of the spe­cial Car­son baked beans made by Ron­nie Pecht. Ron­nie told me it takes him roughly six hours to fix them. Mark said, “Kids will put them in waf­fle cones they’re so good!”

I was ap­proached by a woman that right away said, “You prob­a­bly don’t rec­og­nize me, do you?” I sure enough didn’t. She

con­tin­ued, “I clean your teeth.” I told her, “I’m sorry, I didn’t rec­og­nize you with­out your scrubs on.” She laughed and said, “Most peo­ple don’t”. I uti­lized Amanda Pecht later to check my teeth. I fig­ured it isn’t any­thing she hadn’t seen be­fore.” She was happy to oblige.

Johnny and Michelle ar­ranged for a spe­cial treat this year: the Triple B Band. One of two found­ing mem­bers of the ‘Old School Mo­town Blues Band’, Scott Billings, played gui­tar, and orig­i­nal band mem­ber, Mau­rice Meade, played lead gui­tar. Other mem­bers in­cluded: Thur­man Har­grave on key­board, Todd Mob­ley on bass gui­tar, Dave Mayes on drums and found­ing mem­ber, Jimmy Tynes, pro­vided vo­cals.

At the time I left to at­tend a friend’s birth­day party, most guests were con­gre­gated at the far end away from the band.

The only tak­ers on the dance floor were ram­bunc­tious young­sters who were hav­ing a blast.

Michelle com­mented, “Oh, give them some time, they’ll be dancin’ the night away for sure.”

Kristi K. Hig­gins, also known as “The So­cial But­ter­fly”, re­cently joined the ProgressIndex news­room staff. Kristi, who writes about her ex­pe­ri­ences at var­i­ous com­mu­nity events, will be con­tribut­ing her in­sights and per­spec­tive, as well as shar­ing sto­ries of hu­man in­ter­est, for ProgressIndex cus­tomers. She can be reached at khig­[email protected] or 804-722-5162.


Everett Gay, 3, and Wil­liam Woods, 4, are caught havin’ a good ol’ time on the dance floor dur­ing Johnny and Michelle Oak­ley’s an­nual Christ­mas party held at the Car­son Ru­ri­tan Club.


Michelle and Johnny Oak­ley pause for a photo dur­ing their an­nual Christ­mas party. The cou­ple hosts the get-to­gether each year “to spread hol­i­day cheer”.


The Triple B Band pro­vides mu­sic dur­ing Johnny and Michelle Oak­ley’s an­nual Christ­mas party at the Car­son Ru­ri­tan Club.

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