Tulip Festival Gives PARC Residents So Much More

in Life at PARC

Written by Christine Thompson

Orange Nassau. Peppermint. Monte Carlo. Zombie. Burgundy Lace. Shakespeare.

Who knew such spectacular names existed for tulips?

I didn’t, until I joined a busload of our PARC Retirement Living residents to visit the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in early April.

Tulip field at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

I’ve always referred to tulips by their colour: “red tulips”, “yellow tulips”, “purple tulips” and so on. But things are never as they seem.

As we encountered fields of reds and yellows, deep violets and pinks, and visited two tulip farms, it was a virtual symphony of colours and shapes for our eyes. I assumed my bus mates would be equally as astounded and impressed. But while I was oohing and ahhing, and snapping countless photographs, the residents seemed considerably more subdued. At first I couldn’t put my finger on it. Had they seen all this before? Were they tired?

As the day progressed, and we shopped and lunched in quaint La Connor, it began to come clear. The real enthusiasm seemed to come from other things….

It was the conversation over lunch with a glass of wine.

It was the sing along on the bus that had everyone smiling and participating.

For one Summerhill PARC resident, it was the tulip-adorned kite she had purchased for her 9-year old granddaughter. “She comes to stay with me all the time at Summerhill” explained the proud grandma. “Acts like she owns the place,” she beamed. “I’m going to take her kite-flying at Ambleside.” She clutched that kite firmly for the entire bus ride home.

The tulips were spectacular. They really were. Everyone agreed on that.

But it seemed to be the camaraderie and shared experiences that drew the richest enthusiasm and most vibrant smiles.

That, you can’t cultivate.