Photos by James Kinneen. Mark Walsh and Rita Shahidi serve the seniors.
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
With the rain pouring outside and the temperature barely hitting seventy degrees, it didn’t feel much like summertime when The Westwood Council on Aging held its annual BBQ. But, once the smell of hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob and watermelon hit the air, it was clear that summer had begun.
Decorated with American flags everywhere, and little gift bags of Tootsie Roll Pops and breath mints being used as centerpieces, the event was well attended despite the rain keeping some people at home (likely out of fear of driving on slick roads). With Westwood’s own Paul French entertaining the crowd, and cleverly alluding to the weather with songs like “You Are My Sunshine,” “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”, as well as classic summertime songs like “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” the event was actually being filmed as part of an infomercial for the Center itself.
Connor Lynch from the Westwood Media Center explained that the infomercial would be designed to show off the programs and workouts the Center has to offer, and will feature interviews with various people involved with the space.
Lynch had plenty to film at the barbecue, as a wide variety of Westwood celebrities showed up and spoke. Representative Paul McMurtry made his way among the crowd, shaking hands and greeting guests before grabbing microphone and speaking to the crowd. Before wishing the crowd a “happy summer,” he explained that he “wanted to extend wishes from Senator Rush, as well,” while informing the crowd: “if there’s anything we can help out with don’t hesitate to ask.” He also brought gifts: bookmarks from Senator Rush that McMurtry joked “you can either put in your recycling bins or in your books.”
McMurtry wasn’t the only politician at the BBQ. Selectman Mike Walsh helped to serve the food before assuring the crowd the reason he was there “is not just because there’s food - I really do like to see you guys, as well.”
Westwood Fire Chief John Deckers appeared and spoke of how the department is trying to be more proactive and get out into the public before there are any problems as “normally when you see us, it’s your worst day.”
Just before dessert, a raffle was held for two thirty-dollar gift cards. But while only two people could win the gift cards, everybody was happy to kick off the summer at the annual BBQ.