Sunshine Retirement Living Annual Poetry Contest Winners 2019

Sunshine Retirement Living Annual Poetry Contest Winners 2019


Congrats to every Sunshine poet!
You took the time,
To make it rhyme,
And weren’t afraid to show it.

The above feeble example of an ABBA rhyming scheme can mean only one thing: Sunshine Retirement Living has just announced the winners of our annual Poetry Contest. You can download a copy of the booklet here.

This year’s contest was organized by Leslie Trevino, Life Enhancement Director at Brooke Ridge in Pharr, Texas, and

“This year, we explored the topic of ‘Transitioning into Retirement,’” said Leslie. “We knew it would be something everyone could relate to – joyful and inspiring for many, challenging and bittersweet for others – and that was indeed the case.”

For the judging, Leslie recruited three friends and family members who are also published writers and poets – Kathy Egbert of Leander, Texas, Sandra Paredes of McAllen, Texas, and David Bryant from Copperas Cove, Texas. Bryant is also a reporter for the Killeen DailyHerald.

Judging was based on the following criteria:

  • 50% on how well it deals with the chosen theme
  • 30% on Creativity
  • 20% on how well it’s written

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Overall, this year’s competition was smaller than last year’s but had more communities represented. That diversity was evidenced in the three highest award winners. The 1st Place Winner of a $50 Gift Card was penned by Alice Sweeney of Garden Way in Eugene, Oregon.

My Golden Years

“Fancy clothes and Cadillacs” The fortune cookie said.
Aches and pains and cataracts are what I got instead.
My knees are getting wobbly, and I wake up in a skin
More wrinkled than pajamas that I’d tossed the whole night in.
Everybody mumbles, so I can’t hear what they say.
I’d forget it anyhow. My memory’s gone astray.
But I know God still loves me, and I’ve friends who cheer me on,
So I don’t worry ‘bout the vim and vigor that are gone.
And I still have some body parts that never do get sore.
So I just count my blessings, and then I feel young once more.

– Alice W. Sweeney

The 2nd Place Winner of a $30 Gift Card was a lengthy tome by Jane Cocke Perdue from The Clairmont in Austin, Texas.

Parade of Elders

The day arrives quickly – surprising us!
Workplace demands have ended,
sending us into another stage of changes,
gravity pulling us toward a center
like moths circling light.
From places near and far
we come as pioneers of old
searching for a new home.
Arriving with trepidation and hesitation,
greeted by the sight of a grand procession
we stand and watch with fascination─

Steering his power chair
like the tank commander
he was in Viet Nam,
he sits erect,
looking straight ahead,
speeding toward the dining room.

She clutches the handlebars
of her well-worn walker,
her daily life-line,
gently lifting and lowering the frame
in steady rhythm
with each painful step.

He shuffles slowly,
shoes scraping the carpet,
right side leaning toward the wall,
knowing he can balance against it
to avoid a fall.

A wheeled chair rolls slowly
down one corridor,
tenderly and carefully pushed
by a partner
of over fifty years.

Each person in this parade of elders
determined to navigate
the long halls of the golden age
from their apartment
to the dining room
to nourish their bodies with good food
and their souls with friendship
and conversation─

We know with the wisdom
of this life phase,
we have found our home
and this parade of elders
will soon become our friends.

– Jane Cocke Perdue

Shirley Laundy from The Continental in Austin also went to great lengths with were poem and was rewarded with 3rd Place and a $20 Gift Card.

Transitioning Into Retirement

Easing into retirement? It all
goes in stages –
Changing, evolving as each
person ages.
For me it began with excitement
and fun.
As I played with my love in
the Florida sun.
The kids came to visit – then
grandkids – a bonus!
They moved far out west but,
oh well! They’d still phone us.
But as years sped on by it
was harder to travel.
My idyllic existence began to
Friends faded away. There were
fewer vacations.
The ER was one of our prime

Then one day I awoke and my
dreams were all shattered.
I faced life alone and I felt
nothing mattered.
Yet time eases pain and after
a while.
I went on with my life – even
started to smile.
My days settled into a
pleasant routine.
My home was my castle. I
reigned there as queen.
I gladly flew westward for
special occasions –
Weddings and birthdays – no
missed celebrations.
Not even my 90th! Yikes!
Could this be true?
Was I really that old? Now
what should I do?
My far away family was
worried and so
I decided ‘twas time just
to pack up and go.

So now I’m in Texas with
family at hand
Trying retirement home living
and so far it’s grand.
The staff here is gracious. I
like my new pad.
Most people are friendly. The
food isn’t bad.
So I thank the dear Lord for
this thrilling new chapter
In my quest to seek life
happily ever after.

– Shirley Laundy

Congratulations to the winners and all those who participated in this year’s contest. Whether it’s expressed through poetry or a warm smile, we are delighted to help so many who are transitioning into retirement and to do whatever we can to create your happily ever after.

This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living, June 2019.

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