Columbia seniors find friendship, fishing and more

tflach@thestate.comMay 9, 2013 

John Capizzi isn’t upset that he left a senior outing Thursday in South Congaree without any fish.

“If I don’t catch anything, it’s OK,” he said. “It’s great just being out here, relaxing.”

That’s the goal organizers of the event strive to accomplish.

“It’s nothing fancy,” said Tim Lever, owner of the 15-acre site with five ponds, where members of the senior center in nearby Pine Ridge gathered. “But having people enjoy it is what it’s all about.”

Lever and his wife, Valerie, host the annual event promoted as fun, friendship, food and fishing for fellow retirees.

Their largest pond is stocked with bass, bream, catfish, crappie, shellcracker and other species.

It’s an event that Sadie Tuten, 78, wouldn’t miss, saying she casts a line “every chance I get,” as she took home six fish.

Members look forward to the outing as a way to enjoy the outdoors even if they’re not anglers, center director Beverly Smith said. “They just glad to get out in nature,” she said.

Most of the two dozen seniors who came were more intent on socializing than fishing, content to view ducks and geese swim in the pond and waddle around it, although a few anglers did try their luck.

“You kind of unwind,” Ronald Reese said. “All seniors need to get out and meet others.”

Valerie Lever, who occasionally volunteers as an assistant at the center, is happy to share what she experiences daily with others for a few hours.

“It’s a little piece of heaven and we like everybody to enjoy it,” she said.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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