Tammy Garrison-Maier has found a fun way to keep the residents at Oleander Acres active. As the activity director, Tammy has had to come up with new ways to entertain the residents and keep them on their toes. She started something last year before the Pandemic, and since it was such a hit, she is doing it again.
She is hiding beautifully painted rocks around the park. The fun is, if you find one, you get some chocolate. You have a choice of keeping the rock or hiding again for someone else to find.
“I’m spreading the happy,” she said about the endeavor. And it spreads. She said when someone finds a rock, she can see the pure joy in their faces.
“And who doesn’t like chocolate,” she added.
Since March last year, she, and others in the park, have had to think of new ways to keep busy.
Tammy said they have been able to do outdoor bingo games, arts and crafts projects and drive-thru meals.
It’s all a win-win, she says about the activities and the hunt she is getting ready to announce.
She said the drive-thru dinners look like date night to some. It is fun seeing them come through for their meals, she added. You can tell they are making a night out of it.
One night they served over 50 meals in just an hour and a half. The park serves tasty meals at least once a week, and cinnamon rolls too on a few days. The pickup window even gets all decked out with decorations of whatever holiday is around the corner.
“The goal is making them happy,” said Tammy.
The park is even able to use their own homegrown vegetables and herbs from their park garden. The park has a community garden and a beautiful butterfly garden. It was not a very pretty day when I was out there to get pictures, but the parks’ Facebook page features the many birds and butterflies that have been spotted in the gardens.
But … Let’s get back to the rocks.
Tammy has been spending time this past month painting rocks that feature more of a Valentine’s Day theme. She plans to hide the rocks on February first and let the hunt begin. There will be at least 50 rocks to find hidden throughout the park.
Rocks can be found with hearts, balloons, birds, or a simple message – All beautifully painted by Tammy.
Painted rocks have been a thing across the globe lately.
Much like Pokémon Go and then geocaching, finding painted rocks has been sort of a kindness scavenger hunt.
It has a simple premise of finding flat, smooth rocks and painting the rock as creatively as you can. You can write instructions on the back of the rock – like post a picture on a certain Facebook page, tag a place, hashtag it with a certain code word, etc.
Tammy has directions for finders to take a picture with their rock and share it on social media.
In the nationwide trend, the rocks can be found anywhere – on hiking trails, the grocery store, a popular location – just waiting for someone to find them. Usually, a person keeps the first rock they found, but then continue hiding any others they have found, or make one of their own to hide.
It is about spreading the happy.
As one website says about the search – “For those of you going through hard times, or simply needing a small pick-me-up, creative do-gooders are out to spread a bit of happiness through small hand-painted rocks.”
There are more than 500 rock painting groups that have been formed across the United States. If you do not have a chance to find a rock in the Rio Grande Valley, you might be able to find one at your summer home.
Be on the lookout wherever you are. Or join the fun and paint some rocks of your own for others to find.
Be a part of spreading the happy.