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Joy of dining helps make and keep friends

3:09 PM EDT, October 10, 2012

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Preston Morefield was about 26 years old and a new lineman for ComEd when his supervisor suggested he climb a 65-foot high telephone pole covered with ice. Morefield wore spikes on his shoes and a body harness with straps for lifting himself, but there was no assurance he would make it to the top. Not only that, the pole connected intersecting power lines which made it especially challenging to anchor the safety harness.

"I made it, but I was shaking when I came down," says Morefield, now 82. "A lot of telephone poles now have steps, or the linemen use bucket trucks. This was a different era."

As harrowing as that experience may have been, Morefield insists his 40-year career with ComEd, which started in 1953, was with "a great company."

Morefield resides at Smith Crossing, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) located at 10501 Emilie Lane in Orland Park. He frequently drives to luncheon club meetings to meet with his former ComEd buddies.

During those hearty meals he enjoys reminiscing about his career, which included being promoted to troubleshooter and charged with the responsibility of determining the location of power disruptions.

In addition to lunching with his ComEd buddies, Morefield says he enjoys regularly sharing meals with fellow residents at Smith Crossing. "I enjoy them a lot," he says. "I've made some pretty good new friends with my fellow diners. The food is great too."

Realizing that meal times provide opportunities for socializing, Smith Crossing encourages residents to eat in the common dining area. The retirement community outfits tables with linen napkins and tablecloths, and retains the services of an executive chef to ensure that residents look forward to each and every meal.

Independent living residents like Morefield also can cook in their own apartments, which feature complete kitchens, however most choose to participate in the dining plan, which includes two daily meals. Morefield adds, "I love eating with my friends so I don't do much cooking."

Besides the ComEd luncheon club, about the only other time Morefield doesn't eat with fellow Smith Crossing residents is after he drives himself to Saturday Mass at Incarnation Catholic Church in Palos Heights. "On those days, I'll catch a bite to eat out, which is a nice change too."

Morefield grew up in Hodgkins, Ill.  Later he moved to Chicago's Bridgeport and Gage Park neighborhoods and finally to Palos Heights. He cherishes many memories of his work, of fishing with relatives for walleye in Wisconsin, of volunteering as chairman for a local Cub Scouts pack, and of traveling throughout the United States, Canada and the world with his late wife, Geraldine. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Together the couple raised their son Michael and their daughter Donna. Morefield has four grandchildren. 

 

About Smith Crossing

Smith Crossing, located in south suburban Orland Park, just north of I80 and west of LaGrange Road, is currently completing the final phase of a $37 million expansion program to increase its capacity by nearly 60 percent. It is one of only 15 CCRCs in Illinois awarded a five-year term of accreditation for "exemplary conformance" to international standards set by CARF-CCAC, the industry's sole accrediting body.

Sponsored by Smith Senior Living, a not-for-profit organization serving older adults since 1924, Smith Crossing provides spacious residences and engaging programs for independent living, as well as assisted living, memory support and skilled nursing care. Smith Crossing recently opened a new transitional care wing to service residents and others needing short-term rehab services.

For more information about Smith Crossing, call 708-326-2300 or visit SmithCrossing.org.