The senior citizens picked the prettiest flowers from the bunches of mums spread across the tables at the Westminster Senior Center yesterday.
A few snips later, with a little help from students from the Carroll County Career and Technology Center, they had filled silvery containers with greenery and perky yellow and bright white blooms.
After adding a candle or two, everyone had a centerpiece for a Thanksgiving table.
As her two classmates moved among their "senior students," Amy Muenze, 16, stood in the center of the room and gave step-by-step directions to about 25 seniors. The horticulture students brought the materials with them.
"Cover the oasis with pieces of fern," said Amy. "You don't want any of the base material to show."
"I have never done anything like this before, and I have to keep asking questions," said Golda Liller, 78. "The young girls don't mind helping, though."
Kim Fogle, 17, offered encouraging words and a little advice: "That looks good, but let's cover the whole base with the greens."
Ms. Liller decided that the ferns looked pretty enough for her table, even before she added the flowers.
"My candle is a little crooked in the center," said Selma Gregory, 69, with a laugh. "But, what does that matter? So is my house."
When all the bases were covered, Amy gave directions for the finishing touches.
"Cut the flowers, leaving about 4 inches of stem, and use four to establish points around the base. Then, spread other flowers through. Keep turning your bases to get a perspective."
Amy pronounced the pieces all picture perfect and "very professional." The arrangements would cost about $20 at a flower shop, she said.
Meriam Wagner, 88, called floral arranging a fun project, but said she felt a little out of her element. She volunteers in the center's kitchen four days a week.
"Can I take mine home?" asked Mary Sheppard, 64.
Many seniors planned to use their creations as hostess gifts on Thanksgiving Day.
"I'll take this to my daughter's home, but I hope her cats don't eat it," said Doris Fumat, 67. "They like flowers."
Martha Spangler, 65, who has a garden outside her front door, said she was grateful for the arrangement tips.
"This was a good class," said Kim Duvall, 16. "I liked working with them."
The students promised to return and help the seniors make Christmas decorations.
"I hope I can make it," said Jessie Pipp, who couldn't remember her age but knew she had been married 50 years. "If I can't, I know this one will hold up. I'll just change the flowers."
Olivia Schrodetzki, an assistant at the center, said she hoped to do more work with flowers.
"All our members can be creative," she said.
"Every arrangement has its own personality."