To the victor go the spoils: Morristown seniors enjoy a Mayor Christmas

They say payback is a … well, you know.

But sometimes it’s a treat.

On Wednesday, Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty looked happy as a kid on Christmas morning, paying back about 200 seniors for helping to re-elect him to a second term.

HOLIDAY HUG: Nelly Abellia, a native of Uraguay, gets warm welcome from Mayor Tim Dougherty at the Mayor's 2013 holiday party for seniors. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

HOLIDAY HUG: Nelly Abellia, a native of Uraguay, gets warm welcome from Mayor Tim Dougherty at the Mayor’s 2013 holiday party for seniors. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

His fourth annual holiday party for seniors felt even more festive than usual. Santa himself, who paid a visit, could not out-jolly Hizzoner.

As guests chowed down on baked ham and ziti and shepherd’s pie and scrumptious cakes and brownies donated by local eateries, the Mayor cracked jokes, raffled prizes from area merchants, and at one point terrified his wife Mary by threatening to sing.

“As everyone knows,” said the Mayor, thanking the crowd wedged into the town hall seniors center, “you can’t win in Morristown without support from our seniors. I am here to serve you.”

Actually, the serving was done by town employees and officials during the luncheon. Such was the spirit of the season that Alison Deeb, the council’s lone Republican, cheerfully dished out mashed potatoes and spicy sausages to the seniors, who came in droves about a half hour before the scheduled starting time.

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Seats were so scarce that it appeared that the Bishop himself might have to take his meal in the hallway.

That’s the Bishop of Jazz, the inimitable Rio Clemente, who tinkled the ivories while Joe Ferrara of Montclair crooned holiday favorites.

When a reporter asked Rio to recollect his first Christmas gig, Joe interjected:

“It was the first Christmas gig.”  An outdoor engagement…as there was no room at the inn.

But Rio corrected him.

“It was at the North Pole,” he said.

Fans won’t have to travel quite that far for a return engagement. The town native (Morristown High, ’60) will perform at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer for First Night Morris County.

Seniors got a bonus on Wednesday when Mickey Freeman left her post at the ziti tray to join Rio for a rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Mickey works in the town’s finance department, but on Jan. 17, 2014, you can catch her alter ego performing down the street at Hibiscus.

The whole scene impressed Learline Hyatt, who was paying her sewer bill at town hall when the party broke out.

“I like this,” she said. “I will come back next year.”

We’re pretty sure that goes for the Mayor, too.

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” he said.

Willie Tillett agreed…as long as those rumors about a mayoral singing debut remained unfounded.

“Don’t do it!” she told the Mayor.

KISSING THE BISHOP'S RING: Mickey Freeman pays homage to the Bishop of Jazz, Rio Clemente, at the Mayor's 2013 holiday party for seniors. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

KISSING THE BISHOP’S RING: Mickey Freeman pays homage to the Bishop of Jazz, Rio Clemente, at the Mayor’s 2013 holiday party for seniors. Photo by Kevin Coughlin



Comments

  1. Dan Collins says:

    Simple question: did the taxpayers of Morristown pay for this little political “payback”? The political nature of the event was made obvious by the Mayor … so where exactly did rthe money come from?

    And does anyone else think the Mayor’s last-minute demand for fried chicken was a bit too transparent?

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