Bryant Hickory Woods calendar

Calloway County native Bobbie Bryant points to an image of her father, Billy Smith, Wednesday during a planning meeting for the 15th annual Hickory Woods Calendar at Willow Bistro in Murray. Bryant joined Calloway County Deputy Judge-Executive Gina Winchester for a brainstorming session with Hickory Woods Senior Living Center administrators to discuss the upcoming calendar, which is expected to have a theme related to the county's bicentennial celebration in 2022.

MURRAY — As always, the theme and other certainties about the Hickory Woods Calendar for 2022 must remain hidden.

However, there is one thing that can be determined. In some way, the calendar will be connected to the upcoming bicentennial celebration of Calloway County.  So, on Wednesday, administrators from the Hickory Woods Senior Living Community, where the popular calendar originates, began what is expected to be a series of brainstorming meetings with organizers for the bicentennial at a luncheon at Murray’s Willow Bistro. 

“We’re looking forward to how we can come up with some ideas for how we can connect the calendar to the bicentennial of Calloway County,” said Calloway native Bobbie Bryant, who now resides in Lexington, but is helping to write a commemorative history book for the celebration.

“The calendar (which will be unveiled for the 15th time on the Saturday before Thanksgiving) will have a place in a book we’re putting together,” said Bryant, who has a strong connection to the calendar as both of her parents — Shirley Smith and Billy Smith — have appeared in it, including the 2021 edition that consisted of images from past years because no photo shoots could be performed during 2020.

“We normally start planning this in January, and last year, we did meet with (photographer Ken Andrus) but that was as far as it went,” said Hickory Woods Executive Director Annita Peeler. It was at the end of 2020 that calendar organizers and Andrus produced the 14th edition as a “best-of” product.

“The pandemic cheated us out of everything, but we felt like we just didn’t want it to cheat us out of that calendar, the one thing (the residents) really look forward to.”

COVID-19 restrictions are still in place at Hickory Woods, so photo shoots have not been planned as of now. However, with vaccines having been available locally for a few months, and continuing to be distributed, hopes are high that those shoots will eventually commence.

“We still have a lot of logistics to figure out, as far as how we’re going to be able to take pictures. Are masks still going to be required or not required? Will there need to be social distancing in pictures?,” said Assistant Activity Director Mitzi Parrish-Sebben. “So we have to think these things through.

“The bad part is some (of the residents) moved in with us and were planning to be in the calendar (during 2020) and, behold, it didn’t happen. They’re still waiting for their first photo shoot.”

Calloway County Deputy Judge-Executive Gina Winchester, who is organizing the celebration, was also present for Wednesday’s gathering. 

“I’m excited for this. Today is our first official meeting as a group and I can’t wait to see the ideas that everyone comes up with,” Winchester said. “I’m ready.”

That also appears true of the residents. Activities Director Jenise Howard said that, while the calendar committee leaders are keeping most ideas of the 2022 edition quiet, she did let residents know that a meeting concerning the calendar was happening on Wednesday.

“I actually did tell them that Mitzi and I might not be back in time for activities (that afternoon) because we had a luncheon about the calendar,” Howard said, noting that chatter among residents about the calendar had been rather quiet so far this year, up to that point. 

“They have perked up. They’ve been coming up to us and asking, ‘You’re still going to your luncheon, right?’” 

The calendar’s unveiling will happen still in 2021, but with it being the 2022 edition, it will be well timed for start of the bicentennial celebration in the county, Jan. 1.

“This is going to be perfect,” Winchester said.