Kleinjan Will Celebrate Dual Events on May 24


May 18, 2022

May 24 is a special date to Art Kleinjan for two important reasons. First, he will celebrate his 90th birthday, and second, he will be retiring from his position as meal delivery person for the Chinook Senior Citizen Center.

Regarding his secret to a long life, Kleinjan replied, “I’m just lucky.”

Speaking of luck, Center Director Karyn Higgins feels fortunate to have had the dedicated and uninterrupted services of Kleinjan for so long. “Art has been involved with meal deliveries for the Center for 16 years. For the last seven, he has been performing the task on his own,” she said.

In executing his duties, Kleinjan reports to the Center at 10:00 each morning when the cooks begin packing all of the Styrofoam boxes with salads, desserts, and entrées. This can take some time, according to Kleinjan since the crew is mindful of dietary restrictions as they label the meals for delivery. The meals are then transferred to insulated containers so that hot meals stay hot and cold meals remain chilled.

An hour later, Kleinjan begins his rounds, which take approximately an hour to complete. The meals go to people who are homebound and can’t otherwise make it to the Center. “Either they don’t drive or don’t have transportation,” Kleinjan said, “so I deliver.”

On a typical day, Kleinjan will deliver sixteen meals, but occasionally he has upwards of 22. “It’s enough to keep us old guys busy,” Kleinjan laughed.

When asked whether he has a delivery assistant, Kleinjan claimed he’s “too ornery” to work with a partner. Actually, he performs his deliveries solo so as not to get distracted by a visitor. “It’s just easier to do it myself. If I had a partner, we’d get to visiting and someone or something would get missed. I don’t want to run that risk.”

After being thanked for his years of service to the community, Kleinjan replied: “Maybe there’s an outside chance that it’ll get me into heaven.”

Anyone interested in sharing in Kleinjan’s retirement/birthday party is invited to the Chinook Senior Center on Tuesday. The Combo Celebration is set to begin at noon on May 24, with soft shell tacos on the menu. The cake will be a standard sheet cake baked by Crystal Cox to accommodate the number of people who might come celebrate. Not a fan of plain white or chocolate cake, Kleinjan has requested a cake with caramel and nuts.


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