Lawrence Allen can return to playing rook with his friends as the Alexander City Senior Center at the Bud Porch Center has reopened.

Allen served in the Navy in World War II. After the war Allen moved around the state a bit but settled in Alexander City. The pandemic halted Allen’s life as he knew it, retired in Alexander City. Allen did keep up his hobby of repairing antique clocks.

“I didn’t get out,” Allen said. “I am 94 years olds and will soon be 95. I respected the virus and stayed in. I got on Ebay and Facebook and bought clocks just to have something to do.”

The purchases fed Allen’s hobby but didn’t help his business too much.

“I found out I was a whole lot better buying than selling them,” Allen said. “There is not much of a market in antique clocks here in Alexander City. I sold a few but I have about 50 clocks at home now.

“I enjoyed it. I’m not complaining. It gave me something to do and survive the pandemic.”

The senior center was an outlet for Allen and the other clients of the senior center. The COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the center but director Jennifer Carlise said about 93 meals a day were delivered curbside. But no more. After 15 months of the doors being closed the senior center is open again and Allen is happy, he gets to return to his routine set before the pandemic.

“I would go to Silver Sneakers every morning,” Allen said. “I don’t usually get here til 10 a.m.”

Allen’s exercise program always made him later than some of his card playing friends.

“A group of us play Rook,” Allen said, “They fuss at me because they want to play a little before 10 a.m.

“I get here and play Rook then lunch.”

Allen went to high school in Leeds and has seen pandemics before and lived just like this one.

“I saw polio and several of my friends in school were affected by polio,” Allen said. “There were 28 people in my high school graduating class and I’m the only one left. The last one who died was affected by polio.”

Allen said the senior center is great for everyone involved.

“Now that the pandemic is over and took a year out of my life, I’m ready,” Allen said. “It’s just great fellowship together. It’s a good group of people that are communal and friendly.

“It’s people our own age. We have seen a lot of changes over our lifetime. We talk about how things used to be.”

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.