Remember All Your Valentines at Kirby Pines

Do you remember when celebrating Valentine’s Day meant making cut out cards and sending them to your friends? Or going to buy a whole package of cards for your school class and teacher for thirty-nine cents? Do you remember saving to buy a sampler box of candy for your mom in hopes that she would share some with you? In our youth, this was just another holiday where we told as many friends and family members that we cared and loved them. 

While European countries have celebrated Valentine’s Day for centuries, British settlers most probably imported it to North America in the 19th century. The first mass-produced valentines made of embossed paper lace were produced in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1847. The creator, Ester Howland, took her inspiration from an English card she received and her father sold her cards in his general store. Originally meant to be shared among one’s “true love”, by the early 20th century valentine cards were being exchanged among family members and soon afterward friends. The practice of exchanging cards was extending to all manner of gifts in the second half of the 20th century.

As we got older, somehow Valentine’s Day took on a different meaning, and the number of cards we sent grew smaller until there were only one or two that we purchased. Of course that was a good thing, as receiving these cards had a much deeper and stronger meaning to each of us. Yet thinking back over the years, I sometimes wonder if it would not have been better had we continued the innocence of youth regarding the number of friends and family members we made time to send valentine cards to. After all, if we can make that special person in our heart smile by just reminding them how much we care about them with a simple card on Valentine’s Day, why not double, triple or even quadruple that number by simply returning to what seemed so normal in our youth?

Therefore, please think of this as my Valentine’s Day Card to all of you, but more importantly, as a testament of the friendship we have developed over the years. 

Happy St Valentine’s Day!


Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines

It’s the Year of the Rabbit at Kirby Pines

This January, we can celebrate not only the new calendar year 2023, but also the Chinese Lunar New Year 4720 – the Year of the Rabbit. Unlike western calendars, the Chinese calendar has names that are repeated every 60 years. 2023 is the year of the Water Rabbit. Beginning January 22nd (the Chinese New Year) the sign of the Rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace and prosperity in the Chinese culture.

The year 2023 is predicted to be a year of hope, as Water can move around any obstacle, and in this case the Water Rabbit can “hop” over even the biggest of obstacles.

The Rabbit is the fourth animal sign in the Chinese zodiac cycle, and each twelve-year cycle has a different characteristic element. In Chinese five element theory, each zodiac sign is associated with one of the five elements: Gold (Metal), Wood, Water, Fire or Earth. A Water Rabbit comes once in a 60-year cycle.

The Chinese theorized that a person’s characteristics are decided by their birth year’s zodiac animal sign and element. This means there are five types of Rabbit, each with different characteristics. According to Chinese astrology, Rabbits are predicted to be gentle, quiet, elegant and alert as well as quick, skillful, kind, patient, very responsible and always faithful to those around them. Additionally, a Water Rabbit is amicable and able to adjust readily to different conditions. If you were born in 1927, 1939 or 1951, you were born in the year of the Rabbit. The last Water Rabbit was 1963.

This past year at Kirby has been filled with many accomplishments, our Marketing team is on track to yet again bring in a record breaking number of deposits and move-ins, as prospects realize the value of life care and all that Kirby Pines offers to our residents. We realized the completion of the balcony renovation project; many new LED lighting projects and of course we continue building hallway renovations. New on the horizon is the renovation of our dining venues, lobby renovations and a new healthcare center.

We can expect many new accomplishments in 2023. So please have the patience of the Rabbit, as we remain faithful to you in completing the many projects to improve the overall community for your enjoyment and benefit.

Wishing you happiness, prosperity, and a Happy New Year. 


Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines

We’re Celebrating Christmas at Kirby Pines

Merry Christmas everyone! The spirit of the holidays cannot be missed at Kirby Pines. From the seventeen-foot live tree in the main lobby, to the carolers performing weekly, the spirit of the season is alive throughout the community.

Resident Programs has planned a variety of events for your enjoyment throughout this holiday season. In between events, many resident volunteers are keeping busy in the Blossom Shop, assisting the front desk as they sort through dozens of packages that arrive each day, and delivering them to residents who request that assistance. It is hard to imagine that a better group of volunteers could manage all of the packages that arrive each day. Well, maybe a group of Santa’s elves could do the job, but Memphis is a long way from the North Pole. Many other residents are volunteering their time to assist others in the community at large as well. No matter where they choose to volunteer, the spirit of Christmas is evident in their good works.

Of course it would not be a holiday season without some extra treats from Kirby’s culinary department. Can you imagine coming to work each day, and baking cookies, making egg nog or hot cider just one more time? This is just the kind of added daily activity that occurs in the kitchen during the holiday season at Kirby Pines, along with meal preparations for the hundreds of residents that live here. Just the same, these employees find time to relax and enjoy the spirit of Christmas that abounds throughout the community. By the way, if you have not made plans for Christmas Eve or Day, think about joining us for a delicious meal prepared in our dining room. I am sure you will find the meal delightful and the warmth of friendships comforting.

The decorations certainly add to the excitement of the season, but let us not forget this holiday celebrates the birth of Christ. His life and teachings are the basis for the values incorporated into our mission statement. It is with this in mind, that I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas, and the prospect of serving you in the year to come.


Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines

Getting Back To Tradition at Kirby Pines

Celebrating Thanksgiving this year will certainly be different than the past couple of years. Like so many other holidays these past two years, the holiday, and not the pandemic, will be on everyone’s mind. We can again be thinking about who we were inviting to dinner here at Kirby Pines or where we might be traveling to meet family and with whom we might be celebrating with in our homes. This year we may experience how “celebratory” this holiday may feel, as we are mindful of the many blessings we have to be thankful for.

When Thanksgiving was first celebrated, it was customary to be thankful for our blessings and to say a thankful prayer as part of that ritual. As our world has evolved, that tradition continues, despite the movies that depict a more stressful family gathering or an over humorous family gathering. True, there can be stressful factors, whether it’s traveling, family conflicts, or cooking that didn’t meet everyone’s expectation, but the act of engaging in the tradition of gratitude changes those experiences from a negative to a positive.

Regardless of the potential for stress, most people would agree that a holiday centered around food and loved ones, is a great way to spend the day. The bonding that comes from either cooking for others, or sharing a meal with others, is another blessing we can all be thankful for. Mark Simpson and his culinary team plan on providing a wonderful traditional feast for you and Kirby employees this Thanksgiving. Together we can celebrate the bonds of friendship that have developed over the years; the blessings we share by living and working in a community filled with love; and the gratitude we gain from just being good to one another.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines

39 Years of Community at Kirby Pines

This September, Kirby Pines LifeCare Community celebrates its thirty-ninth anniversary. As with any anniversary, a lot of planning goes into making this celebration one that will be enjoyable and memorable. Each year, a theme and a color is selected for the anniversary year. This year the color is Daisy Yellow and the theme is Greetings.

Yellow daisies have a strong association with cheerfulness, friendship, joy, and wishing someone well or “get well”. These feeling are frequently used to describe our community, and as a “LifeCare” community, the wishing of someone’s wellness or to get well is especially meaningful to all that live and work at Kirby Pines. Daisy flowers grow all over the world and have a long list of symbolic meanings. They symbolize new beginnings and rebirth; cheerfulness, hope and fun. Much like the annual celebration we have come to know as Lighting of the Lake.

This year’s theme for Lighting of the Lake is “Greetings”. A noun that means something friendly or a message that says you hope someone is well. Greeting is the act of welcoming; the acknowledgement and/or expression of good will. A perfect pairing with this year’s color of Daisy Yellow as described earlier in this message.

In the military a greeting is signified by a salute – a formal military gesture of respect and honor. Honor is also a source of credit or distinction given to individuals in service, and in this post pandemic era, it is an appropriate theme acknowledging employees and residents alike in celebration of Kirby’s thirty-ninth anniversary. 

So don your daisy yellow attire and gather near the lake on Saturday, September 10th to join in the fun as we celebrate another successful year of growth and service to all who work and live at Kirby Pines. 

Happy Anniversary, Kirby Pines!


Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines

Celebrating New Things at Kirby Pines

The thirty-ninth anniversary of Kirby Pines is just a month away. Whether you have been a resident for thirty-nine months or just thirty-nine days, you are enjoying first hand the numerous improvements and upgrades the community has made over the past years. These improvements and our consistency as a leader in the senior living industry, has resulted in Kirby Pines being voted the Best Retirement Community by the readers of The Memphis Commercial Appeal for fifteen consecutive years. 

Here are just a few reasons why we have earned this citywide recognition year after year: The Performing Arts Center over the years has hosted artists from our own Resident Groups, the New Orleans Jazz Ensemble, Memphis Opera and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. The Dog Park is now opened, allowing our four legged Kirby family a place to run free and enjoy the shade provided by the majestic pine trees that border the park; cornhole boards are now permanently in place and tournaments have become one more enjoyable sport that many play on campus; dozens of koi fish have been introduced into the lake and several residents enjoy feeding them along the banks or from the bridge; the walking path in Kirby’s natural preserve was recently redone for those who enjoy daily walks with nature; the Art Wall has become so popular that we had to expand the gallery area; and we are steadily moving forward with the renovations of hallways in each building. Of course, the grand lobby continues to be busy place for residents to gather near the fireplace, around the concert Steinway piano, in the bright and cheering sunroom, or at cozy niches by the grand staircase. 

Regardless of how long you have been a resident, or have been contemplating a move to Kirby Pines, our thirty-ninth anniversary is possible because of the trust you and so many in the Memphis community have in us. On behalf of all employees, thank you for your cooperative spirits throughout the years, and may I suggest you make some time to relax in August, as our thirty-ninth celebrations are just a month away.


Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines

Celebrating The Summer at Kirby Pines

July is traditionally the month when we begin to think about summer, however, the summer high temperatures began in June this year. July is also when we begin to plan celebrating America’s independence with family and good friends. This July will be no exception for residents at Kirby Pines Life Care Community.

As part of national Hot Dog Month, the Bistro is bringing back to its menu a Hot Dog of the week. What better way to celebrate the opening month of summer than with a meal that is so closely tied to family outings, and the gatherings of friends. In addition, it is an excellent way to entertain grandchildren and great grandchildren visiting for the day.

If the start of summer weather has you feeling like staying indoors, then why not take a moment to check out a book from the library, or find the perfect movie playing in the movie theater. You can also enjoy playing cards or bingo, or just sitting back and relaxing to various musical entertainment available to you this month in the PAC. Living at a life-care retirement community such Kirby Pines, offers so much more than simply living in comfort. Living here provides you with more time to spend doing the things you enjoy, including volunteering.

Volunteering brings benefits to both the community at large and the residents who volunteer. It makes important contributions, economically as well as socially. It also contributes to making a more cohesive community by building trust and reciprocity among the residents. Call Allison or Rachel in Resident Programs to find the perfect place for you to volunteer. 

As we gather to celebrate Independence Day, take a moment to think about all we have come through together these past few years; and join with me in thanking our employees and workers for their tireless hours of service to you and Kirby Pines.


Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines

Celebrating Our Fathers at Kirby Pines

Father’s Day is the perfect occasion to express feelings of gratitude and thankfulness to every dad, both living and deceased. Though the day is celebrated with enthusiasm in present times, it wasn’t always that way. Father’s Day celebrations had a very modest beginning. In fact, the idea is said to have come from Sonora Dodd who while listening to a sermon on “Mother’s Day” in church, wondered why there wasn’t a special day to celebrate dad. So to pay tribute to her father, Sonora held the first Father’s Day celebration on the 19th of June 1910, on the birthday of her father.

In 1913 a bill was officially introduced and the idea approved by President Woodrow Wilson three years later in 1916. In 1924 a National Father’s Day Committee was formed, however, it took Congress thirty years to give recognition to Father’s Day; and another 16 years passed before President Richard Nixon established the third Sunday of June, as a permanent observance day.

Therefore, in recognition of all fathers throughout the world please enjoy the word of Nicolas Gordon: 

Fathers are forever. Even death, 
Although a distancing, does not divide 
The child from a parent, nor does time, 
However long, nor space, however wide, 
Enduring beyond silence, beyond breath, 
Resonant where hours cease to chime, 
Some yearning inconsolable abide.


Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines

Celebrating Our Mother’s at Kirby Pines

It’s that time of the year when we stop and honor those who many say has been the most influential person in their life, their mothers. These women not only raised us to be who we are today, but along the way they taught us many things about being good citizens in the community in which we live. There were times when our mothers taught us by example, and other times when they told us about others who were doing something extra to make their community a better place to live. We are who we are today because of what our mothers instilled in us as children, nurtured in us as young adults, and for which they praised us as we grew. 

This May in our large display cabinet opposite the Blossom Shop, we pay tribute to our mothers who taught us how to be who we are today. And while the cabinet is certainly not large enough to have a photo or momentum of everyone’s mother, it certainly can give us a glimpse of dozens of women who help shaped the future by raising children with empathy, work ethics, and the spirit of community. 

So on May 7, when Kirby Pines holds its annual Mother’s Day Cookout on our beautiful park-like grounds, remember that we, too, are doing our part to better the community. The cookout is, after all, not just about food and fun, but about honoring the people in our lives who raised us to be good citizens, and to give something back to the community in which we live. 

Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines

Congratulations to Our Employee of the Month

Donald Grear

Transportation Driver

Describe your family: Wife Sheri, kids Ben & Betsy, grandchildren Sophie, Huxley, Harrison & Miles.  

Describe yourself in five words: Loving, funny, inquisitive, passionate, dependable.

What do you do for fun: Follow my grandchildren, listen to music, watch documentaries, workout. 

Do you have any hobbies or interests: Researching my genealogy and writing.

What is your favorite food: Tacos.  Favorite song: Rhapsody In Blue by George Gershwin. 

What is your favorite thing about your job: Talking to the residents. I never knew my grandparents, so they are the next best thing. 

What is something you are proud of:  Helping raise exceptional children who are loving, helpful and good friends to their friends. 

What would you like people to know about you:  During my 35 years producing television programs and custom videos, I have traveled to every state except North Dakota and Alaska.

Donald has been taking on the added duties and responsibilities of Transportation Supervisor since the position has been vacant. He is very friendly and always has a good attitude. Don has been making the schedules, assisting with the delivery of packages to residents and taking care of the transportation needs for residents and employees. We are proud to have him. 

– Michael Escamilla, Executive Director