Celebrating Our 38th Anniversary at Kirby Pines

This September, Kirby Pines Estates celebrates its thirty-eighth anniversary. And as with any anniversary, a lot of planning will go into making this anniversary one that will be enjoyable and memorable. Each year, a theme and color is selected and this year the color is Crimson and the theme is Courage. 

Crimson has long been associated with courage, divinity, power, strength and importance. In Elizabethan era England, crimson clothing signified an individual’s status and was only allowed to be worn by royalty, noble persons and members of the Council. The Biblical meaning of crimson is strongly associated with humility and atonement. Kirby Pines certainly is respected in its market place as a strong leader in senior living, and is recognized for the importance it places in providing a great place to live and a great place to work. 

Strong, vivid and powerful are words used to describe crimson which is one reason the color is associated with courage. This past year all of us have had to be courageous. As residents you had difficult decisions to make and as employees we have faced all that the year has put before us. The strength that Kirby brings with its thirty-eight years of tradition, has given all of us the courage to do what is necessary each and every day. 

This year is turning out to be one of our country’s most difficult years, and yet it has been with courage that the country has moved forward with a commitment for change, in resolution to find new ways to do the daily tasks necessary to survive and come out stronger once this pandemic is tamed. 

Thus, our thirty-eighth anniversary will celebrate the hard work that has brought Kirby Pines to where we are today, and where we will together, move forward to in the years ahead. 

Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines


Always Something to Celebrate at Kirby Pines

The thirty-eighth anniversary of Kirby Pines is just a month away. Whether you have been a resident for five years or just five days, you are enjoying first hand the numerous improvements and upgrades to the community over the past years. These improvements and our consistency in delivering services to you, has resulted in Kirby Pines being voted the Best Retirement Community by the Memphis Commercial Appeal for 14 consecutive years. These are just a few reasons why we have earned this citywide recognition.

The Performing Arts Center is now nineteen years old and has hosted artists from our own Kirby Pines Ham-ateurs, to the acapella group from Yale University and the New Orleans Jazz Ensemble. The Bistro was opened just five years ago to offer residents and guests another dining venue, and is now being copied by other local retirement communities; and our in-house movie theater continues to be a very popular spot to meet for some of the latest movie releases. Equally popular is the Four Seasons Garden with numerous sitting areas and the newly rebuilt lake sitting area complete with shelter from the hot August sun. Of course, our grand lobby continues to be busy place for residents to gather near the fireplace, around the concert Steinway piano, in the bright and cheery 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-eighth 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-eighth celebrations are just a month away.

Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines


It’s Officially Summer at Kirby Pines

Summer is officially here! Although it sneaked in towards the end of June, the unofficial hotter, dryer weather arrived sometime during spring. Luckily for us all, our large trees and park like acreage, provides us with plenty of areas where we can step outside to stroll under the shade of numerous majestic trees. We can also enjoy fishing with friends and grandchildren along the banks of our very own lake, or enjoy a family picnic in the gazebo cooled by ceiling fans, now that outside restrictions for Covid have been removed.

For those who prefer to stay indoors, the July calendar is filled with events to meet a variety of interests. This year Kirby Pines is proud to hold, its’ Annual Fourth of July Parade on Thursday, July 1st. Our culinary department is planning a special treat for everyone on July 4th, along with a traditional brunch feast, and welcomes all families to come and celebrate Independence Day with us. Please make your reservations early, and remember that updated policies require that all members in your party be present before being seated in the dining room.

Throughout the month, the Life Enhancement department has planned on-site entertainers, a weekly farmer’s market, movies, and games. In fact, with so much going on at Kirby Pines, the slightly warmer summer days will breeze by almost unnoticed.

July will be filled with truly important national and community events, Independence Day being among the most noteworthy. This July, when we gather to celebrate the birth of our nation, we will also be ending many of the national healthcare protocols that limited gathering with family and friends, as we welcome back a true feeling of independence. This July, please join with me in thanking all employees and workers as we bask in the warmth of their service and their genuine concern. Yes, summer is officially here.

Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines


It’s Father’s Day at Kirby Pines

Happy Father’s Day! This month we get to celebrate being a father and having a father. Although the day is not as well celebrated as Mother’s Day, it is just as important. Unlike Mother’s Day, legislated by Congress in 1914, Father’s Day wasn’t presidentially proclaimed until 1966 as the third Sunday in June, and then not assured of the day until 1972. Sorry guys, you’re just going to have to settle for a special meal on Sunday. Call Tami to make your reservation now.

I recently read that there are five things that will make you a happier person. Scientists after years of study, now suggest that people actually can take charge of their own happiness and boost it through certain practices. So, I have decided to share with you the five things research has shown can improve happiness.

Be grateful – the study showed that when people take time to write thank you notes or letters of gratitude to people who had helped them in some way, that the note and letter writers reported feeling better afterwards (even if they didn’t send the note).

Be optimistic – people in the study who spent time just thinking about an ideal situation, reported increased feelings of well-being. 

Count your blessings – people who write down three good things that have happened to them show a significant boost in happiness. It seems that this simple act forces people to focus on remembered reasons to be glad.

Use your strengths – one study asked people to identify their greatest strengths and then try to use that strength. For example, someone with a good sense of humor could try telling jokes to cheer up friends.

Commit act of kindness – It turns out, helping others is one of the best ways we help ourselves feel better. Maybe it’s time you asked Cheryl Grimes what you can volunteer for at Kirby Pines. 

This Father’s Day I’m grateful for the work ethic my father taught me; optimistic that each day can always be better; happy that I can count more than three blessings; believe that one of my strengths is writing these short letters each month; and know that each day when I come to work at Kirby Pines at least one resident is going to help me with a simple act kindness – a smile. Happy Father’s Day!

Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines


It’s Mother’s Day at Kirby Pines

Do you ever wonder why we do some of the things we do? Do we do them out of habit, honor, proclamation, or simply because someone said we need to do it? Well, observing Mother’s Day is a combination of all of the above.

Mother’s Day was first observed in 1907 at the request of Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia, PA, who asked her church to hold a service in memory of all mothers on the anniversary of her own mother’s death. Two years later in 1909, Anna and some friends began a letter-writing campaign to create a Mother’s Day Observance. Their campaign was successful and in 1914, Congress passed legislation designating the Second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. Some say the predecessor of Mother’s Day was the ancient spring festival dedicated to the Greek goddess Rhea and Roman goddess Cybele, known as the “Mothers of the Gods”. No matter when this day was first observed, Mother’s Day is a tradition everyone can celebrate at Kirby Pines.

So, make plans now to attend our Mother’s Day Cookout on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, May 8th The cookout is year will be smaller than in past years, yet a very enjoyable way to softly welcome the less restrictive measures now in effect. We will be serving grilled hot dogs, hamburgers and BBQ chicken, along with beans, potato salad and slaw. Cold watermelon, water and soft drinks. There will be activities for children and plenty of space for family members, as we use more of the grove area for spaced out tables and add a second tent for covered seating. More important though, it is a day filled with smiles, laughter, love for one another, and, above all, a day to honor our mothers.

Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines


Improving Overall Health at Kirby Pines

April at Kirby Pines starts out with a little “fun” as we begin the month celebrating April Fool’s Day. While not everyone appreciates a good joke, laughter is a good way to get out of the winter blahs and certainly a good way to say goodbye to some of the restrictions we have all had to deal with these past twelve months. It is after all the first full month of Spring, and flowers, trees and wildlife are abundant on our sixty park like acres.

The first Sunday of the month is Easter Sunday and Mark Simpson is planning a delicious Easter Brunch for all to enjoy. Along with some traditional breakfast items there will specialized entrees and desserts. 

If you’re anxious to get outside and enjoy the Spring weather, our grounds are a perfect place to enjoy a walk with all that is in bloom. Hopefully the end of the prior month provided enough dry days to complete the walking path around the lake; or to take a peek at the numerous raised beds that the Kirby Garden Club have started to cultivate. 

Of course, you can also just sit on one of several park benches and enjoy the birds, or feed the fish from the bridge, or swing in the swing house.

April brings to us not only the rebirth of Christ, but also the opportunity to remind ourselves how fortunate we are all to see the light at the end these past twelve months; and to welcome back family group visits and hugs.

Happy Easter everyone!

Michael Escamilla

Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines


Improving Overall Health at Kirby Pines

As we slowly move into Spring, now is an excellent time to start thinking about little things we can do to improve our overall health. While the Oasis easily comes to mind as the place to go to improve your health, there are many things that can be done in our own homes. I have listed a few tips below for you to consider.

Stay socially involved – research shows that people who have an active social life are less likely to experience a decline in the ability to reason and remember. The Pinecone lists many activities that you can enjoy and later discuss with fellow residents. For example, the numerous in-house movies.

Eat chocolate – an ounce a day is now determined to be as good as or better than, an apple a day. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids which help the body’s cells resist damage. In addition to their antioxidant properties, flavonoids also help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and raise good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Eating chocolate at Kirby is easy. All you need to do is stop by the Blossom Shop for a chocolate bar, or ask for chocolate ice cream with your meal.

If you drink coffee like I do, scientists have good news for us. Drinking coffee seems to lower the risk for heart disease and dying from chronic illnesses such as diabetes or pneumonia. Other research concludes that caffeinated coffee may protect against skin cancers, Parkinson’s and even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. If caffeine doesn’t keep you up at night, enjoy a cup in the Bistro mid-afternoon.

Living a long and healthy life has a lot to do with living an enjoyable life and researchers have determined that music helps to make everyday living more enjoyable. Listening to your favorite music may be good for your heart, as emotions aroused by joyful music cause tissue in the inner lining of blood vessels to expand, increasing blood flow. Music also brings on sound sleep, boosts mood and reduces anxiety. While live performances remain limited during these challenging times, you can listen to many live performers on our in-house television station. So, take a close look at this months’ calendar and make plans now to improve your health.

Michael Escamilla

Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines


It’s a New Year at Kirby Pines

Happy New Year! We can finally say goodbye to a year filled with so many challenges and losses; and say hello to a year filled with hope and optimism. I remember thinking on Valentine’s Day how loving my siblings and their children are to me, and that Spring would soon surround us all with the beauty of nature that God sends to us each year. That feeling of new growth and beauty quickly diminished as the world came face to face with a challenge bigger than many had ever faced before. However, with faith in hand and love in our hearts, we found our own way of staring the challenge down.

Resident artists, eager to show their talents, went from an art opening with wine and cheese to an art program brought to everyone on our live in-house television station. Truly giving more the opportunity to learn about the works they had created as they listened to resident artist being interviewed and describing their inner passion for creating each piece, which then was hung for all to stop by and see every six weeks.

Resident sewers began making masks almost immediately. Giving some away and selling others in the Blossom Shop. Sharing their creativity and concern for a healthy community for us all. Our house Chaplin, Don Johnson, began using our Shortel telephone system to give a morning devotional to all employees. His words of encouragement and prayer, then and now, continue to help staff push through when the odds sometimes feel heavily stacked against them.

Residents volunteered to deliver mail and packages to those self-isolating; to call on local religious leaders to serve as guest speakers for Vespers, now attended by so many more again utilizing our in-house television station; and others secured local artist to perform on stage in the performing arts center, to a mostly virtual audience. These acts of kindness resulted in Kirby Pines once again being voted the Best Retirement Community by the readers of the Commercial Appeal. Making this our 14th consecutive year to receive this honor.

This holiday season has been the perfect time to pause and remember the best that Kirby has to offer, and to remember those in our hearts, but no longer among us. As I begin my 19th year of service to you and the employees of Kirby Pines, I wish everyone a better and Happy New Year. Remember, Spring and its beauty is just around the corner.

Michael Escamilla

Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines


Be Safe & Be Merry at Kirby Pines

Merry Christmas everyone. This has been a disruptive year for us all, and one that can impact holiday cheer. Yet what can be merrier than the birth of Christ. He is after all the reason we celebrate this season. Resident Jerry Dunnam has reminded us of His birth in her wonderful painting displayed in the main lobby.

A recent survey indicates that instead of families getting together this Christmas, more than 62 percent plan to stay apart and send greeting cards, photos, hold a zoom gathering, or chat on the telephone. I know it would be more cheerful to be with family, but there is nothing more saddening than losing the chance to be there next year. In sending your cards try to interject some light-hearted humor. Just think back to March of this year when you smiled from ear to ear because you had toilet paper and found a can of Lysol on the shelves that you could purchase. You’ll smile even bigger when those face to face visits, hugs and kisses come in the months ahead as vaccines become available to us.

To all of us I wish you a Christmas with peace and twinkling lights. A warm cozy corner on a cold winter night. A place at the table with your Kirby family and friends. A feeling of happiness that never ends.

Michael Escamilla

Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines


Time to Be Grateful at Kirby Pines

Celebrating Thanksgiving this year will certainly be different than in the years past. Like so many other holidays throughout 2020, the holiday and the pandemic will be on everyone’s mind. Normally we would 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. However, this year we may experience how “un-celebratory” this holiday may feel, so we all need to be mindful of the many blessing 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

Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines