Aging Well January 2009

For the last several weeks I have focused on the Senior Center: past and future. But I have always wanted this column to be about more than just the Center. I am proud of all the activities the Center provides and will continue to share those with you, but I also want to share the many other opportunities available in the community plus information I have come across that will help us all age well. This third chapter of our lives is full of challenges (my knees, my eyes, my bladder) but also full of opportunities. There are many lessons we have learned - sometimes painfully - that prepares us for this next chapter. With the right attitude and perspective, we can still say “the best is yet to come”.

One such opportunity is available for low and moderate income homeowners in Wasco County, but to make it possible we we need your help. Columbia Cascade Housing is applying for a federal grant to expand the Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program into Wasco County. It is already available in Sherman County. The loan program enables low and moderate income homeowners to fund repairs and upgrades to their homes using local contractors. Eligible homeowners can receive up to a $30,000 no interest loan that is deferred until the sale or transfer of ownership by the last surviving borrower or when the property is no longer the primary residence of the borrower.
This grant program could particularly help seniors by addressing health and safety issues such as repairing a roof, painting, replacing windows and improving handicap accessibility so they can stay in their homes longer.
It is a competitive process and one of the requirements for the application is a list of potential residents who could qualify for this loan program. If you are interested in this rare opportunity and think you might qualify or would just like more information, contact John Hutchinson at the Mid-Columbia Housing Resource Center at 296-5462. The grant application needs to be completed by the end of February, so don’t hesitate. If the grant application is successful, the funding could be available by the beginning of this summer.

The Center is fortunate to have Corliss Marsh teaching the Tai Chi class on Tuesdays from 1:00 to 1:45 and also the Computer Help Lab from 1:45 – 3:00. But she would like her students to know she will be out of town for the first three weeks of February and will return for her classes on February 24th.

As we continue along life’s path, we will inevitably encounter deep personal pain from a loss. But there are many resources available to help us through those difficulties times. Heart of Hospice is sponsoring a bereavement seminar for anyone who has experienced grief. The seminar is based on the book, "Understanding Your Grief" by Alan Wolfelt and begins Wednesday, January 28th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. The nine week seminar will meet in the lower level community room in the Commodore at 312 Court Street. There will be group discussions on the weekly readings, journaling, and group exercises. There is no charge for anyone who would like to attend and the class can accommodate up to 10 individuals so please call 541-993-3362 to pre-register.
Heart of Hospice also supports an informal bereavement day group that meets on Thursdays at 10:00 in the Commodore II lower level community room at 312 Court Street

Now that it’s a new year, many folks have been wondering, when is Ronelle Currie and her cadre of volunteers going to start the AARP Tax Aide program? Well, the answer is Friday, February 6th. The program will be available from 3:00 – 6:00 on Fridays and 9:00 – 12:00 through April 11th.
For the Next Chapter Lecture on Tuesday January 27th, Freda Wasson and Robin Fritts, Licensed Massage Therapists, will be presenting the “The Joy of Massage”. This presentation was scheduled for last month but was postponed because of the weather, which wasn’t my idea. I was hoping to be the only one to show up and enjoy a nice relaxing, stress reducing massage all by myself. But I was persuaded that it wasn’t all about me and that Freda’s and Robin’s skills should be shared with a larger audience. So here again is your chance to experience and learn more about the health benefits of massage.

Every Tuesday night is music night at the Center with good sounds and high stepping. Next Tuesday at 7:00 pm the Jazz Generations are playing and if you like to dance this night is for you. And don’t forget tonight. The Gorge Strings are playing fiddle, folk and gospel including some good dancing tunes, but you better hurry. For this night only the music starts at 6:00 pm. Admission is always free and all ages are welcome.

“Powerful Tools for Caregivers” is returning to the Center on Tuesday February 3rd from 2:00 – 3:30 for six consecutive Tuesdays. The class provides family caregivers with the skills and confidence to better care for themselves while caring for others. Many caregivers have found this class beneficial, including those caring for a spouse or partner and adult children caring for their parents. You can register for the class by calling the Center at 296-4788.

And finally I have to admit, this week I’m turning 61. Yes, I know I may look only 45 (or is it 55? or maybe 65?), but I guess I embody the classic quote “Inside every older person is a young person, wondering what the hell happened.” I continue to stay optimistic by avoiding mirrors, ladders and shoes with laces and am still looking forward to the next day.

So until we meet again, don’t take life to seriously because “Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional”. ~Chili Davis

Living Well January 13th

For the last two weeks I have identified what I thought were the top 10 Senior Center highlights of 2008. But that is the past. It's done, kaput, over. So what about the future? Will it be as John Sladek predicts "...exactly like the past, only far more expensive"? Or as Dan Quisenberry suggests"... much like the present, only longer"? As I look into my trusty Chrystal Ball I see many exciting opportunities for the Center to help folks explore, connect and contribute so they can live longer and healthier lives.

During 2009 I see a challenging but eventually successful community campaign to expand the Senior Center. The need is great: from the obvious, an indoor elevator, to the more visionary, leased medical office space to increase medical access for seniors.

I see the Center continuing to provide more opportunities for folks to explore their world while discovering new talents and interests. Those opportunities include:

New Creative Writing classes starting this spring. Just this Sunday I learned of two friends who are writing books. One has been working on his for about twenty five years and every year has been promising to finish it by next year. Well, we all have only so many next years, so he is working to fulfill his promise this year. The other friend, a local business person, is working on three books with one being more of a life story for his children and their children. Both instances remind me of the quote from Virginia Woolf:

“Each has his past to shut in him
like the leaves of a book
known to him by heart
and his friends can only read the title.”

Opportunities to learn about the brain and brain fitness. There is continuing research that shows that "aging does NOT always lead to a pronounced decline and loss of cognitive ability". And there are steps you can take to keep your brain healthy and fit including eating well, volunteering, engaging in new activities, playing word games, exercising, journal writing and connecting with friends and family.

Expanding the Computer Lab by starting monthly presentations on specific topics such as how to use your computer to download and store pictures, video conference with your kids and grandkids and watch movies and TV shows.

Discussions about global issues. The Center is hosting a Great Decisions group that will start meeting monthly on January 28th. Great Decisions is “a nation-wide program of the Foreign Policy Association to broaden public involvement with the most important foreign policy topics facing the U.S” and provides accurate and unbiased analysis about eight different global issues from Cuba to the Global Food Production.

If any of these opportunities intrigue you or you would like more information call the Center at 296-4788 or email me at

On Tuesday the 20th the Gorge Strings will be performing. I had erroneously announced that it was the Gorge Winds, which I hoped did not panic too many of their members. The Gorge Strings is a little different than our regular fare, so it should be a real treat. And tonight our loyal second Tuesday performers, the Notecrackers, will be playing for your dancing pleasure. Admission is always free although donations are appreciated. Everybody is welcome.

Jerry Tanquist reminded me that the Next Chapter Lecture this coming Tuesday falls on Inauguration Day. He and I imagine many, many others will be watching this historical, once in a lifetime event. So we have decided to postpone Jerry’s presentation on the "The Deschutes River Railroad Race" until March 10th. Instead I will find some way to show the Inauguration at the Center in case you want to come over and watch. I believe the swearing in is at 8:30 our time.

And also on Tuesday starting on the 20th at 2:15 is the second installment of the “Yes, You can Draw” class taught by Nancy Russell. Call the Center to sign up.

Last month's AARP Driver Safety Class was canceled because the snow kept most everyone in doors and off the roads which was probably a good thing. But the January class will be next week on Monday and Tuesday from 9:00 - 1:00. Dennis Davis (I keep wanting to call him Dennis Day - I wonder what that says about my age.) has done an outstanding job replacing Dick Frost. If you feel January is a little anti-climatic and you need something to perk the month up, this class just might be the answer. Don’t hesitate to call the Center at 296-4788 to sign up.

Unfortunately, we missed last month’s Saturday Breakfast because of the white blanket of snow that covered everything. So we are looking forward for the pent up demand to explode this coming Saturday morning. This month’s menu includes pancakes, scrambled eggs, fruit and the regular beverages. It is a team effort that makes the breakfast possible. Bonnie is the head cook, with Edna planning, Sandy washing, Jerry pouring and the Boy Scout Troop #395 busing the tables. The breakfast is for the whole community and is open to all ages. And as we always say "Breakfast always tastes better when someone else cooks it!"

As with most all non-profits, volunteer help is critical to the success of the Center. One Center activity that provides over 15 % of our revenue is Saturday Night Bingo. Every Saturday, Lyn and Jann Dalton arrive around 4:00 and seldom leave before 9:30 to make sure the show goes on. Lyn is the Bingo caller and Jann has the critical job of selling the bingo cards. Together they work hard to make sure everyone has a good time playing this grand American pastime. So a big thanks for their contribution and loyal support of the Senior Center. And they would like to thank all the bingo players who show up every Saturday Night to play and support the Senior Center. Unfortunately they have yet to figure out a way to persuade the IRS to count your bingo expenses (donations?) as a tax deduction.

Well that is another week. Until the next time, keep looking ahead, because as George Burns once said "Look to the future, because that is where you'll spend the rest of your life."

Living Well January 6th

2008 was a good year. And last week I was only able to get half way through my reflections on last year’s Top Ten Senior Center highlights. So with speed and haste, the rest of the story.

5. The Computer Lab - There is a vast range of computer literacy among older adults. Some seniors use the Internet to play bridge with partners all over the world or video conference with their kids, while other seniors have no idea what a mouse is. (It is not the furry little creature that scurries under your cupboards). You may be one of many seniors who had no desire to learn about computers, until that fateful conversation when your kids informed you they are going to do you a favor and start sending pictures of the grandkids by E-MAIL! "Mom it's really easy! And it's so convenient." "Convenient for who?" you thought and immediately wondered where you could learn to use these evil alien devices that your children find so indispensible. Fortunately we have three excellent teachers who know all about computers and have the patience to work with beginners. The Help Lab is available on most Tuesdays from 1:45 - 3:00 and the Basic Computer classes will start again in February. And thanks again to Rhett Mullins, now a TDWHS sophomore, and Google for making the lab possible.

4. Network on Aging - Over the years we have enjoyed strong, collaborative relationships with many partners. As a result the Area Agency on Aging, Hospice of the Gorge, Columbia Basin Care Facility and the Senior Center worked together to establish the Network on Aging: an association of providers that meets monthly to network, educate and advocate in order to better support seniors. One immediate result of this network was the Center's collaboration with Visiting Health Services expanding the Center's Loan Closet. With their professional help and the Center's ability to store and obtain used equipment, the Center is now able to lend more equipment including shower seats, commodes, safety rails for beds, and grab bars as well as wheelchairs and walkers.

3. The Community Campaign for the Center Expansion- The Center has been planning this effort for over a year and the preliminary work has been completed. With the help of Design Structures we have basic architectural plans with a realistic cost estimate, with the help of the City of The Dalles we have Planning Commission approval, with the help of Columbia Gorge Community College we have a business plan and with the help of the Mid-Columbia Medical Center we have the brochures for the capital campaign. Like the United Seniors 25 years ago we are committed and excited about completing the Senior Center Expansion. It will meet the needs for the future and fulfill the dreams of the past by providing more opportunities for older adults to explore their world, connect with friends and contribute to their communities, so they can live longer and healthier lives.

2. The volunteers - The strength of any organization is its volunteers. At the Center we have committed and caring volunteers who do all kinds of large and small tasks: managing the bookkeeping, running Bingo, operating the NU-2-U shop, serving on the board, moving tables, opening the building, shoveling snow, answering the phones, and correcting the mistakes in my column. Volunteers contribute over a hundred hours a week, equivalent to 2 1/2 full time employees to support the Center.

1. All the folks who walk through the doors of the Senior Center. Every year we see new faces come and unfortunately we also see some old faces go. When you first walk into the Center you may see worn carpet, old chairs and cracked tiles, but soon those images are replaced by the kindness, the humor and the wisdom (and at times pettiness and stubbornness) that is shared. The Center is more than a building. Ultimately, the Center is about the stories we share, the people we meet and the relationships we build

This Thursday at 1:00 the monthly Healthy Aging class will be held in the basement of the Senior Center. Fern Wilcox thought during the cold dreary month of January; after all the holiday mirth festivities, it might be appropriate to lighten things up and talk about laughter: the physical, mental and social benefits, how humor differs with age, and ways to find humor in your life. To prepare you for the class I want to share an April Fools' puzzler I found in Reader's Digest from several years back where you are challenged to connect the comedian - Steve Martin, Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Seinfeld, Lily Tomlin, or Rodney Dangerfield - with the joke they have told. Make your best guesses but the answers will only be available at the class.

1. "First the doctor told me the good news: I was going to have a disease named after me."
2. "My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She's 97 now, and we don't know where the hell she is."
3. "I am so busy doing nothing...that the idea of doing anything - which as you know, always leads to something - cuts into the nothing and then forces me to have to drop everything."
4. "I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific."
5. "I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous. Everyone hasn't met me yet."

Next Tuesday Night starting a 7:00, the Notecrackers will be performing for your dancing and listening pleasure. And tonight Harold and Friends will be playing good old country music. All ages are welcome and the music is free although donations are appreciated to help keep the musicians fed and the lights on.

The Next Chapter Lecture series is back in play. Tuesday the 13th at 11:00, Dana Schmidling will be at the Center to discuss The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce and all they do to promote area businesses and local tourism.

That is another page in the book of life. So until the next time, find something that makes you laugh because as that famous raconteur “anonymous” once said "He who laughs, lasts."

Senior Living December 30th

It shows the kind of weather we have had when you are glad to see pouring rain and a temperature of 36 degrees. But the rain sure looks better than more snow. I hope your Christmas was all you had wanted. Several of the traditions of my family were interrupted by the snow: we weren’t able to drive about town to see houses decorated with Christmas lights and the Christmas Eve service was cancelled. But it was nice to have all the children home which is what really counts.

Last year I was able to take a break from the weekly column because both Christmas and New Years fell on Tuesdays. And I thought about doing the same this year. But I know a lot of readers would miss this column - not because of my fine writing or pithy insights - but because they want to know what Meals-on-Wheels is serving for lunch.

So besides including the lunch menu, I thought I would use this end-of-the-year column to follow the common practice of reviewing 2008 and announce the top ten highlights for the Senior Center. There is one problem: I haven't been able to reduce the list to fit in this week's column. So I am afraid you will have to endure two weeks of highlights or you can just skip down to the Meals-on-Wheels menu.

So for those who are still with me, a drum roll please for the first five Senior Center highlights for the year 2008.

10. Tuesday Night Music – I included the music program because of the quality of music that Boyd Jacobsen schedules every month including monthly performances by the “Notecrackers” and the “Jazz Generations”. Every week you will find couples in their fifties to centenarians dancing the night away. But this year we added a new twist. The Dallesport Jammers, who perform on Sunday afternoons throughout the Mid-Columbia area, are now performing at the Center on every fifth Sunday. A performance of the Jammers is like a musical potluck: you don't know who's bringing what but you know it’s going to be good.

9 "Tough Talk" with Lee Paton - From the "Let's Talk" positive aging discussion series facilitated by Lucille Torgerson and Kathleen Flynn, evolved a half-day workshop called "Tough Talk” lead by Lee Paton. It focused on identifying the major stumbling blocks to having effective and loving conversations between parents and their adult children on how to cope with the challenges of aging. These conversations are difficult and seldom occur because of feelings of guilt, shame, and frustration. But these conversations are important and necessary, and we are hoping to sponsor another "Tough Talk" workshop in 2009.

8. The Next Chapter Lecture Series – In its second year, this series continues to provide excellent speakers discussing a whole array of subjects from proper nutrition to financial health, from the history of the Cherry Industry to the history of the Great Southern Railroad and from knees to hearts. We particularly appreciate Joyce Powell Morin at MCMC for providing a speaker a month to discuss important health related topics that affect older adults.

7. "Yes, You Can Draw! – We have several classes focusing on the performing arts including the “Young at Heart” Serenaders and the "Tap and Clogging" class, but over this last year I have learned more about the value of the creative arts in healthy aging. Consequently, I have been looking for the right opportunity to introduce at least one creative arts class where folks can stimulate their creative juices. That opportunity came along when Nancy Russell stepped forward to teach a drawing class for beginners called "Yes You can Draw!". It was so successful we are going to repeat the class starting January 20th.

6. The Wii – In January last year, we acquired our first Nintendo Wii and we haven't looked back. We now have a Monday Bowling Night starting at 6:30 and bowling practice before or after lunch on Thursdays and Fridays or when ever Earl sets it up. A group also meets every Friday at 10:00 in the basement to learn how to play the other Wii games including Tennis, Golf and Skiing. And they are always looking for more folks to join them.

2008 was a good year as the Center worked to fulfill its mission of “promoting healthy aging by sharing and caring”. It takes all kinds of folks to make it happen and we will talk more about that next week when I list the top five highlights.

Although it is another slow week for activities, the Center will get back into the swing of things by celebrating the New Year this coming Saturday with the "Beginning of the New Year" Bingo Party. Lyn and Jann Dalton have planned an evening of food, special prizes and an array of Bingo games for only a $20 buy-in. Everyone had a great time last year and we would like to invite you to join the fun starting at 6:00 pm and enjoy a special night of Bingo. All ages are welcome.

There is no music scheduled for tonight at the Center, but next Tuesday we will start off the new year with a crowd favorite: Harold and Friends. The music always starts at 7:00 PM and the evening is free but donations are always appreciated. To give you a heads up the musical card for the rest of the month includes the “Notecrackers” on the 10th, the “Gorge Winds” on the 17th and the “Jazz Generations” on the 24th.

One thing I am reminded from last week’s weather “event” is instead of wishing things were different or wishing we were somewhere else (like in Arizona with Pete and Eva), it is best to appreciate the benefits it provided: the opportunity to watch endless Portland weather and road reports, the time to read a good book or two or three, and the chance to eat the cupboard bare until you can finally get to the grocery store.

So until we meet again, embrace and relish the unexpected, because "Happiness often sneaks in through the door you didn’t know you left open." John Barrymore

Senior Living December 23rd

Enough is enough. I give! There is no longer any reason for all this snow. Kids are out of school - they don't need any more snow days; families want to get together; and college kids need to get home. I have now had my full serving of this winter season; the novelty and excitement are over; and it is time to move on. Where art thou spring?

But thankfully it is also the Christmas Season: a time for memories that stir our senses: the smell of fresh bread and cookies baking in the oven, houses sparkling with Christmas Lights, and bells ringing at local supermarkets. And special memories of Christmas eve past when the family would drive around town “oohing” and “aahing” at the Christmas lights, knowing our children would soon fall asleep, tired from crying though the Christmas eve service. And then we would gently tuck them in bed, and quickly and quietly wrap and place the gifts under the Christmas tree just the way Santa would want. It is a special time.

It is also a time to remember we have been blessed with many gifts and even some we may not be aware of at our chronologically advantaged age. I would like to share with you "Star Thrower", a story that touched me when I first heard it and illustrates such a gift. You may have heard it before. It is inspired by the writings of Loren Eiseley and this version is from Joel Barker's best selling program "The Power of Vision."

"Once upon a time, there was a wise man, much like Eiseley himself, who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had the habit of walking along the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore; as he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day, so he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead, he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer he called out, ‘Good morning! What are you doing?’
The young man paused, looked up and replied, ‘Throwing Starfish into the ocean.’
‘I guess I should have asked; why are you throwing Starfish into the ocean?’
‘The sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don't throw them in they'll die.’
‘But young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and Starfish all along it, you can't possibly make a difference!’

The young man listened politely, then bent down, picked up another Starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves. ‘It made a difference for that one.’
His response surprised the man, he was upset, he didn't know how to reply, so instead he turned away and walked back to the cottage to begin his writings.

All day long as he wrote, the image of that young man haunted him; he tried to ignore it, but the vision persisted. Finally, late in the afternoon, he realized that he the scientist, he the poet, had missed the essential nature of the young man's actions. Because he realized that what the young man was doing was choosing not to be an observer in the universe and watch it pass by, but was choosing to be an actor in the universe and make a difference. He was embarrassed.

That night he went to bed, troubled. When morning came, he awoke knowing that he had to do something; so he got up, put on his clothes, went to the beach and found the young man; and with him spent the rest of the morning throwing Starfish into the ocean.

You see, what the young man's actions represent is something that is special in each and every one of us. We have all been gifted with the ability to make a difference. And if we can, like the young man, become aware of that gift, we gain through the strength of our vision the power to shape the future."

We all have found ways to make a difference as we continue to discover new ways. Last Wednesday at the Center, several members of the Strong Women's class and other wonderful volunteers made a difference by stuffing over 2000 brochures for the Building Expansion Campaign. They were so quick and nimble we ran out of inserts, but they wouldn't quit and they wore me out.

Also a big thank-you to David Staehnke and Gary Patton for helping shovel the Center parking lot. And when it really gets bad and our snow shovels are no match for mother nature, a special thank-you to The Dalles City public works department for clearing the sidewalks around the building and to Tom Brace and friends for coming by unannounced and plowing the Center parking lot clear of snow.

We have decided to cancel tonight’s Christmas Party and Dance. It was postponed from last Tuesday hoping the weather would be better which turned out to be wishful thinking. Penny and the Small Change were eager to play, Hearts of Gold Caregiving was going to provide the food and Mill Creek Point (they were sponsoring the Christmas Saturday Breakfast before it was snowed out) was going to provide the gifts. But the weather is its own master and we are going to reschedule to a safer date - in March (it was suggested we save some snow in the freezer just to remind us of this wintry experience.)

The End of the Year Bingo Party is this coming Saturday at 6:00 PM which should be a lot of fun. But we may have to postpone it to the next week (for a Beginning of the Year Bingo Party), depending on the weather. So call the Center at 298-4788 before you come. There will be a message on the answering machine.

Well that’s it. I need to get out and shovel snow. So until we meet again, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

Aging Well - December 16th

Just when you think it's going to be a mild winter, an early blast of arctic air comes around the corner and we are in a winter wonderland. Snow and cold temperatures once meant sledding, snow ball fights and a chance to miss school. Not anymore. Now it is how can I keep my hands and feet warm and keep the pipes from freezing.

But the cold weather can create significant risks. One risk is hypothermia which occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can be produced. As we age we are more susceptible to cold temperatures for several reasons. We may be: taking medications or have an illness restricting our body’s ability to stay warm, living in an older house with poor heating or just isolated and alone. During frigid temperatures, a simple mistake or small accident can turn tragic.

There are some common sense things you can do to avoid hypothermia while enjoying the winter months. First, keep in touch. When the weather turns bad, you might want to create a call schedule where you call family or friends on a regular basis so they know you are okay. Also, make sure your home heating system is safe and reliable. Have your furnace checked to ensure it is working properly, before the weather gets cold. (Oops, missed that one.)

In case of power outages during the winter, stock up on non-perishable food items (some of the items should not require cooking) and keep a flashlight with fresh batteries, a cell phone (if you have one), and a portable radio. And when you do go outside, be particularly careful. Make sure your car is in good repair and has proper winter tires. This is not the time for your car to break down or skid off the road.

Another winter concern is space heaters. In my old house when it’s cold outside with the east wind blowing, it gets a little drafty (I tell my wife it is just like living in an old Scottish castle and we should feel like royalty). So I hustle down to the basement and bring up the space heaters to help warm up the cold spots in the house. But according to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters and other supplemental heating equipment are the leading cause of house fires in the winter months. The following reminders might help you from being one of those statistics. Keep anything that burns at least three feet away from the heater; turn the heater off when it is unattended especially when you go to sleep; check your heater for frayed insulation, broken wires or overheating; buy space heaters with automatic shutoff features and heating element guards; and keep the cord for the space heater out of the way where you won't walk on it or trip over it.

These are just common sense reminders to help you stay warm and safe during these invigorating winter months. (And, now that I think about it, Arizona isn't such a long drive after all.)

With the winter's arrival, there will probably be days when the Center and Meals-on-Wheels will be closed. It is always a tough call because we both want to remain open whenever possible but we also know that by being open during icy and snowy conditions we may be encouraging folks to get out when they should be staying home. So to make is simple, we have decided to follow School District 21: when the schools are closed the Center and Meals-on-Wheels will also be closed. When School District 21 is on a two hour delay, the Center’s morning activities will be cancelled, but whether Meals on Wheels will be closed will depend on the weather conditions. Call or listen to the radio to find out whether we will be open.

During the holidays things slow down at the Center. The Center and Meals-on-Wheels will be closed on Christmas Day and New Years Day and the following Fridays (but there will still be Bingo on both Saturdays). Many of the classes will be taking a short hiatus during, so you may want to call the Center to make sure your class is meeting. But there are several fun activities that will be occurring to celebrate the holidays.

There will be a special End of the Year Bingo Night on Saturday December 27th. Saturday Night bingo will celebrate the coming New Year with extra prizes, food and an all round good time, all for a $20 buy-in. Bring your friends and neighbors. Doors open at 4:30 and the Early Birds start at 6:00.

We have a beautiful quilt on display at the Center that in a few days is going to some lucky winner. It could be you but not if you haven’t stopped by the Center and purchased your raffle tickets. You only have a few days left, because the drawing will be held at the Center’s Saturday Breakfast on December 20th. Only two quilts are raffled a year and this one will make a wonderful gift that will be appreciated for many, many years.

Every third Saturday, the Center hosts a breakfast for the whole community with good food at the right price: $5 per person and $4 for Center members. This coming Saturday December 20th will be a special holiday breakfast sponsored by Mill Creek Point Assisted Living. They have scheduled the Sweet Adelines to provide special music and have also invited Santa. The delicious meal includes hot cakes, sausage, scrambled eggs and fruit and the regular beverages. So come by and visit with old friends, meet new ones and enjoy good food and good music. As we always say: Breakfast tastes better when someone else cooks it."

The snow is falling as well as the temperature which has forced me to start my winter exercise program, shoveling snow. So until we meet again, be safe, stay warm and stay connected.

” Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think those branches would turn green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


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