Aging Well August 25

Most activities you can do by yourself: running or walking, playing a game of solitaire, reading a book or singing in the shower. I imagine you could even dance by yourself – no broken toes - although you may look a little strange.

But to age well (like a fine wine!) it is best to participate in activities with others, particularly at an age when isolation can be a real concern. The benefits are many: the sharing of ideas and thoughts, stories and experiences, and jokes and anecdotes. And there is also that darn peer pressure to show up – even when you’re too tired or lack the motivation.

The Center is all about doing things together. You can join one of the Center’s exercise classes: Seniorcise, Yoga, Tai Chi, Tap and Clogging. Or take advantage of the entertainment opportunities with music, movies and trips. And if you want more cerebral stimulation how about pinochle, bridge and cribbage or the Next Chapter Lecture series. All are opportunities to join with others to share and enjoy life. The new and returning classes are starting soon, so call the Center for more information or check the Center’s Blog at

For Wednesday Night Movies we are switching genres from screwball comedies to the grand American tradition: the Western. On the bill this Wednesday is the 1956 classic “The Searchers” starring John Wayne and directed by John Ford. It is the story of Ethan Edwards, a middle-aged Civil War veteran portrayed by John Wayne, who spends years looking for his abducted niece. It is considered by many as the best western ever filmed and hopefully that means entertaining too. The show starts at 6:00 pm and there will be free popcorn.

Tonight at the Center the Jazz Generations, a four piece combo composed of Hank and Ann Krum, Bob Fiske and David Fretz will be playing the big band sounds of the thirties through sixties starting at 7:00 PM. And this weekend there will be a “Music in the Park” Jam in Klickitat on Saturday the 29th starting at 7 pm. It may be a little drive from The Dalles but I hear it is a nice outdoor venue to enjoy fine music.

It has been a while since I put in a plug for Bingo, but now that summer is about over why don’t you come down to the Center Saturday night (early birds start at 6:00) and enjoy this great American pastime – there is no better thrill than yelling BINGO!. If you haven’t played since grade school come a little early to find out how the modern game is played. And if Saturday doesn’t fit your weekend schedule, there is Thursday Night bingo which supports Meals-on-Wheels and the good work they do.

The answer to last week’s question was the Hindenburg disaster that occurred on Thursday May 6th 1937 at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station and Don McAllister was the week’s winner of a free Saturday Breakfast at the Center on September 19th. But since it is not as much fun reminiscing about disasters as it is the radio and TV shows we use to enjoy, this week’s category is “TV shows of the 50's -60's”. What was the full name of Dobie Gillis’s side kick and American television first beatnik? Call the Center 296-4788 or email your answer to

The other day I saw Bob Koch, noted local photographer, and he mentioned how he attended his fifty-year high school reunion to see his high school classmates, but was disappointed because only their parents showed up. Has anyone else had that experience? And should I expect the same at my next high school reunion?

Well that’s another day. Until we meet again, make sure you play well together.

“I would never belong to a group that would accept someone like me as a member.” Groucho Marx

Aging Well August 18

Am I nuts or do I feel “autumn” is in the air? Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking.

But soon it will be autumn and because either I use to teach or was a student too long, autumn always reminds me of starting anew: new clothes, new classes, and meeting new and old friends.

Although we no longer need to go to school – we no longer need a piece of paper for our career advancement - we can continue learning. And it is such a kick to learn something new: a new language (Japanese anyone?), creative writing or how about another try at algebra? But it can also be a simpler task we learn: using chop sticks, creating formulas on an excel spreadsheet or learning to play the Wii. The educator Mortimer Adler once said “The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.”

There are so many avenues to discover new information and gain new insights: from the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and The Dalles Art Center to the History Channel on cable TV; from Columbia Gorge Community College and the Planetree Health Resource Center to your church’s bible study or reading the Economist - or just opening your eyes as if you were a new born child.

The Center can be another source for your life exploration. You can choose from the “tried and true” classes including the Seniorcise, Yoga, Tap and Clogging and the AARP Driver Safety Class, and activities such as Pinochle, Bridge, and the Quilters. In September, the Center will resume the Next Chapter Lecture series, the Computer Basics Class and the popular Computer Help Lab; plus Tai Chi with Corliss Marsh as well as “Yes, You can Draw!” with Nancy Russell. And this is just a sample of the many classes and activities the Center offers.

But every year we want to add new opportunities. We will start offering a weekly “Computer How-To” discussion group to share our knowledge about various topics - from how to download pictures to how to use social networks such as Facebook. We will also start a Brain Fitness class to help keep our brains stimulated while replacing those cobwebs upstairs with snappy neurons.

And if there is any knowledge, skill or hobby you would like to share with others – and you don’t have to have a degree - give the Center a call. We can make something happen.

A couple of quick reminders. Meals on Wheels will be assisting the local firemen’s MDA Sunday Brunch fundraiser at the Center this coming Sunday, August 23rd from 10:00 – 1:00. Enjoy fine food for a good cause. And then stay a little longer and listen and dance to the Jammers at the Center’s Pie and Jam Social from 2 – 5pm.

Tonight at the Center, the Hardshell Harmony will be performing there jaw-dropping, toe-tapping bluegrass sounds. And next week the Jazz Generations will be back to play their big band sounds. Everybody is welcome and the music is free, but since nothing else is, donations are greatly appreciated.

The winner of last week’s “Remember When” question was Alex Currie, with a little help from his son, who called in the correct answer, WC Fields. We now switch to a new category “Current Events - from the Past” for one free breakfast on Saturday September 19th. The question is “What famous disaster occurred at Lakehurst Naval Air Station on Thursday, May 6th, 1937”? Call 296-4788 or email to

Until we meet again, remember what your teacher always use to tell you, “Pay attention!”

“No matter how one may think himself accomplished, when he sets out to learn a new language, science, or the bicycle, he has entered a new realm as truly as if he were a child newly born into the world.” Francis Willard author of “How I learned to Ride the Bicycle”

Aging Well August 11

Many of you who read this column probably have never and will never access the Internet - there are too many better things to do: gardening, reading and visiting the grandkids. But there are a growing number of folks over and under 70 who are finding the benefits of this connectivity to a larger world: 24/7 news access, reliable medical information through sites such as MedlinePlus, and reconnecting with long lost friends. But there is also plenty of misinformation circulating on the Internet particularly from forwarded emails. Before you forward emails of such rumors as the postcard virus warning - true and false; listing guns on your tax return – false; euthanasia counseling – false, check their validity at, the #1 source for checking out various internet rumors and email forwards..

If you want to learn more about Medicare; its benefits and complexities and how to help others become better informed about Medicare, attend the free "Learn the Medicare ABC & Ds" on Wednesday August 19th from 2 - 4 pm at the Senior Center. To register call the Area Agency on Aging at 541-298-4101, ext. 218. Seating is limited! This two hour workshop is presented by SHIBA - Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance.

This Saturday Bonnie has cooked up something special for the Center’s monthly breakfast: delicious Quiche. (But if you are not a “real man” there will be scrambled eggs as an alternative.) The menu will also include bacon, muffin and fruit besides the usual suspects for drinks. We are proud that the sponsor this month is Columbia Gorge Community College where “building dreams and transforming lives” is alive and well. And you are never too old to dream.

The Center's Nu-2-U Shop is having a half price sale for one whole week starting tomorrow and continuing through Wednesday the 19th. Because there isn’t much space in the NU-2-U shop, Betty and Martha need to move the clothes out. So this is your chance to add some fine clothes to your wardrobe at give-away prices.

Congratulations to The Dalles’ own P-51 gal, Anna Monkiewicz, who was named the recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal. Last Sunday, she was warmly honored by Senator Ron Wyden for serving our nation during WW II as a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP). As Senator Wyden acknowledged, she was a trailblazer and a patriot.

It has been said that "Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance". So tonight let’s dance! Truman Boler will be playing his country favorites and next Tuesday the Hardshell Harmony will get your toes tapping with their high energy bluegrass music. You just can’t sit still when they play. And each week I have to keep moving the tables back to provide more room to dance - last Tuesday there were twelve couples on the dance floor at the same time. Folks just like to dance.

If you would like to share your passion for a hobby or activity give me a call. We are always looking for folks to teach classes this fall during the day or evening. And for you budding artists, Nancy Russell will be back again teaching her “Yes, You can Draw” art class starting Thursday September 17th. .

The answer to last week's question was the "Schnozzola" Jimmy Durante and the winner of the free breakfast was Jim Goff, King Bing of a couple years back. This week's question is who said "All things considered, I'd rather be in Philadelphia." Email me your answer to or call and leave a message at 296-4788.

Until we meet again, remember the words of the venerable philosopher W.C Fields "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."

“We've put more effort into helping folks reach old age than into helping them enjoy it.” ~Frank A. Clark

Aging Well August 4th

The weather looks like it is going to be a little gentler by the end of the week. I know I should appreciate the variety each season brings because as Pepper Giardino said “Weather is a great metaphor for life - sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, and there's nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella”. But rain I can deal with. It’s the excessive heat I don't particularly like.

But there has been one benefit. Because of the heat advisory we stayed open every night this last week. And since we didn’t have anything scheduled for Wednesday night, we showed the movie “Singing in the Rain” on the big plasma screen in the dining room - we moved in the stuffed chairs from the lounge to provide some comfortable seating. Only a few joined us, but we have decided to continue the Wednesday Night Movies for the rest of August or longer. But I need some help. I have my favorites – comedies with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, but I am interested in knowing what movies would bring folks out on a Wednesday evening. Email me your favorite movie classic from the 60's, 50's 40's or 30's or just call. This Wednesday we will show the 1940 movie “His Girl Friday” with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell and next Wednesday “Some Like it Hot” with Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe - ranked as the #1 comedy by the American Film Institute. Showtime is 6:00 PM.

During the vacation season, it is sometimes hard to get the band together. So tonight Truman Boler and his one-man “Country Gold” will be playing as well as next Tuesday when he was originally scheduled. Admission is free but donations are always appreciated to keep the music flowing and the dancers dancing.

And when it comes to dancing, I think the older generations had it easier, because when I dance with my wife, she forgets who the boss is and always wants to lead. (Or does she know more than I know?) But then it all works out in the end, because I wouldn't know what to do if I did lead.

But there is an answer to my woes. Neva and Bill's Reid’s Social Dance lessons begin again this fall with an Intro to the Waltz, starting September 21 followed by an Intro to the Two-Step starting November 9th. Then next year they have schedule the Tango and the Slo 2-Step. The lessons are held at the Civic Auditorium on Mondays from 7 - 9 PM. There is a charge but it is worth it, because dancing provides four of the ingredients of successful aging: movement, social connections, touch and if you watch me, laughter. For more information you can call 541-296-1570 or email

Several weeks ago, I forgot to mention the results of the public health department’s recent inspection of local restaurants. On the last inspection, Meals-on-Wheels and the Pioneer Potlatch meal sites in Dufur and Mosier all earned perfect scores of 100% and the meal site in Tygh Valley was almost perfect scoring 99%. You can’t get much better than that. Congratulations to all the staff and volunteers who work hard to provide nutritious meals and also to ensure that your food is safely prepared in a clean environment.

Can you name the person that signed off his radio show with "Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are"? First correct answer receives a free breakfast at the Center’s Saturday Breakfast on August 15th sponsored by Columbia Gorge Community College. Email your answer to Last week’s winner was Sandy Haechrel who was the first one to identify Jim Backus as the voice of Mr. Magoo.

That is it, another day, another possibility. Until we meet again, “Don't worry about avoiding temptation - as you grow older, it starts avoiding you”.


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