With the “Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat” playing on the television in the living room – crowds screaming for Apolo, Bode Miller and the American hockey team - it is hard to focus on the important stuff: writing this column. So if the column feels a little disjointed, disorganized – it’s the quick trips to the television set to watch the latest Olympic excitement.

We are social beings and no one should go a day without personal interaction with someone. But many folks for various reasons are homebound or unable to prepare their own meals. For over ninety folks, Meals-on-Wheels provides a daily home delivered meal and a friendly hello, and for many, this may be their only daily contact. But the number of people receiving home delivered meals is growing while the number of drivers is not. Friends, husbands and wives, working professional of all ages deliver meals, and if you have the time to join these good folks, Meals-on-Wheels needs your help! You will learn first-hand that this valuable and important service is “more than a meal”. For more information you can call them at 541-298-8333.

Once a month, the Tuesday lecture series invites world renowned speakers to discuss various topics of interest. Well not exactly. But just imagine you spent $50, drove 180 miles roundtrip to sit in a large auditorium where the speaker is so far away you have to watch the presentation on a large monitor to your left. You might as well be at the Center, sitting in a comfortable chair, watching the presentation on the Center’s large television screen – except the speaker won’t be here in person. (But if you still feel like you are missing the real experience you can pay us the $50.) This week’s speakers - via the website TED - will discuss the creativity within all of us. Elizabeth Gilbert the author of “Eat, Pray and Love” talks about the “impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses -- and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person ‘being’ a genius, all of us ‘have’ a genius”. Also Amy Tan the author of the “Joy Luck Club” will discuss “out of nothing comes something” or how we create.

The tickets are going fast for “Cats” - the Broadway musical coming to Portland. But the Center still has thirteen tickets to sell. These are great seats: Orchestra Level rows C,D,E,F - so close you can smell the greasepaint. And did I say only $65 including transportation? Stop by the Center to pay for your tickets - you will receive them the day of the show. We will leave at 10:45 for the 1:00 Sunday matinee performance on March 28th.

Even though I don’t know for sure who is playing next Tuesday night, I do know you will be kicking and screaming when we have to turn off the lights. Every Tuesday night we offer music that’s “got a good beat and it’s easy to dance to” even though we’re not in Philadelphia. Tonight the Sugar Daddies will be playing their danceable music for you and your sweetheart. Music starts at 7:00 and doesn’t cost you one thin dime, although donations are appreciated. And on Sunday the 28th from 2:00 – 5:00 it will be the Center's monthly turn to host the Jammers. Enjoy the talents of our local musicians who play because “it is just what they love to do”.

The answer to last week's “Remember When" question was “The Catcher in the Rye” by JD Salinger who just recently died on January 27th. And this week, to celebrate the Vancouver Winter Olympics, a question from fifty years ago. In the 1960 Winter Olympics, thirty teams competed (the Soviet Union winning the most medals) highlighted by the US Hockey team upsetting Canada, USSR and Czechoslovakia to win the gold medal in what has become known as the "forgotten miracle". Where were the 1960 Olympics held? Email, call 541-296-4788 or drop by the Center.

Well, that’s another hole in the dike. Until we meet again, keep your skates on the ice and your eye on the puck.

“I am a kind of paranoid in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.” J. D. Salinger

Aging Well February 16

It hasn't always been this way. When I was growing up in the Midwest, it was a simpler time. There were only three network television stations, a few fast food restaurants (Big Boy, McDonalds and White Castle - and it was always a special treat when after work mom would bring home a sack of neatly stacked White Castle hamburgers) and t-shirts that were just plain white.

But time passes and things change. The choices we have in practically every aspect of our lives has increased dramatically, but we as a people seem to be less happy. How can that be? Barry Schwartz in his book the “Paradox of Choice” suggests we are experiencing too much of a good thing. When given too many choices, instead of liberating, we are paralyzed; unable to choose among the many options - whether it is shampoos, pants or Medicare Advantage plans. And once we make a choice we are less satisfied, because we can imagine out there somewhere, some place there is a better product at a better price.

Would I give up my iPhone for a simpler time? Probably not. But just the realization the more choices doesn’t necessarily mean greater happiness is something we should acknowledge and appreciate.

On your wall calendar or in your iPhone, I want you to write down for Tuesday the 23rd, "7:00 pm -Senior Center - Tuesday Night Music and Dance”, because that is where the action will be. Bring your best dance floor moves because the Sugar Daddies are playing and they want to see everyone up and dancing. And tonight you can dance to the golden country sounds with Truman Boler. All the C minors and B flats are free and the dance steps won't cost a thing either. But donations are appreciated. And there is no age discrimination – we welcome anyone under 105.

Starting Monday March 1st from 1:00 - 2:00 we are going to repeat the weekly Brain Fitness class. In the class we do a variety of activities that stimulate different parts of the brain, including reminiscing about past experiences, engaging in listening and seeing activities, testing memory skills and sharing information we have found about memory and brain development. Many of us will be repeating the class to see if we remember half of what we heard the first time. I will also add several videos to the curriculum to provide some new content that will challenge your thinking and stretch your brain.

Do you remember reading a particular book in high school that reflected the feelings and attitudes of the time? When I was in high school in the early 60's there was one controversial book every guy wanted to read and it wasn't Moby Dick. Even though it was written in 1951, it had elements of rebellion and teenage angst that was beginning to infiltrate the adolescent culture of the 60's. This week's “Remember When” question is about that book. What novel follows Holden Caulfield's experiences in New York City after being expelled from prep school? Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off at the Center.

The answer to last week’s question was Kookie – played by Edd Byrnes - who was the parking attendant in the television detective series “77 Sunset Strip”. You may also remember the top ten Billboard hit Edd Byrnes sang with Connie Stevens, “Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb”. We had over 10 folks who knew the correct answer and I was going to mention them all, but I misplaced the list on my desk - and if you saw my desk you would understand.

Well that is another nail in the – uh, let’s see – in the two by four? Until we meet again, I hope your days are good and you can sidestep those days that made the “Old Perfessor” Yankee manager Casey Stengel say, “I’ll never make the mistake of turning seventy again”.

Aging Well February 9

Last week it got a little heavy writing about sunsets and the pace of time. So this week I will go straight to what’s happening in our little corner of the world.

It is said that dogs have owners, and cats have staff. Whether you are a cat aficionado or not you will enjoy the matinee performance of the musical “Cats” on Sunday March 28th. Last summer, to get the best possible seats, the Center reserved tickets and now with less than two months, tickets are on sale. The cost is still only $65 including hassle free to-the-Keller-Auditorium-door service. And the trip is open to anyone in the Mid-Columbia region whether you are a Center member or not. Call or stop by the Center to purchase your tickets.

If you are on a limited or fixed income and require various medical prescriptions, there is a Medicare program that could save you some hard cash. If you qualify you will pay no more than $2.40 for each generic drug and $6 for each brand name drug plus the program helps pay your prescription copayments and other drug costs like monthly premiums and annual deductibles. Jean Hockman learned there are 232 folks in the 97058 zip code region who for whatever reason are missing out on this opportunity. And she wants to find them! You qualify if you make less than $16,245 and have less than $12,510 in resources or as a married couple you make less than $21,855 and have less than $25,010 in resources. If you think you or someone you know may qualify, call Jean at the Area Agency on Aging at 541-298-4101.

Truman Boler is back again this coming Tuesday the 16th playing his one man Country Gold. And when Truman plays, the girls just want to dance - we keep moving the tables further back to make more room. And tonight the Notecrackers will be playing for your dancing and listening pleasure. The music starts flowing and the bodies swaying when the clock strikes seven. It is all free but if you enjoy fine music, donations are appreciated.

It is clear that loneliness and isolation are detrimental to one’s health particularly for older adults. The Friendly Visitor program works to address this problem by providing "social visits" by screened and trained volunteers to homebound seniors. You can learn more about the Friendly Visitor program at the Center’s Tuesday Lecture on the 16th at 11:00 am. Marilyn Buchanan the coordinator will be discussing how the program can help isolated seniors stay connected and engaged.

Sometimes you know what you want to say, but you don’t really say it. Last week I didn’t mention I was looking for the sponsor of Burns and Allen’s television show which was Carnation Evaporated Milk. (You can go to the Center’s blog at and see a short video from the show.) But both Joanne Scott and Loretta Commander did know the sponsor for the Burns and Allen radio show from 1945 – 1949 which was Maxwell House “good to the very last drop”.

This week’s “Remember When” question is again about a television series, about a decade later from 1958 – 1964 which I watched as a teen and thought was pretty cool. In the ABC television series “77 Sunset Strip” what was the name of the hipster parking attendant who helped the private eyes on their cases and was known for combing his hair? Call 541-296-4788, email or stop by with the correct answer so I can show folks you are as old as I am.

Well that’s another cobblestone on the walkway of life. Until we meet again, keep searching and asking questions because as Walter Mondale once said, “If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused.”

Aging Well February 2nd

It is going to be one of those hurry-up-and-keep moving kind of days. The calendar is full; I have once again over committed - I think it runs in the family. But it seems when I need more time, those precious minutes I do have pass so quickly. Maybe that is why, at least at my age, time seems to go so much faster. I know I don't have forever anymore and I have noticed the sun beginning to set. But aren’t the most beautiful times of the day, the sunrise and sunset? As I try to accomplish all that I want before I punch the time clock for the last time, I should lean back, take a deep breath and enjoy the expansive and glowing sunsets in life. And like the early explorers, not fear what is beyond the sunset but accept, when the time comes, the ultimate adventure, discovering what lies beyond this world we know.

But while you contemplate life's mysteries, you might want to waltz down to the Center on Tuesday nights. On the 9th, you can listen and dance to the Notecrackers who are back playing a gentle breeze of fine tunes. And although you may not have been dancing since you were a babe on your daddy’s knee, you can always learn - there is nothing better than taking someone in your arms and dancing your cares away. And playing tonight are The Rhythm Ramblers who are beginning to build quite a following. Bring your friend, your companion, your lover and discover what all the talk is about. The music starts at 7:00 and it's absolutely, unequivocally and unbelievably free. But don’t miss the fine print "donations are warmly accepted".

You may not be aware but the Wasco County Court is no longer. Not surprisingly, many people thought that the Wasco County Court was actually a judicial court instead of the legislative and administrative body for the county. But with the new reorganization creating a Wasco County Board of Commissioners, the confusion has been removed and the people of Wasco County are better served. You can learn more about the changes in county government and the challenges ahead at the Center's Tuesday Lecture at 11:00 on the 9th. Dan Ericksen will make his annual pilgrimage to the Center to share with us his thoughts on county government and also give you a chance to ask him any questions you may have.

And Dan's mother, Marilyn Ericksen, former Senior Center board president, Senior Living columnist extraordinaire and long time Original Courthouse board member is doing fine and feeling as good as when she was twenty - well maybe not that good. She will be the first speaker for this year's Original Courthouse Regional History Forum series that begins Saturday the 6th at the Original Wasco County Courthouse behind the Chamber of Commerce. The topic will be "Nine Lives: the Little Courthouse that Refused to Die" about the history of this local historical treasure built in 1859.

Virginia at the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments wants me to mention that the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) still has a few positions available. This program builds on the idea that older Americans are dependable, reliable and energetic employees and a valuable resource for businesses, non-profits and public agencies. SCSEP is a work based training program for older workers; providing subsidized, part-time (up to twenty hours a week at minimum wage), community service work based training for low-income persons age 55 or older and have a family income of no more than 25% over the Federal poverty level. If you are interested and think you qualify for this program or just have questions, contact Virginia at 541-298-4101.

There were several responses to last week's "Remember When" question including Jim Ayres who said he would be embarrassed if he didn't know that Bart Starr was the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers when they won the first two Super Bowls in '67 and '68.

Today advertisers buy 30-second commercial spots during the Super Bowl to show their latest and greatest commercials, but in the early days of television, the whole time slots for the television shows were owned by the sponsors such as Grape Nuts, Maxwell House Coffee, and Lucky Strikes. Which leads to this week’s question "What company/product sponsored The Burns and Allen Show"?

Well, another week, another step in the stairway of life. Until we meet again, I’ll leave you with this Red Skelton quote I heard at the Center, "If I wake up and not surrounded by roses, I'm doing fine".


Follow by Email

Blog Archive