Aging Well April 27

Are we all ready to hum a few rounds of the English nursery rhyme “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush” while we find out if we can drive in circles and still find our way home? There has been quite a bit of talk about the “roundabout” that will open soon as the eastern gateway to historic downtown The Dalles. I am all for it - I go in circles all the time - but I do have one serious concern. I fear this roundabout is just the first step in a vast conspiracy that will eventually lead The Dalles to adopt the metric system, form a parliamentary form of city government, and become more European than the French. Someday could we be living in “La Dalles”?

If you would like to learn more about the roundabout, Dan Durow, The Dalles Community Development Director, will explain the benefits of the roundabout and answer any of your questions at the Center on Thursday April 29th at 11:30 am. Dan has been a true asset to The Dalles community and you can find his fingerprints on many of the exciting changes in The Dalles.

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Many live with the daily challenges of chronic health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, arthritis, or stroke. And although the conditions may never go away, there are proven real life skills that will help you live a full and healthy life. The Area Agency on Aging will be offering a six session workshop on “Living Well with Chronic Conditions” starting on Tuesday May 11th from 1:00-3:30 at the Center. This fun and interactive class will help you better manage your health. For more information call 541-298-4101.

As I mentioned last week, Tuesday May 5th at 11:00 am, Anya Kawka will be showing a slide presentation of her hike along the Pacific Coast Trail. You may know Anya as one of Mike and Colleen Ballinger's offspring who has returned to The Dalles with her youthful energy and enthusiasm and is now working for the Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation. After Anya’s presentation you may just want to put on your hiking shoes.

Which leads me back to our trail hopping, flower hunting, soul searching Skip Tschanz. Skip has been waiting anxiously for the wildflowers to dress up in their “church going” best so he can lead his popular hikes to our local bastions of natural beauty. And it is time! The first Monday hike is next week May 3rd to Catherine Creek which is an easy hike with paved portions. The following Monday Skip will take you to the Mosier Syncline which is a moderate hike with some uneven ground. And the last -but not the least - will be Tom McCall Point on the 17th which is an intermediate hike. Skip suggests you wear good sturdy traction shoes, and bring along water and a snack. And the disclaimer : although God may giveth, God may also taketh away and the hikes could be postponed because of the weather. Meet at the Center at 1:00 to car pool the day’s destination.

There is always music to be found and on Tuesday nights the Center is the place to look. Next Tuesday May 5th, the Strawberry Mountain Band – three generations of the Lamoreaux’s - will be performing for your listening and dancing pleasure. And tonight if you want to "make the scene" the Jazz Generations will be laying down a few beats for your listening and dancing pleasure. Frolic the night away and still get home before dark. The music always starts at 7:00 and it is free, although donations are always appreciated.

I know there are more folks out there who pulled a few pranks in their day (unless you are like my wife who can't remember any. But I think she lies!) The winner was Betty Richmond who remembers when she was six, hiding in the back seat of the car when her sixteen year old aunt was picked up for a date. And following the KODL Classic Car Show, this week’s “Remember When” question is, “What was your favorite car you ever drove?” A ‘57 Chevy, ‘65 Mustang, or Volkswagen bug? Call 541-296-4788, email your answer to or write your answer on the fender of a ‘63 Buick Skylark convertible and park it at the Center.

Well that is plenty for another week. Until we meet again, if you don’t like what I write, don’t look at me. Because as the sage of the baseball diamond Yogi Berra once said, “I didn’t say everything I said”.

“If people never did silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.” philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein

Aging Well April 20

Its “Cherry Mania” week: the time to officially announce it’s spring in The Dalles (except for last year) and time to reconnect with neighbors and friends. I was going to share information about depression and older adults but with the sun shining, the weather warming and the party starting, I will wait till next week.

An annual Cherry Festival tradition is the Center's Cherry Festival breakfast. And everyone is invited. Breakfast will start a little earlier 7:30 and end a little later 10:00 AM to give everyone a chance to enjoy a nice breakfast before they start their day of fun and games. The menu will consist of hot cakes smothered with fruit compote and whip cream, bacon, scrambled eggs, fruit and your favorite beverages. All for only $6.50 for adults, $5.50 for members and $3 for children five and under. Scout Troop #395 will be around to take care of your every whim and fancy. So start your day right! Because as Jack always said “Breakfast tastes better when someone else cooks it!”

Several weeks ago at the Center Anya Kawka spoke about the Parks and Recreation’s Sunup Walking Club that will be starting this summer. She wants to get more folks involved, so if you are interested or have any questions she would like you to call her at 541-296-9533 or email her at As a reminder the Sunup Walking Club will meet on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at different parks in the area, giving you a chance to enjoy one of the best, yet simplest aerobic exercises with new and old friends.

And as a footnote, Anya will be the speaker for the Center’s Tuesday Lecture on May 5th presenting a slideshow of her 2007 hike across Oregon and half of California along the Pacific Coast Trail. Surprisingly - and inspiringly - Anya saw more than a few seventy-somethings making the trek along with the “young, athletic, hard-bodies”.

I just can’t seem to make Klea Espy happy! She is always looking for volunteers to help at Habitat’s Restore Store and last year I shared her plea for several good looking, well built men to volunteer and show her around the tool shed at the Restore Store. And I thought I would be thanked. Well she still needs volunteers but is willing to accept any mere mortal who knows which end of the hammer to grab. The store is open from 10 – 4 Tuesday through Saturday. If you are interested, call the store at 541-296-4486 or drop by at 1008 West 6th Street.

Habitat is also looking for a site manager so they can build two houses at the same time. They have the land and the resources; and the need; they just don’t have the person to lead the charge. Walt Notter is the current construction site manager and although he can work wonders, two houses is a step over the line. And ladies think of the possibilities. You may have a husband - just retired following you around the house like a lost puppy and just being a major pest. Here is a perfect chance to get the old man out of the house. Call Habitat to bring some normalcy back to your life.

The music for this coming Tuesday on the 27th will be the Jazz Generations. We will pull up the imaginary carpet, push back the dining room tables and sweep the floor clean so everyone can get up and shake a leg with their partner. And tonight it’s the Sugar Daddies. Come and find out why “Boys will be Boys”. There is no charge except what electricity you can generate on the dance floor. But donations are appreciated. Music starts at 7:00 and everyone is invited.

The best response to last week’s “Remember When” question - your most memorable date movie -was from regular contributor Joann Scott who said - with a wink and a nod- she went several times to the drive-in before she realized that there was actually a movie showing. This week’s question acknowledges that as kids we weren’t perfect either. “What was your most memorable prank you were involved in? (And I have already heard about knocking over out houses on Halloween.) If you are willing to share your answer call 541-296-4788, or email
Well that was another week that was. Until we meet again enjoy all the Cherry Mania you can handle and don’t be too shy to say “hi”.

“I have the worst memory ever, so no matter who comes up to me - they're just, like, 'I can't believe you don't remember me!" I'm like, 'Oh Dad I'm sorry!' - Ellen DeGeneres

Aging Well April 13

Carpe Diem! How often have you seen or heard this common expression? From a poem by the Roman poet Horace, the phrase is part of the longer Carpe diem quam minime credula postero – "Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future". It is a testament to being in the moment, drinking its pleasures and living each day to its fullest.

But as we seize the day, have we forgotten or avoided envisioning a future with all of its possibilities? By imagining a rocky path of painful joints, failing sight, lost friends, and memories lost, have we ignored tomorrow for today or even yesterday?

So let me ask “How would you live your life if you knew you were going to live another 20 years, ten years, or even five years - guaranteed? Not just another day. Would you go back to school? Learn to paint? Remodel that old Buick? Write your life history? What are your passions, what is your purpose? And what are you waiting for?

As you seize each day, as you write each new page, imagine the whole book of your life. You have already written many wonderful chapters - but there are many more to be written: some brave, some thrilling, and inevitably, some sad. To paraphrase James Dean - Imagine you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today.

Next Tuesday (April 20) at the Center, representatives from the local office of Seniors and People with Disabilities (SPD), a division of Oregon’s Department of Human Services, will discuss the many supports and services they provide so seniors can live independent, healthy and safe lives. Some of the important work they do is enforcing standards of care in long term care settings; providing management and oversight of senior programs and providing Medicaid benefits for seniors. The presentation starts at 11:00 and afterwards you can enjoy a delicious dinner of marinated Steak Tips provided by Meals-on-Wheels.

The Sugar Daddies are back but – sorry ladies - you won’t find guys with dollars hanging from their pockets and charm dripping from their lips - these guys just like to play music. Come and enjoy an evening of listening and dancing to new tunes and old favorites. And if you like what you hear, you can purchase their latest CD produced right here in the Gorge. And tonight the popular Cherry Park band will be playing. The music starts at 7:00 and if the cost of admission was any cheaper, we would be paying you. But donations are appreciated.

April is the Center’s spring membership month - and I won’t be as intrusive as Oregon Public Radio during their quarterly membership drives - but again a gentle reminder to take that step and become a member of the Senior Center. The cost is only $35 per person and $60 per couple. And thank-you to the over 250 individuals who have already renewed or became new members. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Last week I attended a two-day Gerontology Conference at OSU (and as an Oregon graduate I hate to admit it but it was an excellent conference). In future columns I will share with you what I learned. But as a tease, and if you have Internet access, there is a five part presentation on the Mastery of Aging you can find at that includes memory, depression, medications, nutrition and physical activity. Each part is about an hour long and well done.

I had several responses from last week's question (favorite TV or radio show you listened to as a kid) including listening under the covers to “Inner Sanctum”; “Jackpot Bowling with Milton Berle”, and the Lone Ranger’s "Hi-yo, Silver, away!".

This week's question again follows the theme of personal memories. What was your most memorable date movie from the past? Could it have been the first date with your high school or college sweetheart - or the last? Or a movie you don't quite remember because you were – I’ll put it politely - engaged in other activities? If you are willing to share your answer, call 541-296-4788, or email

Has it been another week? Until we meet again, as they said in Rome “Modo fac” or as translated in Beaverton "Just do it!"

People who throw kisses are hopelessly lazy. - Bob Hope

Aging Well April 6th

The temperatures are warming, the days are longer - it is time to get out and explore. And what a rich bounty of opportunities we have in the Gorge area. Just look at the number of first class museums: Maryhill, Fort Dalles Museum, St. Peter’s Landmark, the Original Wasco County Courthouse, the Discovery Center and Wasco County Museum, Hood River County Historical Museum and the Sherman County Historical Museum where you can “take a walk on the rural side”.

While the Center promotes healthy aging by offering activities and programs, it can play a more important role by helping active adults connect with these and many other incredible resources in the area. As an example, the Center has just completed a list of the Trips and Tours that are available this spring and summer in the Gorge and beyond. It includes trips provided by Sherman County Transportation, the Hood River Community Education (including their popular monthly mystery trips) and the Center. The list is available at the Center and will soon be posted on the Internet at The Center will continue to publicize ways you can explore, connect and contribute within and beyond the Center’s walls.

As part of its membership month, the Center will host an Open House from 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM on Tuesday the 13th (before the dancing starts) with cake and ice cream for both those who want to learn more about the activities at the Center and for those who need to be supplied with cake and ice cream to bring you to your senses and join. Come on in. You are all invited!

A local magnet for musical talent is the Cherry Park Grange. They offer Saturday night dances ($5 per person, children under 12 free), Thursday night Gospel music, Jams at Viewpoint Trailer Court on alternating Friday nights and host the Jammers on the second Sundays. A core group of the musicians who play at the grange have formed the Cherry Park Band and occasionally play a Tuesday night gig at the Center. Next Tuesday (13th) will be one of those nights when can dance to till the lights go off. And tonight - all I need to say is “Truman” and you know what I mean: good music and good times. Music starts at 7:00 followed by dancing and shaking. There is no charge but donations are welcome.

The May primary election (ballots will be mailed on April 30th and need to be returned by May 18th) is usually a time of great democratic apathy. But with two contested primary races for county commissioner, and one contested race for Circuit Court Judge, and lawn signs sprouting on every corner and support letters filling the editorial page, you can tell this year is different. But the most far reaching question on the ballot is the proposed home rule charter for Wasco County. You can read the proposed charter on Wasco County’s web site:, but you may also want to attend the Center's 11:00 lecture next Tuesday featuring Keith Mobley Chairman of the Wasco County Home Rule Charter Committee. The volunteers on the committee - including vice-chair Lewis Flint who set the wheels in motion – spent many, many hours working to develop the proposed home rule charter. They deserve a big thanks. Now it will be up to the voting public to decide whether to adopt the proposed changes.

Whether you feel like Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. - "I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization" or lean more towards Mark Twain’s perspective "What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin", this is the last weekend to take advantage of the AARP tax aide program at the Center. The hours are from 3:00 – 6:00 on Friday and from 9:00 - 1:00 on Saturday. The service is open to all procrastinators and there is no charge.

Marilyn Scarsfield was the winner of last week’s “Remember When” question. And even though I didn't receive many examples of memorable high school songs (is it because those days are just a faint glimmer - too far down and around too many corners and up and over too many hills?) I was reminded of Rosemary Clooney during the early 50’s and the 1961 novelty hit "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavor On the Bedpost Over Night)".

As a young boy growing up in the 50's, I was a regular fan of the Saturday morning TV shows. This week’s question is “What TV (or radio) show was your favorite when you were a child?” And speaking just to the guys, was anyone else in love with Annette Funicello of the Mousketeers?

Well it’s another week when you know isn’t truly spring, if you still can see snow on the Klickitats. So until we meet again, keep your head down and your belly full.

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.” Edward R. Murrow


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