It’s like visiting your kids or grandkids – you wouldn’t miss the chance, but it is always nice to be back home. The two week break from writing this column gave me a chance to spend more time with my son (and yes, he still wants my wife and me to move to the bay area!), watch a few movies including “White Christmas” on Christmas Day and just lollygag around the house. But it is nice to be working these old grey cells once again - writing about the many opportunities in the community and the joys and challenges of aging.
For New Year’s Eve my wife and I just stayed home - like many of you may have done. But I found instead of struggling to stay awake till midnight to watch the ball drop in Times Square (tape delayed by three hours), I can watch it live by streaming it over the Internet. So how about this for next year? We celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Center with music, noise makers, some bingo - and then join millions of revelers in Times Square streamed live on the big screen TV. And we can still be home in bed by 10:00. What do you think?
It is only January and already you have the chance to see what may be the “talked about” event of the year. On Thursday January 10th, Mid-Columbia Concert Association is presenting “Dancing with the Gorge Stars” starting at 7:00 PM at The Dalles Wahtonka High School. This show is similar to ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” except instead of watching Apolo Ohno, Jennifer Grey, Donnie Osmond or Melissa Rycroft, you will have a chance to see our own Rick, Gene, Gavin, Celeste, Kristi and Tina (is there a reason they don’t give their last names?) paired with professional dancers from the Utah Ballroom Dance Company.
I have to admit they have more nerve than I have - to put themselves out there on stage in front of thousands of friends (and did I hear there will be representatives from ABC looking over the local talent?) But my money is on Wasco County Sheriff Rick Eisland. Early last spring during Steve Hudson’s Swing Classes, I had a chance to dance with Rick and I can personally testify to his natural gracefulness - except he wouldn’t let me lead! Tickets are only $25 at the door or $20 if you purchase them early at Klindts Booksellers or Columbia Music.
The 11:00 Tuesday Lecture Series is back – and although I don’t yet have a speaker lined up for next Tuesday, I guarantee you will learn something new and worthwhile. An example was today’s presentation by Courtney Kendrick who described the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. This valuable program is looking for volunteers to mentor local children – helping them gain greater confidence, improve their school performance and lead positive lives. It only takes about eight hours a month and no special skills are needed. If you are interested in making a difference in a child’s life, give Courtney a call at 541-296-8118 extension 216.
And Tuesday Night Music is also back. Because New Year’s Day was on a Tuesday, the music is starting a week late. But fortunately there are five Tuesdays in January so the Center can follow the usual schedule starting off with the Strawberry Mountain Band performing tonight. And next Tuesday on the 15th, Martin and Friends will barnstorm their way through a set of country and western favorites. Music starts at 7:00, everyone is invited and donations are always appreciated.
The answer to the last “Remember When” question of 2012 (if you can still remember it) was Rosemary Clooney, the jazz vocalist and actress who sang the 1951 hit “Come on-a My House” and starred in the 1954 Christmas movie classic “White Christmas”.
But I’m going to start off the new year with one of my favorite comedians of vaudeville, film and television fame. Who was the host of the game show that ran from 1947 through 1960 where a couple would try to answer a series of questions and if during the questioning the contestant would say the “secret word” a toy duck with a moustache, glasses and a cigar in its bill would drop down. E-mail your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with the lyrics for “Hooray for Captain Spaulding”.
Well it has been another week, thankful to see a new year. Until we meet again, don’t let age get in your way of living a full and generous life.