Aging Well in the Gorge December 29th 2015

As we celebrate the achievement of making it to the end of another year upright in body and mind, I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to read this column that I have had the pleasure of writing since 2008. I hope you have found something worthwhile - at least often enough to keep coming back to see if there are any more helpful ideas left on the grocery shelves.

My intent is to share with you useful information I have discovered about growing older - in good health with grace and confidence; and to also share a few insights I have acquired from the wonderful folks I meet daily who are full of life, gratitude and simple wisdom.

I also hope to offer some encouragement to keep up the good fight, to focus on what you can do and not fret about what you can’t, and to keep active and engaged - as I hope someone will for me when I find the challenges as I get older becoming more frequent and difficult.

We are unique creatures - each one of us different from the other which makes life so wondrous. Life isn’t a 1950’s black and white television sitcom. Life is full of colors and textures. And every person I meet adds to that tapestry - making life fascinating and surprising.

We are all far from perfect and as we hope others will accept our imperfections, we learn to accept the imperfections of others. And yet, knowing we are imperfect, we are still often surprised when someone makes a mistake or is rude or angry. This thought is stated more succinctly by an Eleanor Roosevelt quote which I feel is worth sharing again as we enter a new year.

“A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all-knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.”

So with love and charity, I hope this New Year brings you love, peace of mind and an ample share of happiness.

The Center and Meals-on-Wheels will be closed New Year’s Day, but will be open all day New Year’s Eve. And since New Year’s Eve falls on a Thursday, Meals-on-Wheels will be hosting a special New Year’s Eve Bingo Party - as long as the weather cooperates and I’ll bet you two to one it will. For this special evening the minimum buy-in is $20 which includes dinner and door prizes. If you want to enjoy an evening out and a chance to win some cash this is the place to be. You’ll get back home in plenty of time to usher in the New Year – if you can stay up that late. All the fun starts at 6:00 PM, but if you haven’t played before you should come at least a half hour early to learn the games.

And there is more Bingo excitement at the Center on Saturday Night, January 2nd when you could win $1000 if you blackout on the last game in 58 numbers or less. Doors open at 4:00, concessions available at 4:30 and games start at 6:00.

For the Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center on January 5th, Andre, KC and Tom will be performing. Music starts at 6:30, everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated.

The prize Ralphie’s dad won in the holiday movie classic A Christmas Story was a lamp shaped like a leg wearing a fishnet stocking. (The winner of a free quilt raffle ticket is Bill Van Nice.)

Before he became the anchor of the CBS Evening News, earning the reputation as “the most trusted man in America”, Walter Cronkite hosted several shows including an historical educational television series where CBS reporters would report on the dramatic reenactment of a historical event. What was the name of the show? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with the episode when Paul Newman played Marcus Brutus in “The Assassination of Julius Caesar”.

Well, it’s been another week appreciating the past, celebrating the present and looking forward to the New Year. Until we meet again, don’t turn off the lights and shut the door too soon.

“As you slide down the banisters of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way.” Irish Toast

Aging Well in the Gorge December 22nd 2015

This week my wife and I will be flying to Palo Alto, California to hang out with the children for Christmas – visiting the local coffee and tea shops, discussing their studies, politics, and life in general; and for the first time, meeting the parents of my son’s girlfriend.

 I don’t know how you felt, but I’m a little anxious. I have been asked to try to make a good impression, but that’s not easy. I feel like the country mouse visiting the sophisticated big city mice not knowing what all the rules are. I have learned through painful experience (and to the amusement of everyone else around the table) that when you dine at an Italian restaurant you don’t order Thousand Island dressing. And when the waiter comes to your table to pepper your salad, you are supposed to tell him when to stop. Who teaches you these rules! And what other rules don’t I know? 

And then there are the get-acquainted conversations. How do you communicate with someone you haven’t met; to get to know them and them to know you? To help in this hour of need, and since many of you may be visiting family also, I thought I would share once again some tips on effective communication condensed from the website They are important in any relationship - particularly if you are trying to make a good impression.

1. Breathe. Start with a deep breath to relax and give yourself time to pull your thoughts together.
2. Ask questions. Find out what is really going on. Don’t take anything for granted - you know what happens when you assume.
3. Really listen. Hear and understand their experiences and opinions, and listen for any fears driving their responses that they may not even realize. And don’t argue.
4. Slow down. Take your time and think before you respond. Silence can be golden.
5. Speak directly to the person. Set aside time to have one-on-one conversations. And avoid multi-tasking.
6. Speak distinctly and clearly. Many of us don’t like to admit, we have trouble understanding conversations.
7. Laugh. When appropriate, humor can help ease tense situations.

I’ll be memorizing those tips. But here’s probably the most valuable piece of advice which my wife often reminds of because I always forget, “Just because it pops into your head, it does NOT mean it should come out of your mouth”.

Although he may not look like an angel, Paul Lepinski was the Center’s angel last Thursday when he plowed the snow off the parking lot allowing the Center and Meals-on-Wheels to open on Friday. The Center has been blessed by folks like Paul who step forward when they see a need without being asked.

Part of the Center’s mission is to provide opportunities for older adults to continue their lifelong learning such as the Tuesday Lectures, Brain Fitness Club, and Lunch with TED. But one of the most valuable community resources is The Dalles-Wasco County Library where in addition to borrowing books, DVDs and CD’s, you can join a book discussion group or a ukulele group, find adult coloring materials and receive free tech help.

But a journey of lifelong learning begins at an early age. And after years of hard work, this Wednesday, December 23rd at 11:00, you are invited to The Dalles/Wasco County library for the ground breaking of the new John and Jean Thomas Children’s wing – a place where all children can discover the love of learning.

Every fifth Tuesday, the Dufur Boys perform at the Center, so December 29th they’ll be performing for your listening and dancing enjoyment. Music starts at 6:30, donations are appreciated and everyone, including college students home for their Christmas break, are welcome.

The name of the game whose object was to be the first to build a three-dimensional bug-like object from a variety of plastic body parts was “Cootie”. (The winner of one quilt raffle ticket is Anne Radford - the Queen of Three Mile.)

In the holiday movie classic A Christmas Story, Ralphie’s dad completed a series of newspaper puzzles sponsored by a soda pop company. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the prize he won that produced a “soft glow of electric sex”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a case of orange flavored Nehi cola.

Well, it’s been another week counting my blessings. Until we meet again, may you have a peaceful and joyful Christmas.

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” Norman Vincent Peale

Aging Well in the Gorge December 16 2015

The holidays are a time when families often get together. And whether you are a parent or the adult child, it is a good opportunity to spend some quality time sharing your hopes, concerns and fears. They are tough conversations and they don’t happen often enough.

One reason, often lingering in the background, is the uneasiness created by the conflicting interests of safety and independence. We want safety for our loved ones, but want independence for ourselves. Before parents were concerned about their children’s safety: how late should they stay out at night, and the children were craving the independence of driving. And now the adult children are concerned about their parent’s safety: should they give up the car keys, while the parents are clinging to their own independence.

Make time to have those tough conversations. It will be worth it. And knowing that your children aren’t telling you what to do, but are worried about your safety; or as the adult child, knowing that your parents aren’t being unreasonable, but value their own independence which they see gradually slipping away, you not only may survive these conversations, but actually create a stronger and more supportive relationship. 

During the year if you have donated to a qualifying cultural non-profit, don’t forget to make a donation in the same amount to the Oregon Cultural Trust, because for your donation to the Cultural Trust, you’ll receive a 100% state tax credit, up to $500 per individual and $1000 per household. 

Locally, there are twenty-two qualifying cultural organizations in Wasco County including the Cascade Singers, Civic Auditorium, Dufur Historical Society, The Original Courthouse, Fort Dalles Museum, The Dalles Theater Company, St. Peters Landmark, The Dalles Art Association, The Dalles Wasco County Library Foundation, The Town and Country Players in Maupin, Wasco County Historical Society, and Wonderworks - as well as the Sherman County Historical Society in Sherman County.

But why donate to the Oregon Cultural Trust? Besides making possible cultural projects throughout Oregon, the Oregon Cultural Trust funds the Wasco County Cultural Coalition which awards six to ten grants each year including the Center’s Creative Arts Program. It’s a good deal and with the tax credit, it doesn’t cost you a penny!

You are invited to the Center’s Holiday Breakfast this Saturday, December 19th sponsored by Columbia Basin Care. From 8:00 until 9:30, the kitchen crew will be serving pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit and juice – still for only $5.00 per person, $4.00 for Center members and $3.00 for children 12 and under. There will be a quilt raffle drawing, a chance to win several door prizes and of course Santa who is taking a day off from the North Pole.

One of the enemies of memory are distractions: taking our focus away from what we are trying to remember. Unfortunately, as we age, we generally have more difficulty ignoring distracting information. For this week’s music announcement, see how easily distracted you are by trying to read only the italicized words while ignoring the others.

For the Tuesday Night Music Gorge Winds Concert Band and Dance Cascade Singers at the Center on December 22nd, Country Handel’s Messiah Roads will be performing. Silent Night And don’t forget, for the Christmas Eve church services winter months, (although stockings winter doesn’t begin Bing Crosby until December 21st), Saturday Breakfast the band starts playing Alamo Bowl at 6:30 PM. Everyone Merry Christmas is welcome whether Happy New Year you’re tall, short, wide or thin, and donations Peace on Earth are always appreciated.

The best-selling single of all time sung by Bing Crosby in the film Holiday Inn was “White Christmas”. (The winner of a free quilt raffle ticket is Lucille Stephens.)

Continuing the Christmas theme, this week’s “Remember When” question is about a game that if you were a child in the 50’s you may have received as a Christmas present. What was the name of the game, first launched in1948 and sold millions in its first years, whose object was to be the first to build a three-dimensional bug-like object from a variety of plastic body parts? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with the 1949 original game manufactured by W. H. Schaper Mfg. Co. Inc.

Well, it’s been another week trying to remember “this” while not being distracted by “that”. Until we meet again, don’t forget to smell the pine needles.

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” Calvin Coolidge

Aging Well in the Gorge December 8th 2015

When you’re sick or feeling some kind of physical discomfort, do you ask yourself, Should I make a doctor’s appointment? Should I wait and see if it gets worse? Or is it serious enough that I should go to ER right now?

After I broke my hip, I waited a day thinking and hoping I had just bruised my muscle or bone. But the next day, when suddenly in the middle of the Center’s parking lot I couldn’t put any weight on my leg, I knew it was time to drive myself to the hospital – after I figured out how to get to the car.

But there are situations when you should be less optimistic and a little more expeditious than I was. In an article for UC San Diego Health, an academic medical center in San Diego, Scott LaFee identifies the following ten medical symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore.

1. Chest pain: Extreme discomfort that feels like squeezing, pressure or tightness. May be accompanied by pain radiating down an arm, nausea, vomiting, sweating or difficulty breathing.
2. Shortness of breath: A sudden feeling that you’re breathing faster than usual, without obvious explanation, and without good effect. Worsens when you lie flat or exert yourself. Wheezing or gasping.
3. Sudden intense headache: This is head pain unlike anything you’ve felt before, peaking in seconds or minutes.
4. Unexplained weight loss: Losing more than 5 percent of your body weight without trying in less than six months.
5. Unusual bleeding: For example, rectal bleeding or black or tarry stools. Or bloody vomit.
6. High or persistent fever: Anything 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher warrants an immediate trip to the doctor, without exception. A low-grade fever (somewhere around 100 degrees) for several weeks with no obvious cause should also be checked out.
7. Sudden confusion: Or inexplicable changes in personality, aggression or an inability to concentrate.
8. Swelling in the legs: Persistent, accumulated fluid (edema) in the extremities.
9. Sudden or severe abdominal pain: Centralized around the belly button. Sharp and unexpected.
10. Flashes of light: Bright spots, flashes or other visual disturbances.

There can be many reasons for these symptoms – some life threatening and others more benign. If you want to learn more, I have posted the entire article on the Center’s website,, under the HEALTH tab.

When the snow arrived last Wednesday, followed by rain that decided to come early dressed as ice, it made it difficult to get around town. And so not to encourage folks to take unnecessary chances, the Center was closed on Wednesday and Thursday causing several events at the Center to be postponed to this week.

One was the presentation by John Brenne, Project Director for the Foster Grandparent Program, who decided driving from Pendleton wasn’t the best idea. But he has been rescheduled to speak at the Center at 1:00 on Wednesday, December 8th. As a quick reminder, the Foster Grandparent program places adults age 55 or over in schools to help young children become better readers. A unique benefit of being a Foster Grandparent is you receive a non-taxable stipend of $2.65 to cover volunteer expenses.

Also Thursday Night Bingo was canceled which means this coming Thursday you still have a chance to win $1000 if you blackout on the last game in 60 numbers or less. I’ll bet you someone goes home with an extra $1000 for Christmas shopping. And for those who want a bite to eat, they’ll be serving Johnny’s special Hamburgers with Potato Salad.

For the Tuesday Night Music and Dance on December 15th, the Simcoe Boys will be performing. Music starts at 6:30, everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated.

The name of the 1960’s television series featuring special agents 86 (Don Adams) and 99 (Barbara Feldon) was Get Smart. (The winner of a free quilt raffle ticket is Don McAllister.)

This week’s “Remember When” question is from one of my favorite holiday movies. In the 1942 film Holiday Inn starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby sang what became the best-selling single of all time. What was the name of the song? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with the 1942, 78 rpm release of the song on Decca records.

Well, it’s been another week trying not to slip and slide away. Until we meet again, don’t let fear spoil the season of peace.

“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas.” Dale Evans

Aging Well in the Gorge December 1st 2015

You’re never too old to make a difference in the lives of others. A common method is to donate money to an organization whose mission you believe in. But not all of us have the financial resources to give to the extent we would like. But there is one thing most of us do have, and that is time. You can make a difference by giving your time volunteering at one of the many local non-profit organizations.

The Foster Grandparent Program is one program seeking volunteers. As a Foster Grandparent you volunteer between 20 and 40 hours a week providing reading assistance to children who need additional support and encouragement. To qualify you have be 55 or older and in good health; and meet certain income guidelines which for a one person household is an income of no more than $1942 a month. If selected you will receive a non-taxable stipend of $2.65 an hour to cover any expenses associated with volunteering.

John Brenne, Project Director for the Foster Grandparent Program that serves Wasco County, will be in The Dalles on Thursday December 3rd. He will be on the KODL Coffeebreak at 10:00 and at the Center at 1:00 to explain more about the program and how you can become a Foster Grandparent helping young children become better readers.

Habitat for Humanity’s Annual Bazaar is on Saturday, December 5th at the UCC church from 10 am until 2 pm. For many it has become a holiday tradition: a place where you can find baked goods, craft vendors as well as soup and pie for lunch. All proceeds go to support the good work of the local Habitat for Humanity.

The Center has scaled back its Saturday Breakfasts to only three special occasions each year: Cherry Festival, Ft Dalles Days and December to celebrate the holidays. This year’s holiday breakfast will be served on Saturday, December 19th from 8:00 – 9:30 and is sponsored by Columbia Basin Care Facility. The menu will feature pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon plus hot cider to keep your insides warm. There will be a quilt raffle drawing, prizes, plus a visit from Santa. And as Santa would tell you “Breakfast always tastes better when someone else cooks it.”

It’s fun to talk about the weather, but there isn’t much we can do about it. And as in most situations in life, we learn to accept and adapt. But there will be days this winter when the weather will make us ask ourselves: Should I drive? Are the sidewalks too icy? Is the Center open? Why didn’t I go to Arizona for the winter!? For those cold and slippery days, the Center will follow the lead of School District 21. If D-21 is closed, the Center will be closed. And if there is a two hour delay, the Center’s morning classes will be cancelled.

You probably know there is Bingo every Thursday and Saturday nights at the Center starting at 6:00 pm, but did you know you can purchase snacks and a simple meal starting at 4:30. Besides candy, chips and hot dogs, every night there is a special. This Thursday Chef Johnny will be serving his Johnny Burgers and on Saturday the special is Chili Dogs.

For the Tuesday Night Music and Dance on December 8th, Martin and Friends will be performing. Music starts at 6:30, everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated.

Patsy Cline’s classic “Crazy” was written by the red headed stranger - Willie Nelson. (The winner of a free quilt raffle ticket is Jesse Birge who saw Willie Nelson perform in 2013 at one of the Maryhill Winery Summer Concerts.)

With the latest James Bond movie in the theaters, it reminded me of a television series in the 1960’s described as "an insane combination of James Bond and Mel Brooks comedy." For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this television series featuring special agents 86 and 99 working for CONTROL and fighting the evil international organization KAOS? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a shoe phone or the original Cone of Silence.

Well, it’s been another week trying to hit the nail on the head without smashing my thumb. Until we meet again, as author and photographer Dewitt Jones said, “Celebrate what is right in the world, so you can change what is wrong”.

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” John Ruskin

Aging Well in the Gorge November 24th 2015

As we rush around from here to there and back again, Thanksgiving is the time of the year to slow down, take a deep breath, and offer that simplest of prayers – “Thank-you”. A thank-you for the many blessings we receive – visible, but often out of focus, as we are distracted by our daily activities and the harsh noise of senseless acts of violence and inflammatory talk.

As we reflect during this season, what are you thankful for? A caring spouse, because you know friends who are living alone? Or if living alone, the ability to drive because you know many who cannot? Or if unable to drive, thankful for LINK or your friends who take you to where you want to go? Every day we are blessed in many meaningful ways.

For myself, as long as I can wake up each morning – and my feet touch the floor, the hot water is running and I hear the sweet sounds of my wife reminding me “Don’t forget to take out the trash!”, there is another day to give thanks.

The Wahtonka Community School is partnering with the Center to initiate an Oral History Project. The idea is for high school students to interview older adults about their experiences as they grew up – what may seem like to the students a long, long time ago. I’ve heard many stories at the Center about growing up during the depression, serving our country during WW II, or just stories of youthful mischief: knocking over outhouses on Halloween – which I am sure none of you have done. Fascinating stories that will be lost if not shared. The first interviews will be on Tuesday, December 8th between 12:45 and 2:00. If you are interested in helping these young students by sharing your stories, call the Center to sign up.

The Center is starting its 2016 membership drive - hoping to surpass last year’s very successful membership drive of over four hundred members. The membership dues are still $35.00 for an individual or $60 for a couple - or if you want to give a little more towards the operations of the Center, you can become a Super Duper Member for $50 per person. Memberships are a vital part of the annual operating budget for the Center – generating over $15,000 a year. You can mail your membership to 1112 W 9th Street, The Dalles, or you can stop by the Center. And for any youngsters out there, you can be a member at any age, although you have to be over fifty to vote at the Center’s annual meeting in July.

You don’t have to be Beverly Sills or Enrico Caruso to join the Center’s Young at Heart Serenaders, but you do need to enjoy singing and sharing the music with others.  Phyllis Farner, the Center’s music director, is looking for a few more voices to join the Serenaders who meet Thursdays at 10:30 and perform during the holidays at several of the local living facilities.

If you are a Facebook user, check out “Sunny The Dalles”: a place to post all the great reasons to live in The Dalles. It was created by Kathy Ursprung as a counterbalance to the complaints and controversies you often find on social media and in the news. But don’t ask me how to find the page on Facebook, since I am a Facebook novice. I am expecting all the regular Facebook users to know how.

For the Tuesday Night Music and Dance on December 1st, Andre, KC and Tom will be performing. And don’t forget during the winter months music starts at 6:30 and ends by 8:30. Everyone is welcome, whether you are a Duck fan, Beaver fan or a fan of one of those other northwest teams. And donations are always appreciated.

Minnie Pearl, whose catchphrase was "How-w-w-DEE-E-E-E!”’ was the female country comedian who always wore a hat with the price tag still attached. (The winner of a free quilt raffle ticket is Ron Holliday.)

Patsy Cline was one of the most influential and successful singers in country music. We all know her signature song, “Crazy”, but for this week’s “Remember When” question, who wrote the song? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of the red headed stranger.

Well, it’s been another week trying keep the bird in my hand and out of my hair. Until we meet again, enjoy good company and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”  Linda Grayson

Aging Well in the Gorge November 17th 2015

The Dalles is a wonderful community with so many folks working to make it even better - demonstrated by the support the Center has received for the UpLifitng Elevator Campaign. But that is just one of many capital construction projects the community has supported through local giving. The Wonderworks Children’s Museum last year finally owns their building, and The Dalles/Wasco County Library is moving towards construction of the John and Jean Thomas Children’s Wing. Also the Civic Auditorium Historic Preservation Board is still working hard to restore the 900-1000 seat theater. And just recently, Joe Martin announced a donation of land to give new life to his 15 year vision of building a Youth Center.
I believe the community has the capacity to complete these remaining capital construction projects - making our community even stronger for our youth, families and older adults. Admittedly, it will take more hard work and hundreds of small $25 - $100 donations, but also larger gifts such as the anonymous $50,000 to the Uplifting Elevator Campaign and the $100,000 matching donation that kicked off the library’s expansion project. With the passion and commitment behind these projects, and the community’s generosity - particularly of older adults, I know they will be completed.

There is good news to report about the UpLifting Elevator Campaign. From this most recent mailing, the Center has received over $8,000 in individual donations which brings the total of local dollars raised from individuals and business to just shy of $130,000.

We have also been fortunate to receive several large foundation grants: a Ford Family Foundation grant of $115,000, a Collins Foundation grant of $20,000 and just last week we heard the Center will receive $15,000 from the Oregon Community Foundation.

In addition we have been designated to receive several local grants: $10,000 from the PUD, $5,000 from the MCMC Health Foundation, and a Rural Community grant $1500 from Northwest Farm Credit Services.

Because of your generous donations, the Center has raised $295,000 towards the estimated $380,000 cost. It has taken many years, but we are getting so close, I can almost hear the elevator coming up the shaft.  

If you haven’t given, I hope you will consider making a donation before the end of the year. There are many worthwhile projects in the community. It is time to complete the Uplifting Elevator Campaign and check it off the list.

With everything so perfectly manufactured by high tech programmable machines, it is refreshing to purchase something handmade – and sometimes with a few mistakes to prove it. You will get a chance to purchase that perfect gift Saturday November 21st at the Holiday Bazaars at St. Mary’s from 9:00 – 4:00 and at the Center from 9:00 – 3:00.

If you are trying to navigate your way through the landmines of computers and tablets, there is help. Besides the Center’s drop in class every Wednesday at 9:00, The Dalles – Wasco County Library offers drop-in tech help on Mondays and Saturdays at 10:30; plus you can make an appointment with a Tech Tutor by calling 541-296-2815. The library also offers several classes this month: beginning email class on Friday November 20th and Social Media on Wednesday November 25th at 1:30 PM.

For the Tuesday Night Music and Dance on November 24th, Country Roads will be performing. But during the winter months of December and January music will be starting at 6:30 and over by 8:30, so you can be in bed by 9:00 for you early risers. Everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated.

The leader of the Chinese Nationalists when they were forced by the Chinese Communist to retreat to Taiwan was Chiang Kai-shek. (The winner of a free quilt raffle ticket is the student of history, Joann Scott.)

Last week, along with a bag of clothes, a woman’s hat with the price tag still attached was donated to the Nu-2-U Shop. And if you are thinking what I am thinking, you already know this week’s “Remember When” Question. What female country comedian appeared on the Grand Ole Opry for more than 50 years and whose hat is on display in the National Museum of American History. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with the directions to Grinder’s Switch, Tennessee.

Well, it’s been another week trying to walk on the bright side. Until we meet again, remember it’s easier to ride the horse in the direction it’s going.

“I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're goin', and hook up with them later.” Mitch Hedberg

Aging Well in the Gorge November 10th 2015

As we grow older we often lose the ability to do things we took for granted when we were younger. I can no longer work all day in the yard – two hours is long enough; or drive cross country sixteen hours straight– I can’t last more than two hours without stopping and it’s not just to stretch my legs; or remembering where I parked the car – wait, that I never could do!

But it’s real slap in the face when you realize what you can no longer do. And when it happens, the often accompanying feelings of grief or even anger, may blind us to what we can still do.

Focusing on what one can do is illustrated by this poem, written by Dan Lonigro, who is an instructor for CPI which offers training in behavior management & dementia care. Dan wrote it from the perspective of a person with dementia and it is a touching reminder of the importance of seeing and believing in what a person can do and not defining a person by what they can’t.

Six Things to Know about Someone with Dementia

I don't garden anymore, but I can still smell the flowers. Bring me some roses. This will remind me of my past.
I can't talk the way I used to, but I can still communicate. Be patient as I try. This will help me feel connected.
I don't have the judgment I used to, but I can still make decisions. Give me choices. This will make me feel like I’m a part of things.
I can't take a bath by myself anymore, but I can still wash my face. Assist me with direction. This will help me feel purpose.
I can't dance anymore, but I can still sing. Help me enjoy music. This will enrich my life.
I can't walk unassisted anymore, but I can still move my body. Walk with me, and support me if I stumble. This will help me feel engaged.
You are my lifeline. I depend on you. But please don’t do for me what I can do for myself. Recognize what I can do and help me to function as a person.
You are key to the quality of my life.

I don’t want Pat Lucas after me as she was last week when I gave the wrong location for the Community Potluck on Veteran’s Day. So to make sure we have it all straight, the Community Potluck following the Veteran’s Day Parade will be held at the Oregon Veteran’s Home. Did I do better this time, Pat?

And for those of you who have short memories, don’t forget the other events on Veteran’s Day: Community Veterans Thank You Breakfast at the Civic from 7 – 10 AM (free for Veteran’s/$5 for civilians); the Veteran’s Day Parade at 11:00, and a fireworks display at 6:00. It’s going to be quite a day.

There will be a Flea Market organized by Meals-on-Wheels from 9:00 – 2:00 at the Center on Saturday, November 14th. There will be household items, antiques, old dolls, tools and much more – as well as soup and sandwiches for sale. Come by and check it out.

Because the AARP Smart Driver Class is upstairs (there is still room to signup) and the Zumba Gold class is downstairs (a fun way to stay fit), there will not be a Tuesday Lecture on November 17th.

For the Tuesday Night Music and Dance on November 17th, the Simcoe Boys will be playing their special brand of country. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

For us old timers who remember baseball in the 50’s and 60’s, there will be only one great knuckleball pitcher and that is Hoyt Wilhelm. (The winner of a free quilt raffle ticket is the trivia whiz-kid, Jim Heitkemper.)

This week’s “Remember When” question is related to the recent historic meeting between the leaders of China and Taiwan - their first in more than 60 years. Back in 1949, who was the leader of the Chinese Nationalists when the Chinese Communist forced them to retreat to Taiwan? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with maps of the islands Quemoy and Matsu.

Well, it’s been yet another week trying to keep my nose above water. Until we meet again, there’s nothing wrong with chasing a rainbow now and then.

“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” Lucille Ball

Aging Well in the Gorge November 3rd 2015

Whoa. Someone hold the hands on the clock! Time is moving way too fast. Halloween is over and now it’s November - the month when we scramble to get everything done before all the December Christmas activities. And then before we notice, we’ll be back cutting grass and wearing shorts. No one wonder I always feel tired.
But until then, here are a few of this month’s events starting with the Veteran’s Day activities.

The Mid-Columbia Veterans “Stand Down” will be held on Saturday, November 7th from 11:00 – 2:30 at the Civic Auditorium to honor our veterans and their families, as well as offering information about available services. Coffee and lunch will be provided. For more information call 541-296-5435 ext. 225.

On Tuesday, November 10th, The Dalles Middle School invites the community to their 10:00 assembly to pay tribute to local veterans - followed by a free lunch for the veterans. The Middle School is also looking for military items such as medals, old uniforms, or photos anyone would like to share. For more information contact Larry Fairclo at 541-506-3449 ext. 4126.

And Pat Lucas would be after me if I didn’t mention the annual Veteran’s Day Parade starting at 11:00 AM at 6th and Webber. Following the parade will be a community potluck lunch at Fort Dalles Readiness Center (new Armory at 402 E. Scenic Dr.). Bring either a hot dish, a large salad or dessert. Place servings and drinks will be furnished.
Also on the 11th, Meals-on-Wheels will be open to honor our local veterans during their noon dinner. And to give their dedicated staff a day off, Meals-on-Wheels will be closed on Monday November 9th.

And before the snow falls, the Center is scheduling two more trips in November– if there is enough interest.

The first trip is November 18th to visit the Portland Art Museum and their special exhibit Seeing Nature. This exhibit includes thirty nine landscape Masterpieces from the Paul Allen collection including works by Monet, C├ęzanne, and O’Keefe. The cost is $10 for transportation and $17 for admission.

The second trip is to attend the 11:00 matinee performance of the Singing Christmas Tree in Portland on Saturday December 5th. This seasonal favorite costs $65 which includes transportation. If you are interested in either trip, call the Center at 541-296-4788.

Because of cancellations, there are still four tickets available for the overnight trip to Lincoln City to see the show Vicki Lawrence and Mama at the Chinook Winds on November 21st. That trip is $70 for the show and transportation, but you will need to reserve your own hotel room. Call the Center for more details.

And the holiday season can’t be complete without the bazaars. The Center will be hosting a Holiday Bazaar on November 21st from 9:00 – 3:00. The date may sound familiar because it is the same day as the 37th Annual Holiday Bazaar at St. Mary’s - the granddaddy of bazaars. Stop by and visit both holiday bazaars as you start your early Christmas shopping.

How would you have liked the chance to spend a year of high school in another country half way around the globe? Through the Rotary Youth Exchange Program, The Dalles High School student Max McClennan had that chance spending a year in Denmark – a country which happens be in the political discussion these days. On Tuesday, November 10th at 11:00 at the Center, you are invited to hear Max share his stories about living in Denmark.

For the Tuesday Night Music and Dance on November 10th, Martin and Friends will be playing their special blend of Country Western. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the U.S. Secretary of Defense was Robert McNamara - a Ford Motor Company “Whiz Kid” recruited by President Kennedy.

The Baseball World Series may be over, but this week’s “Remember When” question is for the baseball fans who were glued to the TV watching the series. Who was the first relief pitcher elected to the baseball Hall of Fame, pitched professionally until he was 50, and was considered by many the best knuckleball pitcher ever? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a team picture of the 1954 New York Giants.

Well, it’s been another week trying remember to look before I speak. Until we meet again, there is a reason we have two ears and one mouth.

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” Douglas Adams

Aging Well in the Gorge October 27th 2015

Fear. How many of our decisions are driven by this unpleasant emotion that often controls our lives? Afraid of seeing the doctor about a persistent cough, fearing the worse. Afraid of expressing what we really want to our adult children, because it may hurt their feelings. Afraid of starting a new activity because we might look silly or inept. Afraid of making an emotional commitment because it might not be shared - or last. And afraid of the unknown when an overzealous imagination conjures up only the worse that could happen.

 What are you afraid of? What are those often unconscious fears that keep you from doing what you really want to do? To make the most of each day?

 Our lives are full of fears. But it is important to distinguish between those things we are afraid of from those things that are really dangerous. I may ride my bicycle along the Riverfront Trail, but I don’t think I will try a “backside heelflip” on a skateboard. And I will still use a step stool, but you won’t see me climbing thirty foot ladders any more. We are old enough to know where the line is between being fearless and just plain stupid. (Now let me point out that wearing a bright pair of lime green pants is not fearless or stupid – it is just showing really bad taste!)

 Know the true risks. But don’t make your fear of what could happen make nothing happen. Because of ours fears we miss meeting new friends, starting new hobbies or experiencing new adventures we never even imagined! Fear is a choice.

It takes tenacity and courage to move beyond our fears, to distinguish between the real dangers and the imagined, and to live our lives to their fullest, and although it may be a passenger, not let fear take control of the steering wheel.

 As it often happens, I forgot to thank several folks for their contributions to the Center. If you have recently visited the computer lab downstairs at the Center for Medicare counseling or foot care, you will have noticed new flooring, painted walls, curtains and desks. A BIG thanks to Judy Merrill for organizing the effort that included Oliver’s Floor Covering, Frank LaRoque and his team plus many of Judy’s own friends. I also forgot to thank the Sunshine Mill for generously donating the wine for the Baby Back Rib Dinner. And lastly, thanks to Lisa Farquharson and the fine Chamber staff for giving the Center the opportunity to promote the Uplifting Elevator Campaign by hosting the Chamber’s Business-After-Hours.

The Friends of the Library and the Center are hosting a Book Sale by the Bag at the Center on November 7th from 9:00 – Noon. Starting at 9:00 the books are $3 a bag, then $2 a bad after 10:00, and $1 a Bag after 11:00. Come early for the best selection.

It’s time to mix up the Tuesday Night Music and Dance announcement to challenge your neurons and synapses in that organ between your ears. And I’ll try to keep it simple - or at least relatively simple. .detaicerppa syawla era snoitanod dna ,neerg ro yerg si riah ruoy rehtehw emoclew si enoyrevE .00:7 ta strats cisum dna 00:6 ta nepo srood ehT .”god eht gniklaw“ elihw gnignis eb lliw moT dna .C.K ,erdnA ,dr3 rebmevoN no retneC eht ta ecnaD dna cisuM thgiN yadseuT roF

The 1960 - 1964 CBS television drama that followed Tod Stiles and Buz Murdoch as they traveled the back roads of America in a 1961 Corvette was Route 66. (From all the many entries, the winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Mike Knopf.) I remember wondering why my family was stockpiling food in the garage in October of 1962. I later found out it was because of the Cuban Missile Crisis when the United States and Russia almost went to nuclear war over the Soviet ballistic missiles deployed in Cuba. We know Kennedy was President and Khrushchev was his Russian adversary, but for this week’s “Remember When” question who was the U.S. Secretary of Defense at the time? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with the documentary Fog of War.

 Well, it’s been another week hoping for inspiration to fly by and leave something behind. Until we meet again, don’t forget you have to have lemons to make lemonade.

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do.” Henry Ford

Aging Well in the Gorge October 20th 2015

You may have received the Center’s request for financial help to finish the Center’s UpLifting Elevator Campaign. And with the request, I thought it might be a good time to provide an update as to where the Center is on the project.   

The good news is we are two thirds of the way to reaching the goal of $380,000. Thanks to the hundreds of local donations from individuals and businesses (including a generous anonymous donation of $50,000), the Center has in the bank $121,000. And with the $115,000 grant from The Ford Family Foundation, a $10,000 PUD grant, and a $5,000 MCMC Foundation Grant, a total of $251,000 has been raised - which is impressive. We have also applied for two smaller grants, and will hear if they are successful in November.

But there is still a gap to be filled. Over the last three years with the improving economy and inflation the cost of installing an elevator has grown to our best guess of $380,000 - which leaves a gap of $129,000. And before the cost increases any further, we would like to wrap this campaign up for good by the end of the year.

Every contribution helps - none is too small or too large. We appreciate all you have given in the past which has made it possible to secure the grants we have received so far. But if you can dig down in your pockets a little further for the first, second or third time, we can bring this project to completion.

But why is the elevator important? Over the last several years, the downstairs has been improved, thanks to many volunteers, and the use has increased significantly. Downstairs you’ll find the Quilters on Monday; Tai Chi and Foot Care on Tuesdays; Yoga, Zumba Gold, Table Tennis and Strong Women on Tuesdays and Thursdays; SHIBA (Medicare Counseling) on Wednesdays; and the Easy Writers on Friday. Plus the Center’s popular Medical Equipment Loan Closet is downstairs as well as AARP Tax Aide from February through April. And with easy and safe access to the downstairs, there are even more possibilities.

The elevator will be located near the northwest corner of the Center where the Nu-2-U Shop is currently located and drop down to the small foyer downstairs next to the door at the bottom of the exterior steps. This will require little change downstairs, but upstairs the Nu-2-U Shop, lounge and the reception area will be reconfigured. And for the cold, blustery winter days, the walkway in front of the building and the exterior stairs will be enclosed, so folks won’t have to deal with icy, snowy steps when walking downstairs.

But take a minute to imagine if you used a cane or crutches; or a walker or wheelchair, how difficult it would be to access the downstairs activities. And unless you are one of the lucky ones, you will probably need to use one of those devices - at least temporarily.

There is a reason why most multiple story buildings have an elevator - whether it’s the Courthouse or Fred Meyer. Isn’t it about time the Center also has an elevator so everyone can have the opportunity to enjoy all that the Center has to offer?

Don’t forget Nehemiah Brown will be at the Center this Friday the 23rd from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. Besides having a beautiful voice, he is also a great entertainer. The cost is still only $3.00 per person thanks to our sponsor: The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center.

For Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center on October 27th, Our Way will be performing. The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, all ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.

Although Charles Atlas might have been my first guess, Jack LaLanne was the American fitness, exercise, and nutritional expert, who had his own television show from 1953 – 1985. (And the winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Esther Nygaard.)

Did you ever have the dream of finding adventure traveling across the back roads of America in a 1961 corvette convertible? That was the basic plot of what television series starring Martin Milner and George Maharis that aired from 1960 through 1964 on Friday nights? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a map of the Will Rogers Memorial Highway.

Well, it’s been another week trying to act my age - once I figure what that age is. Until we meet again, sometimes you just have to fake it til you make it.

Aging Well in the Gorge October 13th 2015

If you are the curious sort, at the Center at 11:00 on every Tuesday except the third, you can attend the Center’s Tuesday Lecture. And even though you may think you have been around the block a few times, I guarantee you will learn something new. For example, last Tuesday, Rite-Aid pharmacist Chryll Cromier discussed vaccines for older adults particularly stressing the importance of an annual flu shot since the vast majority of people who die from the flu are older adults. 

But did you know each year the flu vaccine is formulated to guard against the three or four most common flu strains. Or did you know you can’t catch the flu from the vaccine. Flu shots are made with dead viruses or without any viruses at all. But there may be some soreness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given and low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches may also occur. 

Or how about the fact that antibacterial soaps may kill or inhibit many germs, but won’t protect you from the flu any more than plain old soap and water will. And if you unfortunately catch the flu, antibiotics won’t help. But antiviral drugs like Tamiflu and Relenza can fight the flu virus and make you feel better faster. They work best when taken within two days of getting sick, so if you exhibit flu symptoms make sure you call your doctor as soon as possible. 

And by getting a flu shot, did you know you will also be doing your part in preventing the spread of flu and the accompanying discomfort and misery for your neighbors, friends and grandchildren. 

If you haven’t received your flu shot you can get one this Thursday, October 15th from noon till 4:00 at the Community Health Fair at The Springs at Mill Creek. And from noon to 6:00 there will be vendors, educational exhibits and refreshment; and a line-up of excellent speakers from MCMC covering the following topics: “Don’t Make Me Laugh — Incontinence and What You Can Do About It”; “Mindful Meditation and How to Relax”; “Total Joint Replacements”; “Skin Care As We Age and Skin Cancer Prevention”; “Improving Memory”; and “Fall and Fall Prevention”. Call the Springs at 541-298-1303 for more information. 

I often mention the exercise and movement classes at the Center but there are many other opportunities in the area including Water’s Edge, Curves and The Dalles Fitness and Court Club (TDFCC). This month, TDFCC is offering several specials including free Guest Passes to try out one of their morning Aqua Aerobics classes including their Silver Splash (Arthritis Foundation Class). You can pick up a free Guest Pass at the Center. For more information call TDFCC at 541-298-8508. 

Because of the AARP Smart Driver Class upstairs (you can still call the Center to sign up), and the Zumba Gold Class downstairs (just drop in if you want to find out how exercising can be fun) there will not be a Tuesday Lecture on the 20th. 

It has been a while since Nehemiah Brown performed at the Center. But you’ll be able to hear his beautiful, silky smooth voice on Friday, October 23rd from 7:00 – 9:00. He covers all types of music from pop and blues to country and gospel. The cost is still only $3.00 per person thanks to our sponsor The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center - an employee owned skilled nursing and long term care facility. 

For Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center on October 20th, Simcoe Boys will be performing. The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, all ages are welcome and donations are appreciated. The swimmer who won five Olympic Gold Medals, and set more than fifty world records during the 1920’s, and starred in six Tarzan movies in the 1940’s was Johnny Weissmuller. (And the winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Jim Ayers.) 

This week’s “Remember When” question is about a bodybuilder who some consider the “"first fitness superhero”. Who was an American fitness, exercise, and nutritional expert, who opened one of the nation’s first fitness gyms in 1936, and had his own television show from 1953 – 1985? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a Glamour Stretcher and a “Juice Tiger” juicer. 

Well, it’s been another week trying to keep all my marbles in the air. Until we meet again, sometimes good enough is all you need. 

"Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, then it's not the end.” From the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Aging Well in the Gorge October 6th 2015

We all age differently, some of us better than others, but we all grow older. It is one of the certainties of life - and only in science fiction is it otherwise.

 But the changes that take place can affect many of our everyday activities - especially our ability to drive. In America, and particularly in rural America, the automobile is considered essential. Even though there are alternatives such as LINK, without the ability and means to drive, we are limited in what we can do: going to the grocery store, attending church, dances and fundraisers. But by knowing how the normal aging process affects our ability to drive, we can learn to adapt and be better prepared so we can continue to drive and enjoy the independence driving provides.

You can learn more by attending the recently revised AARP Smart Driver class taught by Dick Frost. The next six hour AARP Smart Driver Class will be held at the Center from 8:45 AM - 12:05 PM on both Monday, October 19th and Tuesday, October 20th. (The class is offered every month on the third Monday and Tuesday.) For the $20.00 investment, or $15.00 for AARP members, you will learn how aging affects your driving abilities, as well as the recent changes in the Oregon state driving laws. You will need to bring your driver’s license, a check made out to AARP, and for AARP members, your membership number.

 After completing this class, you will be better prepared to manage today's fast paced driving environment; and if that is not reason enough, you may be eligible for an automobile insurance discount. You can sign up at the Center or call (541) 296-4788. Dick looks forward to seeing you there!!

Thanks to the over three hundred folks who attended the BBR Dinner to support The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels and the Center. It was a rousing success! And there are many folks to thank for making it all possible. Once gain a very big thanks to The Springs at Mill Creek who generously sponsored the event so ALL the proceeds from the evening can be used for the operation of Meals-on-Wheels and the Center. Thanks to local bluegrass band Hardshell Harmony for providing the perfect music for a wonderful evening. (And on October 16th they will be playing before the Meals-on-Wheels dinner starting at 11:15.) And thanks to the many donors for the silent auction and raffle, all the wonderful volunteers - a special shout out to Denise Patton, Meals-on-Wheels director, who lead the charge preparing the Baby Back Ribs, and Ashley Lauterbach and Ron Sutherland who organized the effort.

Okay, this is my second mistake in two weeks. I was gently reminded that the hour long Line and Clogging Class, ably lead by Jacquie Hashizume, is back up and running, or should I say clogging, starting at 10:30 - not the other time I have often mentioned.

The topic for the Tuesday Lecture on October 13th will be “Using Technology to Maintain and Improve your Health and Fitness”. I will try to keep it simple while discussing how a growing number of older adults are using Fitbits to encourage themselves to keep moving, Skype and Google Hangout to stay socially connected, and Smartphone apps to monitor their heart rate, and more.

For Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center on October 13th, Martin and Friends will be performing. The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, all ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.

The baseball player who hit the 9th inning home room known as the “Shot Heard ‘Round The World” that sent the New York Giants to the 1951 World Series (where they were defeated by the New York Yankees) was Bobby Thomson. (And the winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Don McAllister.)

For this week’s “Remember When” question I’m sticking with sports but with a Hollywood twist. What swimmer won five Olympic Gold Medals, fifty-two U.S. National Championships, and set more than fifty world records during the 1920’s, but is more famously known for starring in six Tarzan movies in the 1940’s? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail a picture of him with another former competitive swimmer turned actor - Esther Williams.

Well, it’s been another week of cool mornings and warm afternoons. Until we meet again, when something goes wrong it’s always a nice to realize at least this time, it wasn’t me!

“A drunk driver is very dangerous. So is a drunk backseat driver if he's persuasive.” Demetri Martin

Aging Well in the Gorge September 29th 2015

Medicare Open Enrollment starts October 15th and you have until December 7th to make changes to your Medicare Advantage, Medigap or prescription drug plans. You should be receiving or already have received your Annual Notice of Change regarding your plans. Review the changes carefully, particularly changes in cost, physician network and any changes in the prescriptions covered by your insurance company.

Even if you are satisfied with your current plan, you still may want to look around to see if there is a better deal. I know many folks have avoided the hassle of comparing plans over the past several years and just opted to automatically renew their current plans.

Choosing the type of health insurance coverage is confusing. Before I was covered by Medicare, I relied upon the judgment of my employer or an insurance agent in choosing a plan. I was insulated from all the complexity of choosing health insurance coverage. 

But now it’s our responsibility to wade through the information and compare plans to make the best choice. But there is help. There are private insurance brokers who specialize in Medicare. You can go online to which has valuable information including the Plan Finder option or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

You can also visit the Oregon SHIBA (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) website. If you rather talk to someone face to face, you can call the Center and make an appointment with a SHIBA volunteer who will help guide you through the process.

And if you want to better understand the ins and outs of Medicare Part A, B, C, and D; Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans; and all the timelines and deadlines, you are invited to attend a Medicare 101 class on Tuesday, October 6th from 1:00 – 4:00 PM at the CGCC in room 301. Reserve your spot by calling 541-308-8211 or register online at

I finally replaced the quilt, won by Sherry Dufault, which was  hanging in the Center’s lobby, with a new quilt that will be raffled off in December. Besides hand stitching beautiful quilts to raffle, the Center quilters also repair quilts for a very reasonable price. If interested call the center or you can find them downstairs every Monday from 10:00 to 3:00 - and they always have room for new members.

The start of the annual flu season is unpredictable - starting as early as October and extending even into May. But the CDC recommends that you get your flu shot by October. Rite-Aid will be conducting a Flu Shot Clinic at the Center on Wednesday October 7th from 10:30 – 1:30. And to shorten the wait, this year we are asking you to sign up ahead of time by calling the Center.

In conjunction with the Flu Shot Clinic, the Center’s 11:00 Tuesday lecture on October 6th will feature Chryll Cromier, local Rite Aid pharmacist. She will be discussing the pharmacist’s expanding role in maintaining your health plus answer questions about different vaccines from Shingles to Flu shots.

The Zumba Gold class led by Marsha Morrison is held every Tuesday and Thursday mornings downstairs at the Center, but the time has changed. It is now starting 15 minutes earlier from 10:45 to 11:30. The cost is $3.00 for every session.

Last reminder. The Baby Back Rib dinner supporting Meals-on-Wheels and the Center is Friday night from 4:30 – 7:00. For only $15, there will be great food, music and a silent auction - generously sponsored by The Springs at Mill Creek.

For Tuesday Night Music at the Center on October 6th, Andre, KC and Tom will be playing. The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, all ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.

The American author and nutritionist who became the most recognized nutritionist in the 1960s and 1970’s was Adelle Davis. (And the winner of a quilt raffle ticket and who owned several of Davis’s books in the 70’s is Dottie Layer.)

In August of 1951, the NY Giants were 12 ½ games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers. But by winning 37 of their last 44 games, they caught their cross town rivals, to force a three game playoff. In the third game, trailing 4 – 1 in the 9th inning, who hit the winning homerun known in baseball lore as the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of the "The Staten Island Scot".

Well, it’s been another week, shoes strings tied and raring to go. Until we meet again, don’t let fear take hold of the steering wheel.

Aging Well in the Gorge September 22nd 2015

As I get older, it’s hard not think about death and dying: friends pass away and my body, like my ’87 Ford pickup, continuosly reminds me it won’t last forever. But talking about death and dying can be a healthy experience and contrary to what many people think, it won’t kill you.

(On September 30 at 7:00 PM at the library in The Dalles you can participate in the one-time event: Talking about Dying - a ninety minute conversation with other participants, sharing stories and thoughts on the subject of death and dying. This program, facilitated by professionals, is a statewide initiative by Oregon Humanities.)

But obsessing about death is not healthy and can lead to suicidal thoughts and suicide.
Suicide is a particular concern for older adults because they may experience many of the risk factors: isolation, physical ailments, lack of purpose. But understanding suicide is for all ages. It can help you, as a parent, grandparent or friend, to know the signs and how to respond.

Some signs that a person is possibly considering suicide are a refusal to participate in activities they once enjoyed; engaging in risky activities; withdrawing from society. Or making statements such as “You won’t have to worry about me much longer.” “I can’t take this any longer.” “I’m no good to anyone anymore.”

With something so personal, how you respond depends on the relationship you have with the person. But if you feel comfortable discussing with them about how they feel, here are some suggestions – if they are not in immediate danger. (If you feel they are call 911 at once.)

Don’t try to avoid the subject or minimize it by saying, “Oh, don’t talk like that.” “Look on the bright side.” “Now don’t talk such foolishness.” “You’re doing just fine.”

But show interest and support. Be direct - talk openly and freely about suicide. Ask questions that allow them to talk openly about their feelings such as “How are you doing? Do you feel like talking about how you feel?  How long have you felt this way? Are you thinking about doing something to harm yourself?  What are you planning to do? Be willing to listen and be non-judgmental. Don’t debate or lecture on the value of life.

Suicide is too important to deal with by yourself. Involve trusted friends or family members or a professional with experience with emotional and mental health issues. For additional guidance and support call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk with a professional.

You can learn more about this important, but often ignored subject, by attending the Center’s Tuesday Lecture on July 29th at 11:00 when Susan Gabay, a local Suicide Prevention advocate, will be speaking.

It is hard to believe that October is less than two weeks away – but then it seems like the ‘60s were only yesterday. And to start the month off right, I want to invite you to enjoy some delicious Baby Back ribs; music by my favorite bluegrass band, Hardshell Harmony, plus a silent auction at the annual Baby Back Rib Dinner on Friday, October 2nd. Food will be served at the Center from 4:30 PM to 7:00 PM and the cost is still an affordable $15. Thanks to a generous sponsorship by The Springs at Mill Creek are proceeds will support the Center and Meals-on-Wheels. You can purchase tickets at the Center, Klindt’s or at the door.

For Tuesday Night Music at the Center on September 29th the newly formed local band Country Roads will be playing. The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00. All ages are welcome - whether you are new, old or in-between. And donations are always appreciated.

I had many responses to what I wasn’t supposed to wear after Labor Day. The answer is “white” and in my case white buck shoes - which I can’t imagine ever wearing again – before or after Labor Day. (The winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Joan Brace.)

For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the American author and nutritionist who became the most recognized nutritionist in the 1960s and 1970’s as an early advocate for specific nutritional views such as unprocessed food and vitamin supplementation even though she was heavily criticized by her peers? Email your answers to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a copy of Let's Eat Right to Keep Fit.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to keep the train running and on time. Until we meet again, stay in touch with your family and friends - and yourself. 


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