Aging in the Gorge December 18th 2019

Was it in the 60’s that there was a media frenzy about the “Generation Gap”? And were you one of the boomers who challenged their parents and their generation because they were out of touch, espoused different values, and were too slow responding to crises of the times: the Vietnam war and civil rights? And do you remember the phrase popularized by Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin that summarized that time, “Don’t trust anyone over 30”?

Wow, how times have changed. Now we know how our parents felt because today the boomers are being ridiculed with the catchphrase “OK Boomer” used by the Z generation. It mocks boomers for being out-of-touch, close-minded and too slow responding to many of our current crises: climate change and income inequality.

But we should be careful not to encourage this new “generation gap” because we have been there before - and it perpetuates stereotypes of both the young and old: older adults describing today’s younger generations as pampered, unable to work hard, and without meaningful person-to-person relationships because of their smartphones! And young adults characterizing boomers and older generations as unproductive, a drain on society and technologically inept (So I don’t know anything about Tik Tok! Is that a bad thing?)

We do know more about being young than the young know about being old, but it often seems that we have forgotten when young boomers were described as lazy, pot smoking, unpatriotic hippies. And that we did plenty of stupid things – which I am reminded of whenever I see an egg!

The generations do have different life experiences. With age we see the world with all its complexities, vulnerabilities, and challenges that we may not have appreciated when we were younger.

As a society we should appreciate the strengths of each generation. As the boomers have grown older, experiencing their own personal successes, failures and mistakes, they have become who they are - which isn’t all that bad. And so will the younger generations.

As the end of 2019 approaches, this is your last chance to donate to your favorite non-profits to lessen your tax burden while supporting important community organizations. So this year consider contributing to the Oregon Cultural Trust as well. If you make a donation to any of Oregon's arts, heritage and humanities non-profits including twenty-two in Wasco and Sherman Counties (listed at and make a matching gift to the Cultural Trust, you can then claim your contribution to the Cultural Trust as a tax credit. The Oregon Cultural Trust is an innovative public-private fundraising and grant making program that funds local coalitions including the Wasco County Cultural Trust Coalition that annually distributes $500 to $1000 grants to area schools and non-profits which in the past has included the Center.

The name of the singer who pioneered a weekly musical variety television show, but was particularly known for his Christmas television specials beginning on Christmas Eve 1948 was Perry Como affectionately known as Mr. C. I received correct answers from Laura Comini, Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, Jess Birge, Glenna McCargar, Cheri Brent and Izetta Grossman this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket. And once again I missed several folks last week: Virginia Johnson, Laura Comini, and Barbara Cadwell.

To prepare for Christmas day, the Center and Meals-on-Wheels will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The Center will also be closed on New Years Day to celebrate the new year but more importantly to watch University of Oregon play Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.

Another Christmas related question, but this one I believe you will find much more challenging. There are many classic children’s Christmas specials from the 60’s that were narrated by well-known actors. For this week’s “Remember When” question answer one of the following three questions correctly. Who was the narrator In Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (1964)? Who voiced the Grinch in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (1966)? And who narrates and sings the title song in Frosty the Snowman (1969)? You only have to answer one question correctly. Email it to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with the Vince Guaraldi jazz score for the first Peanuts special: A Charlie Brown Special (1965).

Well, it’s been another week, hoping for some “warm” 45 degree days. Until we meet again, as John Fredrick told me, you know you’re getting older when you walk down the high school halls and the students call you “sir”.

Commandment #14 for growing older - You thought growing old would take longer.

Aging Well in the Gorge December 11th 2019

There is a point in your life when you learn to accept the fact you will not live forever - no matter how well you eat, exercise and do all the right things. There will be an end. The question is how do you want to experience your end-of-life journey?

Last week Heart of Hospice spoke at the Center about “Demystifying Hospice” and there was much about hospice services I didn’t know, and you may not know either.

Did you know that hospice is about staying in your own home? Hospice can provide doctors, nurses, care managers, CNAs, social workers, bereavement coordinators and trained volunteer that come to YOU in your home.

Did you know you continue to call the shots? You aren’t forced to do anything. (Except the unavoidable paperwork necessary to qualify.) This is your journey. You are in control. 

Did you know hospice is not just about pain relief?  It is much more. It is enhancing your quality of life by taking the burdens off you and your family by facilitating medical visits, social interactions with friends and family and providing spiritual and emotional support - if desired.

Did you know that you don’t have to worry about who is going to pay? Necessary services are covered with little or no cost to you and paid by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance companies. Think - no co-pays.

Did you know who is eligible for hospice services? There is no exhaustive, black-and-white list of conditions which make a patient hospice-appropriate. Often a doctor can suggest hospice but there are many times when a family requests hospice support. But generally, in order to be eligible for hospice care under Medicare, an individual must be certified as being terminally ill by a physician, with a disease whose prognosis is six months or less if it runs its normal course. There is no limit to the length of time as long as the patient continues to qualify for hospice.

As I learned, hospice is much more about living well than of dying. And as contradictory as it may sound, while your condition may get worse, your life can get better. Learn more about hospice by contacting one of the local hospice providers: Heart of Hospice or Providence Hospice of the Gorge.

There comes a time when you realize, “I don’t need any more stuff!” Instead you want to get rid of possessions. Following that principle, the Center’s is beginning its primary fundraiser: a raffle not for something that may end up on a dusty shelf, but something you can consume in one sitting – or in this case twelve. The Center is offering you THREE chance to win a Meal-a-Month: a $25 gift certificate to twelve different local restaurants. The tickets are $10 each or three for $25.

You can purchase your tickets at the Center. And a perfect time is at the Center’s Holiday breakfast this Saturday, December 14th sponsored by the Center’s neighbor Cherry Heights Living. The breakfast of All-You-Can-Eat French Toast, scramble eggs and sausage, fruit and a beverage will be served from 8:00 – 9:30. The cost is $6.00 or $3.00 for children 12 and under.
The name for the children's toy consisting of small cylindrical wooden objects is Lincoln Logs. I received correct answers form Cheri Brent, Dale and Becky Roberts, Diana Weston, Beverly McKinney, Jerry Phillips, Jess Birge, Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, Virginia Mcclain, Jim Ayers, and Harold Stephens. (Lucile Stephens reminded me of the wooden construction set called Tinkertoys which I had all but forgotten!) And this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket is Cheri Brent. Last week I missed mentioning Barbara Cadwell and Cheri Brent; and for some unknown cosmic reason I forget to mention the quilt raffle ticket winner: Louise Wooderson.

Remember sitting around the television watching Christmas specials? For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of the singer affectionately known as Mr. C who pioneered a weekly musical variety television show, but was particularly known for his Christmas television specials beginning on Christmas Eve 1948? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a recording of his last Christmas special in 1994 filmed in Ireland.

Well, it’s been another week, thankful for this special season. Until we meet again, take your time during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

Commandment #6 for growing older – You’ll have days when your life is just one small tent away from a circus.

Aging Well in the Gorge December 4th 2019

November 19th Sesame Street celebrated it’s fiftieth year on PBS. For my preschool children, Sesame Street was their daily ritual - and one Christmas I even bought my son a three foot tall stuffed Big Bird. (I was also a fan of Big Bird!) But what does that have to do with aging?

I wouldn’t have had a clue until I read “5 Sesame Street Lessons We Need Again As Adults” by Bryce Kirchoff found on the Next Avenue website. So what are these five lessons that can also apply to us old-schoolers?

1. Put Down the Ducky if You Want to Play the Saxophone.
When Muppet Ernie wants to play the saxophone, he learns he must first put down his rubber ducky. If you want to try something new: attending a new exercise class, learning to play the ukulele or reconnecting with an old friend, you often must put down the things that hold you back such as your fears of embarrassment or rejection. 

2. A Sense of Adventure Never Gets Old.
Remember when you were young building forts, playing make believe? As an adult, a sense of adventure may be key to a more rewarding life whether it’s cooking a new meal or learning to ski. (I’ll pass – unless it’s warmer than 50 degrees.) You can be adventurous at any age.

3. Friends Matter.
As an adult, it turns out that friends may actually be lifesavers. Those friendships can encourage healthier behaviors, ward off depression, boost self-esteem and provide support when most needed. As shown on Sesame Street - friends make life better.

4. Celebrate Yourself.
Do you ever wish you could climb into a dryer for ten minutes and come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller?  We are often our own worst critic - losing confidence in ourselves to the point of self-paralysis. On Sesame Street children are good at celebrating themselves. Maybe this time we should follow their example.

5. When All Else Fails, Dance. Not everything will go as expected. With the good we can also get our fair share of the bad: an unexpected expense, a difficult diagnosis, or loss of a close friend. So, for the final lesson, sometimes you just have to put it all aside, turn up the music, and just dance, dance, dance.

The Center recently received several donated model plane kits with more coming. I remember gluing together the small plastic pieces of a ’57 Chevy and the smell of the model glue stuck to my fingers. I would like to start a model making club at the Center sometime in February after the winter weather passes. If you are a model enthusiast or just interested, call the Center or email me at

There may be snow on the ground, but this coming February would you like to learn more about plants and gardening? If so, consider becoming an OSU Master Gardener. No gardening experience is necessary, but rather the desire to learn and to garden. And a basic understanding of plants is also helpful. The 2020 Master Gardener training is on Wednesdays from 9:00 – 4:00 pm starting February 19th continuing through April 1st, but you need to register by December 12th. For more information contact Michelle Sager at 541-296-5494 or

The answer to last week’s question was “elbows”. I received correct answers from Jess and Kim Birge, Rhonda Spies, Michael Carrico, Louise Woodersen - and Lana Tepfer , Cathy Wilson and Karl Vercouteren who remember the old saying (which I never heard before) “Mabel, Mabel young and able. Get those elbows off the table”. And my apologies to Dale Roberts who called last week to enter the correct answer for his wife Becky.
What was your favorite Christmas toy: a Lionel toy train, Raggedy Ann doll, Radio Flyer wagon, or the Candy Land game?  For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name for the children's toy consisting of square-notched small cylindrical wooden objects used to build small forts and buildings? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of John Lloyd Wright, the second son of the well-known architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who invented this toy around 1916.

Commandment #10 for growing older, “#10 – “Lately, you've noticed people your age are so much older than you.”

Well, it’s been another week, trying to ask more questions - since I already know what I know. Until we meet again, keep your light burning bright during these overcast days of winter.

Aging Well in the Gorge November 27 2019

As we enter the holiday season, a time to be thankful for our bounty and to share it with others, there are many who find this time difficult because of memories of past holiday seasons, isolation, and loneliness triggering seasonal depression or the Holiday Blues. In fact, an estimated six million Americans over the age of 65 have reported feeling down during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. But there are ways you can help.

Last week when I was on the Coffeebreak with Karees Reilly, Director of Sales and Marketing for Flagstone Senior Living, she shared four tips from Milestone Retirement about how to help your older loved ones avoid the Holiday Blues – and can also be used for supporting our family and friends of all ages during the holidays.

1. Take time to smell the turkey. The holiday season can be a stressful, busy time: running around purchasing gifts, putting up the Christmas decorations, cooking that special meal. But try not to let your daily to-do list get in the way of spending time with older family members. Remember, something as simple as a fifteen-minute phone call can brighten someone’s day.

2. The more the merrier. The holidays take preparation. And there is plenty to do. Avoid the habit of trying to do everything by yourself. Instead, ask your parents, children or friends to assist you. It’s always more fun to do things together than alone.

3. Make someone else's holiday special. Try volunteering with your loved one. There are many holiday activities needing volunteers. For example, you could help clean up after the Community Thanksgiving Dinner organized by the Salvation Army. And there is the ELFF (Everyone Loves a Firefighter) canned food drive that needs folks to collect and sort the donated food items between 6:00 and 9:00 on December 3 – 5. To learn how to volunteer, call MCFR at 541-296-9445. 

4. Celebrate the present, but don’t forget the past. Many older adults suffering from the Holiday Blues are mourning the loss of loved ones and aren’t ready to make new holiday memories without them. You can pay special remembrance to family members who have passed away by looking at old photos, making their favorite foods, or going around the room and sharing your favorite memories about them. By acknowledging deceased family members, you remind your loved ones that although the people who played such crucial roles in their holiday memories are gone, they’re certainly not forgotten.

During this holiday season, life’s difficulties can take center stage. We all struggle with our own personal challenges, and yet if you take time, you’ll find much to be thankful for. I wish you the very best and a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Save the date. The Center invites you to its annual Holiday Breakfast from 8:00 – 9:30 on December 14th serving all-you-can-eat French Toast, sausage, and scrambled eggs, plus fruit, juice and coffee. $6.00 and $3.00 for children twelve and under.

The American ballroom dancer and businessman whose name is most often associated with the dance studio chain that bears his name is Arthur Murray. I received correct answers from Jeannie Pesicka, Cheri Brent, Lana Tepfer, Diana Weston, Carol Earl, Jim Ayers, Sherry Dufault, Rhonda Spies, Doreen Bryant and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Barbara Cadwell whose sister worked at an Arthur Murray studio in Calgary, Alberta right after she graduated from high school. But had to find another job when she married because at that time, they didn’t allow married women to teach. And last week I missed Virginia McClain Delores Schrader.

Remember the sayings describing good manners which aren’t always followed anymore? "Never brag about yourself", "Leave a place as you found it", and “Always put the toilet seat down” – sorry, that last one was one of my wife’s commandments!

Here is one I was told when growing up, but these days I often ignore, (and no it is not “Keep your mouth shut when chewing”). For this week’s “Remember When” question, what are you not supposed to put on the table when eating? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of a family dinner scene from Father Knows Best.

Well, it’s been another week, listening to the geese chatter as they fly south. Until we meet again, you know you are getting old when someone mentions a television rerun and you remember watching the show when it first aired.

“Give thanks not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day of your life. Appreciate and never take for granted all that you have.”  Catherine Pulsifer

Aging Well in the Gorge November 20th 2019

How often have you heard that you should start following a Mediterranean diet? But do you know what that really means? And if you do, how often do you follow it? I you’re like me, you may have found it hard to give up the pizza and ice cream.

But there are good reasons to follow a Mediterranean Diet. According to the websites Medline Plus (the U.S National Library of Medicine website which does not include annoying ads!) and the Mayo Clinic, the Mediterranean Diet is a heart-healthy eating plan that may lead to more stable blood sugar, lower cholesterol and triglycerides, and a lower risk for heart disease and other health problems.

So if you want to follow a Mediterranean Diet what should you eat?

You should serve plant-based meals with just small amounts of lean meat and chicken; more servings of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and legumes (You should aim for 7 to 10 servings a day of fruit and vegetables); foods that naturally contain high amounts of fiber such as grain bread, cereal and pasta; and plenty of fish and other seafood such as fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon, and trout which are healthy choices rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat that may reduce inflammation in the body and also help decrease triglycerides, reduce blood clotting, and decrease the risk of stroke and heart failure.

I addition when preparing your meals use olive oil as the main source of fat. Olive oil is a healthy, monounsaturated fat which has been found to lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol levels. Nuts and seeds also contain monounsaturated fat. And try spicing it up. Herbs and spices boost flavor and lessen the need for salt.

Now that you know what you should eat, what shouldn’t you eat or eat only in small amounts?

Limit your intake of red meat. If you eat meat, make sure it's lean and keep portions small. Throw allow the Halloween candy and avoid other sweets and desserts. Moderate amounts of dairy, poultry and eggs. (Eat low-fat Greek or plain yogurt and small amounts of a variety of cheeses.) Avoid butter - and instead of putting butter or margarine on bread, try dipping it in flavored olive oil.

If you aren’t following a Mediterranean diet, try it. Many people who switch to this style of eating say they'll never eat any other way – although I’ll still have to have my occasional bowl of ice cream!

I recently heard from Rod Runyon that the Columbia Gorge Veterans Museum on second street needs volunteers and board members – and you don’t have to be a veteran to volunteer. Show your appreciation to our veterans by volunteering. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 1:00 to 5:00.

Last week when I mentioned the St. Peter’s and the Center’s Holiday Bazaars on the 23rd; and the Mosier Holiday Fair on November 30th and December 1s (that’s a gentle reminder), I forgot to include Habitat for Humanity’s Annual Christmas Bazaar from 10 to 2 on Saturday December 7th at UCC on 5th and Court. Besides hosting a variety of vendors, there will be serving their popular luncheon that includes your choice of soup and pie. It all goes to support the good work of the Columbia Gorge Habitat for Humanity – building homes and community.

The expression seldom heard anymore is “Knee high to a grasshopper” but as Lana Tepfer points out, that’s still higher than a “snake’s belly”. I received correct answers from Becky Roberts, Laura Comini, Sandy Haechrel, Sam Bilyeu, Louise Wooderson, Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, Cheri Brent, Kim Birge, Darlene Marrick, Jeannie Pesicka and Alice Penman this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Switching to the subject of dance, for this week’s “Remember When” who was the American ballroom dancer and businessman whose name is most often associated with the dance studio chain that bears his name and in 2019 celebrated more than 100 years of teaching dance across the globe? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 mail it with a DVD of the film Top Hat - the 1935 American screwball musical comedy starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Well, it’s been another week, weaving and bobbing when trouble heads my way. Until we meet again, keep your spirits up and the barking dogs down.

Commandment #12 for growing older, “When you were a child, you thought nap time was punishment.  Now it feels like a mini vacation."

Aging Well in the Gorge November 13th 2019

Last week the Center with the support of the Jessie F. Richardson Foundation celebrated the “Wasco County Ageless Awards” recognizing the contributions of older adults over seventy five and their importance in our communities. The four deserving honorees were: Lucille Petersen, Bill Hamilton, Prudence Amick and Terry Stoddard. But I’m sure you know of others who are respected and admired for their contributions whether large or small. They don’t give their time for the recognition, but why not tell them thank-you when you see them next.

It is important to honor individuals over seventy-five because it highlights the value of older adults in our youth oriented society. From conversations I’ve had at the Center, I’ve learned many folks feel they are treated as if they are invisible: ideas ignored, opinions dismissed and skills unappreciated. The attention they do receive may be well intentioned and often appreciated, but can be patronizing, “Let me take those groceries out for you.” By many, older adults are viewed as a burden and not the asset they are or can be.

Sometimes we buy into that belief ourselves becoming less confident and engaged and feeling there isn’t anything we can do. But as Lucille Petersen told me, even with her diminished eyesight she will continue to help in any way she can because “I’m old but I’m not dead!”.

Thank goodness because today it is harder to find individuals to volunteer. People are working longer, traveling more and enjoying their own personal pursuits. And at the same time, many services once funded by the government have been transferred to non-profits - knowing they will need to raise more money and attract more volunteers to operate.

The need is greater than ever, and it is critical for individuals to step forward - no matter their age – for the health of our communities. It was an honor to recognize Lucille, Bill, Prudence and Terry who have stepped forward, and shown they are not invisible by making a difference in people’s lives.

The Dalles Community Thanksgiving Dinner at St. Mary’s Academy has become an annual tradition but as you can imagine it takes a lot of work and can’t happen without volunteers. Salvation Army is once again organizing the dinner and is looking for volunteers. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved: set up and prep from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm; serving and delivery from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm; and clean up from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. It is preferred that you sign up by going to the Salvation Army’s website Or if you would rather, you can call 541-296-6417.

Holiday season is upon us. How can you tell? The holiday bazaars have already started - and there are many more to come. The Center will be hosting its Holiday Bazaar on November 23rd from 9:00 – 3:00. The date may sound familiar because it’s the same day as the St. Peter's 41st Annual Holiday Bazaar at St. Mary’s. Then a week later is the Mosier Holiday Fair on November 30th and December 1st from 10:00 – 4:00 each day. It is a benefit for the Mosier Community School with over 50 artisan vendors in the event's 40th year. Admission is $2 per person plus 1 non-perishable food item, and children under 12 are free.

The name of the musical group that recorded the #1 song “Flowers on the Wall” and named themselves after a brand of facial tissue they noticed in a hotel room was the Statler Brothers. I received correct answers from Cheri Brent, Barbara Cadwell, Jess Birge, Delores Schrader, Rhonda Spies and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Bobetta Stewart.

There are many expressions we seldom hear any more: “Heavens to mergatroyd”, “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle” and “Sounds like a broken record”; as well as words: “moxie”, “swell” and my favorite “fiddlesticks”.    

For this week’s “Remember When” question complete the following expression used to describe someone very young. “I have known him since he was knee high to a _____”. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 mail it with a picture of David Carradine's character in the 1970s TV drama "Kung Fu.".

Well, it’s been another week, keeping one foot in the past and two in the future. Until we meet again, be kind – you don’t know what burden the person is carrying.

Commandment #5 for growing older, “The biggest lie you tell yourself is, "I don't need to write that down. I'll remember it."

Aging in the Gorge November 6th 2019

Monday is Veterans Day and I hope you can take time to honor, in your own way, the Veterans who served our country - whether it is by watching or participating in the Veterans Day parade which starts at 11:00; or attending the community potluck at the Oregon Veterans' Home following the parade hosted by the VFW Post and Auxiliary 2471. Or how about showing your appreciation year-round by deciding to volunteer at the Wasco County Veterans Service Office.

The Veterans Service Office works hard to support our veterans and their surviving spouses by assisting them with veterans claims. This includes disability compensation, non-service connected pensions for war period veterans, aid and attendance, VA health care, education benefits, VA loan information, and more. To answer any questions, Veterans Services Officer Patrick Wilbern will be at the Center from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm on Tuesday, November 12th. Or you can attend his presentation at Flagstone Senior Living on November 13th from 1:30 – 3:00.

But what do you know about Veterans Day? Here are a few facts I found on the U.S. Department of Defense website.

1) There is no apostrophe in Veterans Day.  The holiday is not a day that “belongs” to one veteran or multiple veterans, as an apostrophe would imply. It’s a day for honoring all veterans.

2) Veterans Day is not the same as Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a time to remember those who gave their lives for our country. Veterans Day honors all of those who have served the country in war or peace whether living or not - although it’s largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices.

3) Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day commemorating the end of World War I. World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919. However, the fighting ended when the Allies and Germany put into effect an armistice on “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”. For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, was largely considered the end of “the war to end all wars” and dubbed Armistice Day. In 1926, Congress officially recognized it as the end of the war, and in 1938, it became an official holiday, primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I.

But then World War II and the Korean War happened, so on June 1, 1954, at the urging of veterans service organizations, Congress amended the commemoration by changing the word “armistice” to “veterans” so the day would honor American veterans of all wars. 

4) For a while Veterans Day was officially recognized on the fourth Monday of every October. Congress signed the Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968 to ensure that a few federal holidays including Veterans Day would be celebrated on a Monday hoping it would encourage travel and other family activities over a long weekend.

On Oct. 25, 1971, the first Veterans Day under this new bill was held and as you would guess, there was confusion about the change. Within a few years, it became apparent the public wanted to celebrate Veterans Day on November 11th, since it was a matter of historic and patriotic significance. On Sept. 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed another law which returned the annual observance to its original date.

Now to last week’s “Remember When” question. The name of the Russian-like spies working to "catch Moose and Squirrel" in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show were Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale working for the dictator Fearless Leader. I received correct answers from Cheri Brent, Carole Earl, Jess Birge, Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Barbara Cadwell.

My high school class showed their unique sense of humor by using the #1 hit song “Flowers on the Wall” as the theme for their spring dance – since many of us were considered “wallflowers”. For this week’s ‘Remember When’ question, what musical group recorded “Flowers on the Wall”; was Johnny Cash’s backing vocals for over eight years; and hosted their own show on The Nashville Network? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a brand of facial tissue the band was named after – and it wasn’t Kleenex!

Well, it’s been another week, trying to stay ahead of the curve. Until we meet again, as my wife said to me, “You know you’re old when you can’t recognize half of the Halloween costumes. (And what or who is Marshmellow?)

“The reward of one duty is the power to fulfill another.” George Eliot

Aging Well in the Gorge October 30th 2019

What do you remember about visiting the dentist when you were a child? Fishing for a small toy out of the fish tank if you were good during your visit? Or a long needle painfully inserted in your gum before filling a cavity? 

However you may feel about visiting a dentist, maintaining good oral health is important at any age, because as older adults we still encounter cavities, gum disease and dry mouth. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has published a fact sheet for older adults on these three oral health issues which you can find by googling NIH Older adults and oral health. (And if you’re wondering as I was, craniofacial is a medical term that relates to the bones of the skull and face.)

But you already know the basics to prevent cavities and gum disease because you’ve heard them since you were a child: use a fluoride toothpaste; brush twice daily and floss regularly; and see a dentist for regular check-ups.

But one problem I only recently encountered is dry mouth: the feeling there is not enough saliva in your mouth. In my case it is a side effect of one of my medications, but it can also be caused by dehydration and disease. Since saliva helps keep harmful germs in check, less saliva increases the risk of developing tooth decay. If you think you have dry mouth and it feels uncomfortable, see a dentist or physician to find relief.

A challenge though is Medicare doesn’t pay for dental work - as if your mouth is not a part of your body. You must purchase a separate Dental plan. (Several dentists offer their own insurance plans.) But just as you take care of the rest of your body, it is important to practice good dental hygiene as we grow older.

And as an addendum, I just learned from a friend that before his hip replacement he had to have a dentist sign-off that there were no infections in his gums - and it cost over $800! Another reason to see your dentist regularly.

Here's a shout out to the local Elks. They have moved into the same building as the Eagles but don’t get the idea they are going away – they are still doing good things for the community. For example, they just donated $1500 to The Dalles Meals-on-Wheals which provides home delivered meals as well as serving noon meals at the Center. Because of limited federal funding, Meals-on-Wheels appreciates any donations. And they are always looking for drivers!

On November 5th at 1:00, Kerry Cobb will be discussing Art Masterpieces. In her presentation you will learn about some of the most famous pieces of western art and why they are so iconic and the stories behind their creation - from Michelangelo’s David to Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus to Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

And on Friday November 8th there will be a bus going from the Center to Hood River to tour the Art Gallery at the Columbia Center for The Arts (CCA) and see the live performance of An Evening of Poe - with dinner in between. We’ll leave the Center at 3:15 and return to The Dalles around 9:30. The show and transportation are free (thanks to CCA), so the only cost is your dinner. Call the Center to sign up.

Now that Gorge Happiness Month is almost over, don’t forget the 3 daily habits proven to make us happier and healthier: gratitude, acts of kindness and a moment of silence.

The game show hosted by Allen Ludden where two teams attempt to convey mystery words to each other using only single-word clues was Password. I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Barbara Cadwell, Jess Birge, Cheri Brent and Alice Mattox this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Continuing October’s theme of 60’s television shows, this week’s question is about the animated television series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show which aired from 1959 through 1964 and was known for its quality writing and wry humor. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of their main adversaries - the Russian-like spies working to "catch Moose and Squirrel"? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of Fearless Leader.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to keep my body’s engine light from coming on. Until we meet again, keep living your life with courage, humor and gratitude.
“If only my teeth were as white as my legs.” Unknown

Aging Well in the Gorge October 23rd 2019

I was going to write about maintaining good oral health but there is just too much happening these coming weeks. So I’m going to punt and save that topic for next week.

First, don’t forget the Center is hosting a “60’s Gold Dance” on Friday October 25th from 6:30 – 8:30. Randy Haines will be the DJ playing the great hits from the 60’s. Once again there will be “groovy” decorations to give you that 60’s vibe and The Pines and Freebridge will be providing the beverages making it an over 21 event. This JCW production is sponsored by our friends at Flagstone Senior Living.

Then at the Center on October 29th from 10:00 – 12:00 the Alzheimer’s Association of Oregon will present a two part program “Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia” and “Effective Communication Strategies”.

In the first program you will learn about the impact of Alzheimer's, the difference between Alzheimer's and dementia, stages and risk factors, current research and treatments available for some symptoms, and Alzheimer's Association resources.

The second part of this program explores how communication takes place when someone has Alzheimer’s. Learn to decode the verbal and behavioral messages delivered by someone with dementia and identify strategies to help you connect and communicate at each stage of the disease.

You can explore additional education programs by visiting

And on November 6th the first annual Ageless Awards will be held celebrating the contributions of older adults particularly those 75+. It will be held at the Center from 12:00 to 1:15 starting with a delicious meal provided by The Dalles Meals on Wheels and followed by the awards ceremony. The noon dinner is a suggested donation of $4.00 for anyone 60 and over or $6.00 for everyone else.

Lastly to get you in the Halloween mood, The Gorge Winds Concert Bands will be presenting its October “Spooktacular Concert” on Sunday, Oct. 27th, 7:00 p.m. For us older adults admission is $5.00

Do you understand how Oregon’s property tax system works: difference between maximum assessed value and market value or where your taxes go? The Wasco County Assessment and Taxation Office website has posted several videos to answer many of your questions. In addition, Wasco County Assessor Jill Amery will be speaking at the Center on Monday October 28th at 11:00 to answer any questions.  

Gorge Happiness Month is almost over and here are this week’s suggestions for things to do to help increase your happiness. Oct. 24 – Let someone go in front of you in line; Oct. 25 – Pick up three pieces of trash; Oct. 26 – Pick a good moment from the week and draw it; Oct. 27 – List ten things you like about yourself; Oct. 28 – Post a gratitude on social media #gorgehappiness or tell a random person; Oct 29 – Wave or nod at someone; Oct. 30 – Sit outside and watch wildlife; and Oct. 31 – Go back and finish the ones you haven’t completed.

The name of the Western series broadcast on television from 1952-1970 featuring true stories of the American West and in 1964-1965 was hosted by Ronald Reagan was Death Valley Days. I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Diana Weston, Dave Lutgens, Lana Tepfer, Mary Collins, Jim Ayers, Jess Birge, Cheri Brent and Beverly McKinney this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

I’ve covered medical dramas, comedies and westerns and now it’s time for game shows. This television game show was hosted by Allen Ludden and aired from 1961 through 1967. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of the show where two teams attempt to convey mystery words to each other using only single-word clues? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a first edition of Milton Bradley’s home version of the game show.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to catch my breath without falling. Until we meet again, it’s just as easy to look at the bright side than walking in the dark.

“I’m eighty-eight and getting a little dingy. But I’ve never been eight-eight before.” Unknown

Aging Well in the Gorge October 16th 2019

Remember when it was considered rude to question your doctor? Back then you would ask “Doc what should I do?” and he (when doctors were generally men and women nurses) would tell you and you did it. But the relationship between doctor and patient has changed - for the better.

Today the relationship has progressed where the doctor gives you advice and YOU decide in consultation with your doctor what to do. But this puts more responsibility on you. You are no longer a backseat passenger. You are now helping drive your medical care.

In the video presentation, “4 Questions You Should Always Ask Your Doctor”, neurosurgeon Christer Mj√•set points out in the United States, an estimated thirty percent of all medical spending does not add value to your medical care and is unnecessary.

To avoid unnecessary treatment, he suggests asking your doctor these four questions.

1. "Doctor, is this really necessary?" A basic question - but seldom asked. The problem is that unnecessary procedures burden an already over stressed medical system. A good doctor will sometimes say “no”, but the sensible patient also at times will turn down an opportunity to get diagnosed or treated – which is difficult when you want something to be done.

2. "What are the risks attached to this operation?" There is no medical procedure or operation that is without risks. I remember Dr. Stanley speaking at the Center ten years ago explaining joint replacements and the risks. His advice - don’t do it unless your condition is affecting your quality of life.

3. "Doctor, are there other options?" Alternatives may be just as effective. Recent research has shown in some circumstances there is no difference between the effect of operating on the knee and regular physical therapy.

4. "And what happens if I don't do anything?" Doing nothing is always an option, but you should know the consequences.

By asking these four questions, research has shown that one out of five individuals will change their mind about what to do - and according to Mjaset benefiting an already overstressed health care system while keeping you in the driver’s seat when making decisions about your medical care.

This sounds like a way to get into the Halloween spirit. The Gorge Winds Concert Bands presents its October Spooktacular Concert, Sunday Oct. 27th, 7:00 pm at The Dalles Middle School. And if you dare, wear your Halloween costume! Suggested donations are: Families $20; General Admission $10; Senior Citizens and Children 13 -18 years old $5; and for Children under 12 admission is free.

As we head into the second half of Gorge Happiness Month, here are this week’s suggestions for things to do to help increase your happiness. Oct. 17 – Leave a kind note in an unlikely place; Oct. 18 – Pet a cat or dog; Oct. 19 – Take a nap; Oct. 20 -   Make plans for something to look forward to; Oct. 21 – Have a conversation where you listen more than you talk; Oct 22 – Look at the sky; and Oct. 23 – Walk or drive a different route.

The name of the CBS comedy broadcast from 1962 to 1971 that told the story of a poor backwoods family from the Ozarks who moved to California after striking oil was the “Beverly Hillbillies”. And the family was the Clampetts. I received correct answers from Becky Roberts, Barbara Cadwell, Rhonda Spies, Jerry Phillips, Darcy Long Curtiss, Darlein France, Virginia McLain, Elaine Lee, Lana Tepfer, Mary Collins, Alse Mattos, Lucille Stephens, Cheri Brent and Claudette Potter this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Betsy Ayres.

This week I’m raising the ante with a question I think you’ll find more challenging. Westerns were a popular genre on television, but by the middle of the 1970’s after Bonanza, Gunsmoke and this series were cancelled, it marked the end of the traditional Western era. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the Western series originating on radio in 1930 and broadcast on television from 1952-1970 featuring true stories of the American West and hosted by various actors including Ronald Reagan? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a box of Twenty Mule Team Borax.

Well, it’s been another week, watching the leaves turn. Until we meet again, the older you get the more complicated life seems.
“Don’t let your mouth write a check that your tale can’t cash.” Bo Diddley

Aging Well in the Gorge October 9th 2019

Older adults make countless contributions to our communities, but they are often forgotten in our youth obsessed society. It takes commitment and perseverance to continue working or volunteering to help our neighbors and improve our communities. It’s not easy - but it’s not easy getting older either. Yet we all get older, and we can all contribute.

To recognize the contribution of older adults in Wasco County, the Center, in cooperation with Age+, is soliciting nominations for the first Wasco County Ageless Award. There are three criteria for the nominees: the person has to be seventy five or older; an individual who has made and continues to make a substantial contributions to the lives of others; and an individual who serves as a role model showing that our elders are a significant part of the community fabric.

If there is someone you feel meets the criteria, email their name with a short explanation of their contributions to or

I realized that last week when I said SHIBA volunteers are unbiased, I might have given the impression I thought insurance agents are biased in a negative sense. All the insurance agents I know are capable, knowledgeable and committed to serving their customers. But in some cases, there may be limits to what they can offer.

Whether you see an insurance agent or talk to a SHIBA counselor, you have an opportunity to change your Medicare health plans and prescription drug plan during open enrollment between October 15th and December 7th. Each year Medicare plans can change their cost, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies are in their networks.

But how do you know if you should change plans?

You should have received from your current plans information in a document called “Annual Notice of Change” listing any changes that will go into effect in January. Review these statements carefully. If you’re satisfied, you don’t need to do anything. But if you aren’t happy with the changes, you can compare plans by going online to If you feel more comfortable talking to someone face-to-face, contact your insurance agent; or call the Center at 541-296-4788 or the SHIBA coordinator at 541-288-8341 to schedule an appointment with a trained SHIBA volunteer.

Most importantly, take this time to understand your Medicare plans and options so you can make informed decisions – both for your health and your pocketbook.

Did you share a new joke last week as suggested in the Gorge Happiness Calendar? When I asked that question at the Center, this is the joke I heard that I hope you will enjoy. What do you call ninety-nine rabbits stepping backwards? Keep reading and you’ll find the answer – if you don’t know it already

And speaking of Gorge Happiness Month, here are this week’s suggestions to help increase your happiness. 

Oct. 10 – Complete one small irritating task; 
Oct. 11 – Listen to music; 
Oct. 12 – Talk to someone at the farmer’s market; 
Oct. 13 - Reconnect with an old friend; 
Oct. 14 – Stop and count the number of things you can hear right now; 
Oct 15 – Do someone else’s chore; and 
Oct. 16 – Send a thank-you.

The title of the NBC television series that told the story of a young intern working at a large metropolitan hospital was Dr. Kildare starring Richard Chamberlain. I received correct answers from Cheri Brent, Lana Tepfer, Barbara Cadwell, Rhonda Spies, Kim Birge, Becky Roberts, Julie Carter and Mary Collins this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Continuing the October theme of television shows, this week it’s a question about a comedy series. I don’t know if anyone thought this was going to be a hit, but it became a cultural phenomenon during the 60’s and at the same time disliked by critics. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the CBS comedy broadcast from 1962 to 1971 that told the story of a poor backwoods family from the Ozarks who moved to California after striking oil on their land? And foe extra points what was the name of the family? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with any album by the great bluegrass duo Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.

Answer for the joke: a receding hare line!

Well, it’s been another week, trying not to worry about things I can’t control. Until we meet again, you don’t know if it’s your cup of tea unless you take a sip.

Some simple advice from table tennis master Dick Hamilton: “When you get mad, keep your mouth shut!”.

Aging Well in the Gorge October 2nd 2019

From all the Medicare television ads and mailbox stuffers, you probably know that Medicare Open Enrollment begins Oct. 15 and runs through December 7th. But where can you get unbiased information to help you navigate through the complicated and often frustrating Medicare system?

To answer your Medicare questions, you can make an appointment with a SHIBA counselor by calling the Center at 541-296-4788 or calling 541-288-8341. SHIBA is a federally funded, nationwide program that trains volunteers to provide free one-on-one Medicare counseling.

You can also attend a free Medicare 101 workshop on October 9th from 9:00 – 11:00 AM at The Dalles Campus of CGCC. To register, you are encouraged to call 541-506-6011 to ensure there are enough materials, but walk-ins are welcome as space allows.

By attending the workshop, you will learn when and how to enroll; what Medicare does and does not cover, the difference between A and B, prescription drug coverage, financial assistance, fraud protection, and much, much more.

Have you thought of trying something new such as one of the four Creative Arts classes scheduled at the Center this month? I know you were told since grade school that you have no artistic ability, but they were wrong. And besides it isn’t all about what you create but the process of creating.

If you are interested, call the Center to sign up for one of the following classes which are free, but space is limited to ten.

Pen and Ink and Drawing Florals. Artist - Abigail Agersea, Wednesdays, October 2nd and 16th from 1:00 – 3:00. Knitting, Crocheting and even spinning your own yarn. Fiber Artist - Ruth Barnes, Fridays, October 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th from 9:00 – 10:30. Poetry, Creative Writing and Haikus. Artist – Kristyn Fix, Tuesdays, October 8th and 15th at 10:00; Glass Art. Artist – Anielle Forsyth, Thursdays, October 10th and 24th at 10:00.

It’s Gorge Happiness Month and here are some ways to increase your happiness this week. Oct. 3 - Go for a short silent walk; Oct. 4 - Tell a new joke; Oct. 5 - Get someone to do the three daily happiness habits; Oct. 6 - Pick a person or a goal to focus on this week; Oct. 7 - Say yes; Oct 8 - Seek out a new free class or event; and Oct. 9 - Tell someone what you like about them.

But what makes me happy is listening and dancing to the “oldies” which you can do at the Center’s next dance “60’s GOLD” on Friday, October 25th from 6:30 – 8:30 with DJ Randy Haines. A “groovy” time is guaranteed.

If you can’t wait until the 25th, the Sceptre Brothers are going to be playing great rock and roll from the 60’s in the Civic Auditorium’s newly remodeled theater on Saturday October 5th as a fundraiser for the Civic. Doors open at 6:00 music starts at 7:00. You can purchase tickets at the door or Klindt’s Booksellers.

You may already know, but The Sceptre Brothers is a four-piece band, which includes The Dalles own Dan Ross on drums, first formed when the band members attended school in LaGrande, Oregon in 1964. After school they went their separate ways but reunited forty-three years later. Check them out at

The name of the mystery series first published in 1927 that revolved around two teenage boys acting as amateur detectives was The Hardy Boys. And the girl’s series was Nance Drew. I received correct answers from Betsy Ayres, Dale and Becky Roberts, Sandy Haechrel, Jess Birge, Michael Carrico, Lana Tepfer, Jerry Phillips, Barbara Cadwell and Glenna McCargar this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

I still remember the days when the television networks’ “fall lineup” was a big deal. Looking back at the fall lineup of 1961 there were two new Medical dramas: Ben Casey and an NBC series. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the title of the NBC television series that told the story of young intern working at the fictional large metropolitan "Blair General Hospital"? And for bonus points who was the star?  Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a recording of the hit single, "Three Stars Will Shine Tonight" which was the show’s theme song.

Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the fall weather. Until we meet again, you know you are getting old when you google the word “groovy” and the first thing listed is “a powerful language for the Java platform” – whatever that means!

“Don’t hitch your wagon to a falling star” Judge Judy


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