Aging Well in the Gorge June 26th 2019

July 4th is a time to celebrate our nation’s independence and this year it falls on a Thursday. And maybe because I like to sleep in after watching the Fort Dalles Fourth Fireworks display which starts at 10:00 - and ends way past my bedtime. Or because it is nice to celebrate the Fourth with friends during the Meals-on-Wheels noon dinner and their own July 4th celebration, Meals-on-Wheels and the Center will be open on Thursday July 4th but closed July 5th through the 7th. That also means there will not be Thursday or Saturday night bingo to give our dedicated volunteers a night off.

If you appreciate the activities planned for the Fort Dalles Fourth celebration, they are still looking for donations for veteran banners that will be displayed downtown through Labor Day. According to their Facebook posts you can drop off your donation at the Optimist Printers or donate at the Fort Dalles Fourth GoFund Me page. Any size donation is accepted and for every $149 contributed, a retired banner will fly another season.

I was able to sit in on one of Patrick Wilbern’s presentations at the Center on Veteran’s Benefits and the recent changes. I was impressed by his knowledge and his commitment to supporting Veterans and will make sure he is invited back this coming fall.

I learned that because the Veterans’ benefits system is so complex and ever-changing, there are often unintentional errors that an advocate such as Patrick can help correct so you receive the benefits you deserve. If you have questions, call the Wasco County Veterans’ Services Office at 541-506-2502 and make an appointment with either Patrick or Russell Jones. And on Mondays through Thursdays from 9:00 – 12:00 you can just walk in to talk to Patrick - but it is first come first served.  

If it’s the first Tuesday of the month, it’s time for Kerry Cobb’s monthly art presentation. Kerry has retired from her position as director of the Columbia Arts Center which gives her time to travel including her recent trip to Spain. There she had the chance to experience the works of the Major Artists of Spain which will be the topic of her presentation on Tuesday, July 2 @ 1pm. As Kerry points out, Spain has a rich history of influential artists who each created their own unique Spanish style. During her presentation you will have a chance to explore the works of artists who played a major role in the history of western painting, including Picasso, Velazquez, Goya, Miro, El Greco, and Dali.

The title of the song written for a 1955 movie with the same title; won an Academy Award for best original song; and the recorded version by the Four Aces reached number one in 1955 was “Love is a Many Splendored Thing”; and not the song “Three Coins in a Fountain” which I didn’t realize also had the same title as the 1954 movie, was recorded by the Four Aces and won an Academy Award for best original song. I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Cheri Brent, Jerry Phillips, Delores Schrader (who has the Four Aces CD), Don & Daryln Hansen, Ron Nelson and Carol Earl who remembered both songs and is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Mark Bartel and Cheri Brent.

I often hear folks bemoaning the quality of popular music these days and that it just doesn’t compare to the music we listened to when we were younger. I can’t speak for those who grew up in the 40’s and 50’s but looking back at some of the popular songs during the 60’s, they’re a little embarrassing. Remember the Troggs singing “Wild thing you make my heart sing”? But that wasn’t the only hit song that was “cringe worthy”. For this week’s “Remember When” question, Tommy James and the Shondells in their number one song from 1966 sang about their baby doing what? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with the recording of “That Boy John’” by the Raindrops.

Well, it’s been another week, thinking any moment the Gorge winds could send me flying through the air with the greatest of ease.  Until we meet again, take pleasure in the small everyday experiences. 

“I used to think getting old was about vanity – but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial.” Joyce Carol Oates

Aging Well in the Gorge June 19th 2019

If you no longer can drive, or don’t want to drive anymore, how can you get to the store, to your all-too-frequent doctors’ appointments or to activities at the Center? In other words, how can you stay connected?

One answer is the LINK, The Dalles public transportation provider, which has been providing rides since 1997. But it has been a challenge to find the “next right answer” to improve the public transportation services in The Dalles, but recently there have been several changes to better serve the general public. You can learn more about the transportation options in The Dalles at the 1:00 presentation by Jessica Metta at the Center on June 25th. And most importantly you will be able to ask questions and share what you feel is working well and what you wish to see differently.

Until then here is a quick review of the services the LINK provides in The Dalles area.

Deviated Fixed Route: The LINK is operating a Deviated Fixed Route service on an hour loop to key destinations in The Dalles on Monday through Friday, 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Rides are still just $1.50 each.

Dial-a-Ride: This has been the LINK’s bread and butter service. This dial-a-ride, door-to-door service operates Monday through Friday, 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Trips are $1.50 each way and need to be scheduled at least twenty-four hours in advance.

Shopping Bus: The LINK also offers a regular trip to grocery stores and shopping centers in The Dalles on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Cost is $3.00 for unlimited stops with no shopping bag limit. The LINK drivers will help load and unload your bags (bags must be under 25 pounds).

For more information including schedules and routes, you can call the LINK at 541-296-7595, visit the LINK’s website at, stop by The Dalles Transit Center at 802 Chenowith Loop or pick up a brochure at the Center.  

But LINK isn’t the only public transportation provider in the area. If you live in Sherman County, you probably already know about Sherman County’s Community Transit which provides dial-a-ride services throughout Sherman County with weekly trips to The Dalles and regular trips to Portland and points east for seniors, individuals with disabilities and others as space allows. The fare is $5.00 round-trip per rider. For schedule/route information you can call (541) 565-3553 or visit their website at

And for our friends in southern Wasco County, (The late Lenore Walters once told me in no uncertain terms, as she probably told many others, it is “southern” Wasco County not south. South is not an adjective!) there is the TSCC bus service which relies on volunteer drivers to take you to wherever you need to go.

The Blue Zones Cooking Demos are returning to the Center on the last Tuesdays
of the month from 5:30 – 7:00 starting June 26th. Break out of your cooking doldrums and join the fun learning how to prepare healthy and TASTY! recipes from OSU’s “Food Hero” website where you can also find meal ideas, and cooking tips and tools.

A quick reminder: READY-SET-RETIRE is scheduled for June 26th, 4:00 – 7:00 at the Center. In this free workshop from AARP Oregon and the Small Business Development Center, you’ll learn about tuning up your finances before retirement, Social Security and Medicare, OregonSaves - an easy way to save for retirement, and how to turn your expertise into a business opportunity by becoming an Encore Entrepreneur.

The name of the song written for the 1967 film, The Graduate and sung by Simon and Garfunkel was “Mrs. Robinson”.  I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, Jess Birge, Jerry Phillips, Betsy Ayers, Ron Nelson and “Hey, Hey, Hey” Janet Figg this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Let’s stick with another popular song from a movie soundtrack but from the 50’s which I’m guessing will be a little more challenging. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the title of the song written for a 1957 movie of the same title; won an Academy Award for best original song; and that the Four Aces’ version reached number one for three weeks in 1955? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with the splendid Italian version recorded by Neil Sedaka, "L'Amore E' Una Cosa Meravigliosa".

Well, it’s been another week, kicking down the gravel road and feeling groovy.  Until we meet again, don’t let the bus pass you by.

“You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out." Warren Buffett

Aging Well in the Gorge June 12th 2019

Are you a veteran or a spouse of a veteran? And do you know what benefits you may be eligible for?

Because of the support of the Wasco County Board of Commissioners, Wasco County has two Veterans Service Officers, Russell Jones and Patrick Wilburn, to ensure veterans receive the benefits they are entitled to. This could include disability compensation, non-service connected pensions for war period veterans, aid and attendance, VA health care, education benefits, VA loan information and more. 

But there have been changes in the VA system and Patrick Wilburn is getting out into the community to spread the word about those changes and what the local Veterans Services Office offers. He will be at the Center on two different occasions: in the evening on Tuesday June 18th at 6:00 PM and then in the afternoon on Wednesday June 19th starting at 1:00. I would like to thank Patrick for providing these opportunities to learn more about VA benefits.

You can also help support our veterans by volunteering at the Veterans Service Office. There is a need for volunteers to help at the front desk or with other clerical duties. To volunteer you can call Jean at 541-296-3478 or email her at or call the office at 541-506-2502.

I need some help. I know, I know you’re probably thinking what’s new. He always needs help – or is that just what my wife thinks! But this is incredibly important. Could someone explain to me what’s the big deal about all these emojis? And when should I use them, and what does each one mean?

I understand what the thumbs up and the smiley face mean. But what about the upside-down smiley face, the smiley face with the tears or with the tongue sticking out. It’s beyond me. And I’m afraid I will use the wrong emoji in the wrong situation and offend someone or embarrass myself.

In the past it was simpler. I just had to learn facial expressions and other types of body language to navigate social situations. But now in this digital world of social interactions I’m afraid I’m just lost.

If you understand the world of mystifying emojis, I’ll be glad to schedule a class, so those like myself can be more socially adept in this new digital age.

Every year with the help of Ginny McNary, the Center offers several trips during the spring and summer. There have already been trips to OMSI, The Northwest Senior Theater and the Rhododendron Gardens - where we’ll go several weeks earlier next time. But we have five more trips scheduled including our next trip to the Vista House and Multnomah Falls for lunch on June 19th. The cost is $35 which covers the transportation, but you are responsible for your meal at the lodge. Then on July 1st, the Center has scheduled a trip to Timberline which includes transportation and a delicious lunch at Timberline Lodge for $65. Call the Center to sign up. Seats are limited.

The name of the film in which a decorated war veteran was arrested one drunken night and sentenced to two years on a chain gang where his free spirit clashed with the “Captain” was Cool Hand Luke. I received correct answers from Becky Roberts, Cheri Brent, Betsy Ayers, Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, Janet Figg and Tom Hodge, Dave Lutgens, Jerry Phillips, Deloris Schrader and Mark Battel, who remembers the famous line “What we have here is a failure to communicate” and is the winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Now that we are in the season of school graduations it only seems appropriate to ask a question about Dustin Hoffman’s breakout movie from 1967, The Graduate. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the song especially written for the movie but was originally conceived as a song “about times past—about Mrs. Roosevelt and Joe DiMaggio and stuff”? And for bonus points who was the singing duo that sang the song? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer on the side of a plastic container because “the future is plastics”.

Well, it’s been another week talking too loud so I can hear what I’m saying to make sure it is what I meant.  Until we meet again, as the writer Dasheill Hammett once said, “You got to look on the bright side, even if there ain’t one.”

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” A.A. Milne

Aging Well in the Gorge June 5th 20019

Why do we always have to give something a different name if it doesn’t fit our preconceived notions. I’ll give you an example. I grew up in Indianapolis, so you know what I do every Memorial Day, I watch the Indianapolis 500. During the pre-race show NBC followed seventy-nine-year-old racing legend Mario Andretti around the Speedway and one of the announcers was so impressed that Mario was still involved in racing he described him as having the spirit of a thirty-year-old. And I thought, Wait a minute! He doesn’t have the spirit of a thirty-year-old. He has the spirit of a seventy-nine-year-old! Can’t older folks keep busy and active and be seen as who they are? He is not some forty-year-old beer drinking couch potato - no offense to 40-year-olds.   

But an active 79-year-old like Mario didn’t fit his idea of how a seventy-nine-year-old should act. And consequently, he had to rename it as something he could understand.
As Helen Hayes once said, “Age doesn’t matter unless you are a cheese. (Or unless you want decent health insurance you can afford through Medicare.) If you ask me how old I am, I’d say seventy-one. But it really depends on what part of my body you are asking about. If it is my knees, I would say more like eighty. If you are talking about my eyes – probably seventy-one. My dry skin – also probably seventy-one. Okay, maybe my body’s age is my chronological age. But just remember, I’m no cheese.

Back in the day, Social security was envisioned as being one leg of the three legged retirement stool along with savings and pensions. But the U.S. retirement system has fundementally changed, shifting responsibilty from the employer to the individual so now many working people don’t have a retirement plan; and saving money for retirement is a luxury. And with the great recession wiping out savings for many and social security benefits losing a third of their purchasing power since 2000, many older adults are entering the golden year financially insecure.

At the Center on June 26th from 4:00 – 7:00, AARP and  the Small Business Development Center will be presenting the free workshop READY SET RETIRE. At this workshop you will learn about tuning up your finances before retirement; Social Security & Medicare 101; OregonSaves, the new and easy way to save for retirement; and how to monetize your expertise and become an Encore Entrepreneur. Whether you are retired or thinking about retirement, I’m sure you’ll learn something new that could help improve your financial future. Or in my case realize, “Oh, that is what I should have done!”

It’s always a relief when I find a mistake and it wasn’t of my doing. Well, this wasn’t one of those times. Last week I misstated Joyce Browne’s phone number. It should have been 541-300-0111. She is the contact if you have any questions about the two free lectures presented by Dr. Timothy Jennings, MD at the MCMC Medical Office Building: “The Aging Brain - Proven Steps to Prevent Dementia and Sharpen Your Mind” on Saturday, June 8th from 10:00 – 4:30; and “The Mind, God’s Design” on Friday, June 7th at 6 PM.

Those who remember the Broadway musical Camelot were Rhonda Spies, Anne Cross, Jerry Phillips, Katie Young, Betsy Ayers, Cheri Brent, Joy Oakes, Tiiu Vahtel (who saw Camelot on Broadway), and Mary Haas the winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week’s question about the Broadway musical that told the story of the "mad" knight Don Quixote was much more difficult with only Betsy Ayers correctly answering Man of La Mancha and also winning a quilt raffle ticket.

This week let’s move from the Broadway stage to a film set in Stockton California. This 1967 anti-establishment movie starred Paul Newman and George Kennedy - who won a Best Supporting Actor award for his performance. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the film in which a decorated war veteran is arrested for cutting down parking meters one drunken night and sentenced to two years on a chain gang where his free spirit clashed with the “Captain”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with a carton of fifty eggs.

Well, it’s been another week looking for the answer if only I knew the question. Until we meet again, what if the hokey pokey is really what it’s all about?

“Always leave them laughing when you say good-bye.” George M. Cohen


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