Aging Well in the Gorge July 8th 2020

Raise your hand if you have completed the 2020 Census? Good. Now, how many of you have forgotten about the 2020 Census because of COVID-19? If you are in the latter group, you have plenty of company. So far Oregon Gorge counties have a self-response rate significantly below Oregon’s average of 64.2%.

But you still have time to respond - before someone comes knocking on your door.

The Census questionnaires were mailed back in April. If you haven’t responded yet - and can still find it among all your papers on the dining room table - please complete the questionnaire and mail it back. You can also complete the online questionnaire at www.my2020census. Or if you prefer, you can call 844-330-2020 and complete the questionnaire by phone.

Even though the collection process has been interrupted due to COVID-19, the U.S. Census Bureau has announced it is now on track to conduct multiple follow-up activities over the next several months aimed at ensuring a complete and accurate count. Starting in mid-July, the Census Bureau will begin interviewing households that have yet to respond to the 2020 Census. All census takers will be trained on social distancing protocols and will be issued personal protective equipment (PPE).

If you have already completed the 2020 census questionnaire, there is a chance you may receive a follow-up call to validate the information you provided when you completed the census questionnaire.

The Census is constitutionally mandated to count every person living in the United States to determine representation in Congress. But over the years, more questions have been added to help determine how to allocate hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding for critical programs and services; as well as helping lawmakers, business owners, and many others to make critical decisions.

You can help shape the future of your communities by responding today.

Now that July 4th has flown by, we know there are many ninety-degree days ahead. And during those hot days of summer, don’t forget to stay hydrated. As we age, our bodies change (which I am reminded often) becoming less sensitive to heat and the feeling of thirst, making all of us more vulnerable to summer’s heat and humidity. In addition, certain medical conditions, such as heart disease, and medications commonly taken by older adults —water pills, allergy and sinus medications, and antidepressants—further increase the risk.

But according to The American Geriatrics Society’s Foundation for Health in Aging (FHIA), there are precautions we can take to prevent the harmful effects of dehydration. There are the obvious - but often ignored: turn on the air conditioner or go somewhere with air conditioning; when outdoors wear a hat and lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing; use SPF 30 or higher sunscreen; avoid strenuous activity; and my favorite - take a cool shower or bath.  

But what you may not know is that more frequent drinking of smaller quantities is better than less frequent drinking of larger quantities. (If you aren’t sure if you are drinking enough fluids – how should I say this politely? - check your urine. If it is the color of lemonade that’s good. If it is the color of apple cider you may need to drink more liquids.) And if you’re worried about the heat, have someone check on you once or twice a day during the heat waves.

This television sitcom that ran from 1972 through 1977 and starred comedian Red Foxx was Sanford and Son. I received correct answers from Jim and Sue Donnelly, Jess Birge (who noted that Redd Foxx’s given name was John Sanford), Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, Dave Lutgens, Jerry Phillips, Barbara Cadwell and Susan Ronning this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Between 1964 and 1970, the Beatles appeared in five major motion pictures, beginning with this 1964 musical comedy directed by Richard Lester during the height of Beatlemania. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of their first film described as "comic fantasia with music; an enormous commercial success with the director trying every cinematic gag in the book"? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a DVD of their last film Let It Be (1970).

Well, it’s been another week, wondering “have I written about that before?” Until we meet again, take time to celebrate - even the small things.

“I make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes.” Sara Teasdale, American poet

Aging Well in the Gorge July 1st 2020

“What gives my life meaning and purpose?” or more simply “Why am I here?” are questions we ask ourselves as we age.
We learned from The Dalles Blue Zones project that people who know their life purpose live longer, better lives. But finding your purpose is easier when you have your whole life in front of you. But what if you figure you have maybe fifteen, ten or five more years left. How do we find meaning and purpose, so when the going gets tough we keep going?

“Finding Meaning and Purpose in Old Age” by Ana Cocarla addresses how we as older adults can find and maintain our sense of meaning and purpose, because as she points out older adults are happier, but there are two things that tend to decrease as we age. You guessed it, a sense of meaning and purpose.

Meaning and purpose are not the same. Meaning is related to the significance of our lives; and our purpose reflects our goals and having something to live for. For example, loving your children gives meaning to your life, while your purpose might be raising them to reach their full potential.

There are several reasons why the sense of meaning and purpose can often be lost or more difficult to attain: the “empty nest” syndrome – now that the children have left home, the meaning and purpose they provided is difficult to replace; we have accomplished our life goals and feel it’s too late to set new ones; we may not have the energy we once had; or we have a illness or disability so we no longer can do those things we loved.

But you can still find meaning and purpose. It may just happen: having to care for a loved one. But more often you have to create opportunities in order to feel purposeful.

To find meaning and purpose, attitude makes a tremendous difference: focusing on the positive aspects of life; learning to accept others as they are; and finding ways to grow, learn and adapt. You can also try the following. Practice being present in the moment. Create new routines that are more fulfilling. Try things you’ve always wanted to do. Find ways to support your grandkids - because you know their parents need all the help they can get! Look for or create opportunities to contribute. Adopt a pet or take care of your garden. Travel if your situation allows. And study and practice your faith which can be a key source of meaning and purpose in your life.

In the years we have left, we all have something to offer. And in our own way, each of us can find the answer to the question, “Why am I here?”.

The name of the music historian who hosted his own radio program that played novelty songs by Spike Jones, Stan Freberg and of course Weird Al Yankovic was Dr. Demento. I received correct answers from Barbara Cadwell; Kenny Olsson who corresponded with him for a short time and found him to be one of the nicest people in show business; and Jonathan Carr who when as a freshman at Reed College in 1962, attended a keg party (remember those?) where Barry Hansen (Dr. Demento) curated the playlist with his stacks of 45’s including "The Bird (is the Word)". Because it was a difficult question, all three win a quilt raffle ticket.

This television sitcom ran from 1972 through 1977 and was NBC’s answer to All in the Family and starred comedian Red Foxx known for his raunchy nightclub acts during the 1950s and 1960s. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this sitcom? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the album Funky Tales from a Dirty Old Junkman.

Before I go, here are the answers to last week’s brainteasers. I hope you enjoyed the challenge. 1) Both weigh a pound; 2) A dozen; 3) Only one; 4) All twelve months have 28 days; 5) Nine - each brother has the same sister; 6) 59 days; 7) ONE WORD; 8) Four - broke, fried, and ate the same two eggs.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to keep my head from blowing off. Until we meet again, I’ve recently learned one of the benefits of getting older is your children start buying you gifts!

 “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” (Christopher Robin to Pooh – A.A.Milne)

Aging Well in the Gorge June 24th 2020

You may be playing it safe staying home and caring for your garden or overdosing on TV and Netflix. But what are you doing for your brain health as we weather this pandemic?

According to the Virginia Spine Institute, there are five things you can do to maintain and maybe even improve your brain health – and what the heck, you have the time!

Try to Maintain a Daily Routine. Maintaining a routine can limit stress. And during this pandemic, it can be your chance to develop a new and healthier routine: healthy breakfast, morning walk, afternoon meal, and then some time with hobbies that keep your brain working. Habit is a great motivator.

Exercise. Exercise can help maintain our physical as well as our mental health. Take an early morning walk - before it gets too hot. Or start with some easy and simple exercises at home: three legs lifts and gradually build up to more. Something is better than nothing. And which is the best exercise? The one you enjoy doing.

Get in Touch with Your Creative Side. How about creating a collage from your family pictures? Knitting? Working in your shop? Or pull those dusty cookbooks off the shelf or check out OSU’s FOOD HERO website and experiment with the recipes. Can you really add spinach to a fruit smoothie - and it will still taste good?

Stay Socially Engaged. I enjoy video calls because I can see who I’m talking to. But there is nothing wrong with the old fashion way: picking up the phone and dialing – and you don’t have to look “presentable”!

Put Time into Hobbies that Stimulate your Brain. Finish that James Patterson novel, work on puzzles or play cards online with friends using various apps including Trickster. Or check out the puzzles and games online at Sharpbrains and AARP’s Staying Sharp.

Speaking of stimulating your grey cells, try these eight brainteasers/riddles that I have enjoyed. And trying to solve a brainteaser is just as good for your brain as finding the answer - although not as satisfying. (The answers are posted under the Tab "Brainteasers Answers".

1. Which is heavier? A pound of feathers or a pound of rocks?

2. How many three cent stamps are in a dozen?

3. On my way to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives. Each wife had seven sacks, each sack had seven cats, and each cat had seven kits. Kits, cats, sacks and wives.

How many were going to St. Ives?

4. In a year, there are 12 months. Seven months have 31 days. How many months have 28 days?

5. A family has two parents and six sons. Each of the sons has one sister. How many people are in the family?

6. The water level in a reservoir is low but doubles every day. It takes 60 days to fill the reservoir. How long does it take for the reservoir to become half full?

7. Rearrange the letters: "nor do we" to make one word?

8. I have six eggs. I break two, I fried two, and I ate two. How many eggs are left?

One of the most widely recognized tobacco advertising campaigns before they were banned on television and radio in 1971 was “WINSTON Tastes Good Like a Cigarette Should”. I received answers from Lucile Stephens, Sandy Haechrel, Deloris Schrader, Dave Lutgens, Tiiu Vahtel, Lana Tepfer, Jess Birge, Barbara Cadwell, and Tina Castanares who asked which cigarette was “a silly millimeter longer”? But this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Judith Morgan.  


While my wife and I were sitting around the breakfast table we thought of this radio show which had a cult following but I never listened to because, well let’s say, it was a little demented. The show played novelty songs from the likes of Spike Jones, Stan Freberg and of course Weird Al Yankovic whose career he helped launch. What was the name this trained music historian used when hosting the show? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of the 1963 graduating class from Reed College.


Well, it’s been another week, making lemonade. Until we meet again, there times you want to be special, but when you get back your chest x-ray it’s nice just to be normal.


“Trust that little voice in your head that says “Wouldn’t it be interesting if…” And then do it.” Duane Michals, Photographer

Aging Well in the Gorge June 17th 2020

Remember when you were younger? You did some really stupid things - taking risks you would never contemplate today. Why did I climb that 30 ft ladder to work on the roof? Why did I hitchhike from Eugene to Los Angeles? Why did I feel I like I needed to eat the WHOLE pizza?

We know life is not without risks and during this pandemic we are constantly asking ourselves, “What level of risk am I willing to accept?” Do I venture out for groceries, to attend church, or fly out of state to attend a sister’s funeral? Those are tough decisions.

But the most difficult question is what level of risk are we going to accept as a community, state or nation so we can safely get back to work and our daily lives?

During this pandemic many have questioned the requirements that have been enacted placing millions of people on unemployment and curtailing many if not most of our usual activities. Why were all non-essential services shut down? Why did I have to stay home? Why did I have to pump my own gas? (Okay, that’s just my wife’s question!)

But consider what most of us do every day where we accept a level of risk so we can work, play and visit: driving.

Driving is a risky business - over 489 motorists died in Oregon last year. But to reduce the level of risk, Oregon has passed laws making driving safer: speed limits, stop signs, seat belts, and rules against driving while intoxicated. And when the risk is too high and the ability to respond is inadequate, every winter we know what happens. The roads are closed.

You may say the chances of dying from covid-19 are remote, but so is dying from a motor vehicle accident. Why? Because we accept and follow the safe driving practices so we can protect ourselves and others.

Just as Oregon works to make driving safer, during the pandemic Oregon has instituted measures based on the best science to reduce the risk of being infected, hospitalized or even dying from COVID-10: staying home, social distancing, wearing a mask and frequent hand washing.

So, what level of risk are we, as in all of us, going to accept knowing that ninety-three percent of all covid-19 deaths in Oregon have been adults sixty and older. Three hundred? Six hundred? One thousand? Or is one too many when it is a loved one,

On our highways we know that one irresponsible driver can harm anyone of us. And to feel safer, we follow the rules of the road and safe driving practices and hope everyone else does also. But do we feel the same about COVID-19 and follow the recommendations of our public health departments?

Life will never be without risk. Sadly, people will die. But what level should we accept so we can work, recreate and enjoy our lives? I don’t know. But we may soon find out.

Staying connected is essential for our health and well-being. Fortunately, today when we should be staying home as much as possible, we can connect by making video calls – although, granted, it isn’t the same as meeting in person. But how many older adults are interested? To gauge that interest, please complete a short Tech Survey on the Center’s Website. Or call the Center at 541-296-4788 and leave a message that you are interested. As long as there isn’t an effective vaccine or treatment, I think we’re in this for the long haul.

Back when the tobacco companies argued that cigarettes were safe, this tobacco advertising campaign was one of most widely recognized. For this “Remember When” question, what cigarette brand “tastes good like a cigarette should”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with an explanation of the grammatical difference between “as” and “like”.

"Love means never having to say you're sorry" was from Love Story the 1970 top-selling novel by Erick Segal that was adapted into the number one film in 1970 starring Ryan O’Neil and Ali MacGraw. I received correct answers from Carol Earl, Jess Birge, Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, Julie Carter, Tina Castanares and Dave Lutgens this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Michael Carrico.

Well, it’s been another week, distracted by too many distractions. Until we meet again, reach out and call somebody. They’ll appreciate it.

“No one ever makes the same mistake twice. The first time it’s a mistake. Anytime after that, it’s a choice.” Mark Twain

Aging Well in the Gorge June 10th 2020

While staying home you may have been spending time watching one of the educational cable channels to learn more about subjects you find interesting: History Channel, Animal Planet, Food Network or one of the Discovery Channels.

And you may have found there is more you would like to learn - and with today’s technology it’s only a click away. Using your computer, tablet or even your smartphone, you can go online and find instructional videos and academic courses on practically any topic you can think of – or don’t want to think of.

For example, how about learning to play Tiddlywinks? Yep, you can find that on Vimeo.
How to feed a wild bear? Yep, but bad idea. How to make up with your wife or worse, how to get her back? Yep, and good luck.  

But you may have more academic interests. Online you can take courses in anthropology, or cosmology. Or if you’re really nuts, that algebra class you failed in high school.

Online there are numerous sites offering a wide variety of courses taught by experts in their fields. Several of the best are:

Couresa which offers online classes such as the Science of Well-being, or Biohacking Your Brain's Health which teaches you how to maximize your brain's fitness through nutrition, exercise, meditation, and sleep.

EdX is another site that offers a variety of classes including Power and Responsibility: Doing Philosophy with Superheroes which is a SmithsonianX and Harvard Division of Continuing Education course. (So, that’s what they teach at Harvard!)

And on the website Udemy, you can learn how to hypnotize people while getting a crash course in the basics of hypnotherapy for only $12.99. Or even Animal Telepathically where you can learn how to "use your natural intuition and psychic abilities to communicate with any species." (As I said you can find anything online.)

But before you register for a course online, there are several things to consider.

First, you need to be self-motivated. There won’t be an instructor to hold you accountable and usually there isn’t a set time limit to complete the course. But if you choose a course that engages you, motivation shouldn’t be a problem.

Second, know your goals and stick to them. Why are you taking the class? Do you want to get a degree or certification (make sure the provider is accredited), or just to broaden your mind and use your time in a way you find engaging?

Third, don’t get tricked into paying for a course you don’t want. There are many sites where you can find courses for free, but some may attempt to sell you on obtaining a certification.

Regardless of where your interests lie, there is a wide selection of instructional videos and online courses to explore. And the nice thing? You don’t even have to leave your house.

Speaking of online classes, you can register for Strong in Life - a free Virtual Live class on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. from June 2nd - August 6, 2020. The class offers an easy to follow routine designed to improve balance, strength and flexibility for adults 60 plus. Join by calling Providence Resource Line at 503-574-6595 or 1-800-562-8964 or go to You can also find a link on the Center’s website under virtual classes.

The names of two drive-in theaters in The Dalles were Starlite Drive-in located on the bluff at Columbia View Heights and The Dalles Drive-in r where Home Depot is now.  And according to the website Cinema Treasures there was a third: Motor Vu Drive-In. I received correct answers from Ruth Radcliffe, Jess Birge, Lana Tepfer, Julie Carter, Carol Earl and Lucile Stephens this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

I’ve been doing well not missing anyone lately (at least that I realize) but lately I’ve missed Julie Carter, Lana Tepfer, Barbara Cadwell and Lucile Stephens.
"Love means never having to say you're sorry" was voted thirteenth most popular movie quote by the American Film Institute. For this week’s “Remember When” question from what 1970 top-selling novel by Erick Segal that was adapted into the top film in 1970, was this quote taken? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a theatrical poster signed by Ryan O’Neil and Ali MacGraw.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to stay safe. Until we meet again, find time to do something you’ve never done before.

“But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Amos 5:24

Aging Well in the Gorge June 3rd 2020

Have you ever had one of those crystal ball experiences when you see a vision of your future to be? This COVID-19 pandemic has been my crystal ball.

Because of the pandemic my wife and I have been meeting virtually with our children every weekend. It is nice to see them and share what has happened during the week, how work and school are going - you know, the usual family stuff. But that is not the REAL reason they have been talking with us. It is to check to make sure we are following their orders for us to stay home and not venture out of the house: have everything delivered, but we remind them The Dalles is not Portland, and work from home. (Never let your boy grow up to be a doctoral student in biology. He knows waaaaay too much about viruses!)

When we raised our children, I didn’t think we were helicopter parents, but they have certainly become helicopter children during this pandemic! It’s as if I am the young boy in high school and they’re my parents asking me if I went out while they were gone. And I would have to - let’s say, bend the truth - by using the tricks I learned: not telling the whole truth. “No, I didn’t go to Fred Meyer today” - not mentioning I did twice last week. Or not answering the question directly.  “Don’t worry. We’re making sure we are safe by washing our hands and wearing our masks.”

Then at I read, “Role Reversal During the Coronavirus” by Anne Field. She gives examples of herself and other older adults whose children are nagging them to stay home and I realized my wife and I aren’t the only ones!

Over the years, I’ve talked with many older adults particularly those in their 80’s about their children trying to control their lives. But for my wife and me the pandemic has accelerated that timeline where here we are in our early 70’s, at a time when we still consider ourselves fit and active, having our children telling us what we should do.

It is the age-old tension between safety and freedom. And now the roles have been reversed. We want our freedom and they want us to be safe because they love us.

I thought this might be the time to take a stand, show our independence, that we should be able to make our own mistakes, that we know what we are doing, and they should treat us as adults! (Wow, that takes me back to my high school days!) But we have decided to just nod our heads and tell them “Yes, we’ll do what you ask” and then live our lives as we want – but doing it safely. And hope the crystal ball isn’t showing us our future when we are older.

The cartoonist who in 1934 created the satirical comic strip Li'l Abner, featuring a fictional clan of impoverished hillbillies in Dogpatch, USA, was Alfred Gerald Caplin known to all of us as Al Capp. And many people also remembered Sadie Hawkins Day, a day when the girls asked the boys out (and the day I feared the most in high school because I might be asked to a dance - which fortunately rarely happened). I received correct answers from Sam Bilyeu, Jess Birge, Betsy Ayres, Jim Donnelly from Parkdale, Delores Schrader, Dave Lutgens, Rhonda Spies, Carol Earl and Marla Skroch this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

This will be the last “What use to beeeeeee there!” question. But even if you haven’t lived in The Dalles for thirty plus years, you probably still remember going to a drive-in movie theater - and maybe even going to do more than just watch the movie.

For this week’s “Remember When” question, what were the names of two drive-in theaters in The Dalles, one located on the bluff at Columbia View Heights and the other where Home Depot is now? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the name of the third drive-in theater that was in The Dalles.

Well, it’s been another week, over too soon and too soon forgotten. Until we meet again, you know you’re past your prime when the reason for taking your wife out for a late night drive to a dark secluded spot is to - set up a brand new telescope!

"The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter." -- Mark Twain

Aging Well in the Gorge May 27th 2020

For the last eight weeks I’ve focused on COVID-19 related issues from how to receive your Economic Impact Payment (which most of you should have received by now) through coping with self-isolation to last week’s column about how to wear and care for your facemask.

So, I’d like to change the channel and share something totally unrelated: words we seldom use any more – well, at least by most people.  

Words such as thingamajig or whatchamacallit - which I often used when I forgot the name of something. (No one thought I was old because I couldn’t remember. I was only seventeen! But now because of my age, it’s a “senior moment”.)

And do you remember these words and expressions? Fat city, cruisin for a bruisin, wet rag, fink, out to lunch, give me the skinny, passion pit, made in the shade (which is different from today’s “throwing some shade” which I have no idea whether it is a complement or an insult!). Or how about discombobulated, nincompoop, whippersnapper, canoodle, poppycock, skedaddle, brouhaha, catawampus, persnickety. Or how about …

““Okay, McKay, I’ve heard enough! Change the channel back!”

I will next week. But hold on. I have a pop quiz for you (which was forwarded to me by someone, some time ago.)

So, get out your paper and pencil and see how many of the following ten words from “days gone by” you still remember.

1. What were "cooties"? a) Tiny cookies, b) Earrings, c) Prizes in cereal boxes, d) Imaginary infestations. 2. If a woman was "stacked", what did she have? a) Too much eye makeup, b) Beehive hairdo, c) Large breasts, d) Tall stature. 3. What was a "flattop"? a) Skateboard, b) Haircut, c) Table, d) Stupid person. 4. If a girl had a reputation as "fast", what was she? a) Skinny, b) Goodie two shoes, c) Sexually active, d) Reckless driver. 5. What were "dibs"? a) Nerds, b) Candy, c) Claims, d) Hair styles. 6. What was a "spaz"? a) Cold cut, b) Russian astronaut, c) Uncoordinated person, d) Candy mint. 7. What was a "blast"? a) A dance, b) A Coca-cola and Seven-Up mixture, c) A television commercial, d) A good time. 8. What were you if you had a lot of "bread"? a) Uncool, b) Fat, c) Rich, d) Smart. 9. If a person were to "go ape", what would they do? a) Dance funny, b) Become angry, c) Dress sloppily, d) Date an ugly person. 10. What was a "pad"? a) Residence, b) Notebook, c) Article of clothing, d) Paid advertisement.

I suspect you remembered most of them if not all. (If you are unsure, I have posted the answers on the Center’s website.) But words, as with smells and tastes, can bring back special memories – memories of those pre-teen years when the opposite sex was just a distraction, of conversations on the playground during recess or just silly adolescent pranks. How about you? Did any of these words trigger lost memories?

The actor who played the “Man with No Name” in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly was Clint Eastwood. I received correct answers from Sam Bilyeu, Jess Birge, Diana Weston, Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, Judy Skelton and Felton Jenkins from White Salmon, who is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

I’ve been told that week’s question was too easy, but I hope this week’s is a little more challenging.  

I remember reading my favorite newspaper comic strips every day and especially on Sundays when they were larger and printed in color. One of the most popular was Li’l Abner a satirical comic strip featuring a fictional clan of hillbillies in the impoverished mountain village of Dogpatch, USA. The strip was even censored in 1947 by the Scripps newspaper company because they thought it wasn’t “sound citizenship to picture the Senate as an assemblage of freaks and crooks... boobs and undesirables."

For this week’s “Remember When” question, who created this comic strip that entertained many and irritated a few? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with an explanation of Sadie Hawkins day which many of you may have celebrated in the 50’s and 60’s.  

Well, it’s been another week, remembering the past and looking to the future. Until we meet again, you know you are living the good life when you can enjoy a thrilling television mystery for the second time, and you are still surprised by the ending!

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.” Charles Schultz


1. What were "cooties"? d) Imaginary infestations. 2. If a woman was "stacked", what did she have? c) Large breasts. 3. What was a "flattop"? b) Haircut. 4. If a girl had a reputation as "fast", what was she? c) Sexually active. 5. What were "dibs"? c) Claims. 6. What was a "spaz"? c) Uncoordinated person. 7. What was a "blast"? d) A good time. 8. What were you if you had a lot of "bread"? c) Rich. 9. If a person were to "go ape", what would they do? b) Become angry. 10. What was a "pad"? a) Residence.

Aging Well in the Gorge May 20th 2020

As the state starts reopening, we are all holding our breath hoping that the dreaded “second wave” doesn’t come ashore - while wishing life could return to the way it once was when we only had to worry about our next doctor’s appointment, our loving but controlling adult children, or whether the season is going to be too dry – or too wet.

I don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon and as older adults I’m afraid we are going to be the last ones off the bus.

But we have learned to adapt - washing our hands more often, maintaining a social distance of six feet, and wearing face masks in public. (I would encourage everyone to also wear a large name-tag so I can tell who the heck I’m talking to!)

Because of this new normal, there has been a tremendous need for face masks and in the Gorge local groups and individuals have responded by making thousands of masks: The Mid-Columbia Senior Center Quilters Group, Gorge Makers Collective, Goldendale Mask Mission, MCMC Sewers, Northshore Community Masks and The Dalles Art Center Mask Kit project. If you still need a mask, you can pick one up in The Dalles by calling the Center at 541-296-4788; and in Hood River you can stop by the FISH food bank if you’re unable to purchase one commercially, but supplies are running low.

But how do you use and care for your mask to protect yourself and others?

The basic principle is always assuming the face mask has virus/germs on it. Make sure it fits properly and always use the same side of the mask against your mouth. And then the hardest part. Do not touch the front of mask while wearing it! When you want to remove the face mask (or adjust it which I often need to do) use the elastic “ear buds” that wrap around your ears.

Masks should be washed after each use. Scrub your mask with soap, any kind of soap works, in a sink for twenty seconds – the same as you would with your hands. When finished, rinse out the sink. And after handling a used mask always wash your hands thoroughly.

If you want a better explanation, the Gorge Makers Collective has made an excellent video explaining how to care and wash your face mask. You can find it on the Center’s website ( under the COVID-19 tab.

The comedian on Saturday Night Live who played Emily Litella and used the catchphrase “Oh, never mind” was Gilda Radner. I received correct answers from Lana Tepfer, Patty Burnet, Barbara Cadwell, Rhonda Spies, Posie, Julie Carter (who reminded me that Gilda was married to Gene Wilder), and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Kathleen Korwin.

If you are new to this column, you may be asking "What do you mean I can win a quilt raffle ticket?” Throughout the year (when they aren’t making face masks) The Center’s Quilters sew several quilts to be raffled during the year including The Dalles Cherry Festival (which has been postponed to July 3rd – 5th) as a fundraiser for the Center. If you are a “Remember When” winner, you’ll have your name entered into the drawing - and you never know, you may win a beautiful handmade quilt!

Low budget Westerns made in Italy, commonly called “Spaghetti” westerns, were derided by critics as being inferior to American westerns until the success of the Dollars Trilogy by Italian director Sergio Leone. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who played the “Man with No Name” in these films which included The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly now considered one of the greatest and most influential Western movies ever made? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a photograph of Rowdy Yates, the young character in Rawhide.

Now I think I have time to squeeze in two of several “self-isolation” jokes forwarded to me by Lana Tepfer.

Ontario has banned groups larger than 5. If you’re a family of 6, you’re all about to find out who’s the least favorite!

After a few days of not going out, I saw someone I knew walking by on the sidewalk outside. I immediately ran to the window and started yelling to them. Now I understand dogs.

Well, it’s been another week, wondering where April went. Until we meet again, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in....

“Courage can overcome fear… almost as well as hiding under the bed.” Anonymous

Aging Well in the Gorge May 13th 2020

You may be venturing out more because you’re going crazy!; or there are just some items you need: plants for the garden, your prescriptions and toilet paper (shop early).

When you do go shopping, the North Central Public Health District has several tips on how to be a more considerate shopper. The focus is grocery shopping, but most can apply to any type of shopping.

1. Practice physical distancing. – I don’t think I need to tell you how many feet you should keep between yourself and others.
2. Wear a cloth mask when in public places. As the state cautiously reopens, wearing a mask in public places may be a necessary recommendation.
3. Clean your cart with disinfecting wipes before you shop; and consider being a Good Samaritan and wiping it down after you use it, too.
4. Limit your time in the store. Create a list and stick to it. (And I suggest spending no more than ten minutes looking for that item your wife MUST have!)
5. Buy smart and don’t overfill your carts. Overbuying can prevent your neighbor from providing for their family.
6. Go to the store less often and replace items that are missing with a substitute instead of visiting a second store. And buy locally made products when possible. (The Dalles Farmer’s Market opens June 6th with appropriate customer expectations.)
7. Avoid the WIC label when you can, because the WIC program covers some brands and not others. If you can choose brands that aren't WIC-marked, you may be helping low income women, infants and children who already have limited access to food.
8. And finally, be patient, be kind. We are ALL in this together.

If you find it difficult to prepare a healthy meal because you are staying home, the rules for who can receive a home delivered meal have changed. Now ANYONE sixty and over is eligible. Call your local meals-on-wheels program (in The Dalles it’s 541-298-8333) or call Tammy at the Area Agency on Aging (1-458-854-4100) to find what is available in your area.

A shout out to the Columbia Basin Blues Band of Rob Garrett and his talented team of musicians for playing at the Center’s first Drive-Thru Concert last Friday night. The goal was to have fun and raise money for The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels program and both were accomplished. It was a sight to see, cars parked as in a drive-in movie theater - except there weren’t the clunky speakers hanging on the car windows. And in addition to clapping, there were horns honking in appreciation. It was a “let’s do it again” kind of night.

The Freebridge Brewery is in the historical The Dalles Mint, and Sedition Brewery is in the old Stadleman Ice House which when operating was the largest ice and cold storage plant in Eastern Oregon. And if you caught the connection, the former Bonney Saddle Shop is now the location for the Baldwin Saloon. I only received correct answers from a couple of floozies: Sandy Haechrel and Mary Davis - both winners of a quilt raffle ticket.

Saturday Night Live was a must see for many of us (during those days when staying up past 11:30 wasn’t such a challenge). Some of the early stars were Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Akyrold, Bill Murray, and Jane Curtin playing such memorable characters as the Coneheads, the Blues Brothers and Baba Wawa. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what comedian played the character of Emily Litella who spoke the well-known catchphrase (which I often have to use), “Oh, never mind”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a link to a YouTube video of Roseanne Roseannadanna.

Now it is time to put away your worries and enjoy a couple funny observations – well, at least my wife laughed.

“I was a boring child. Whenever we played doctor, the other children made me the anesthesiologist.” Rita Rudner

“As the light changed from red to green to yellow and back to red again, I sat there thinking about life. Was it nothing more than a bunch of honking and yelling? Sometimes it seemed that way.” Jack Handley

Well, it’s been another week, looking forward to being able to hang-out at my favorite coffee shop. Until we meet again, it never happens to you - until it happens.

“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives, and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday.”  John Wayne

Aging in the Gorge May 6th 2020

It’s been said, it’s okay to talk to yourself, it’s even okay to answer yourself, but if you start saying HUH?, then it’s time to worry!

We may not need to worry, but we are constantly talking to ourselves. And during these times of uncertainty and even fear, this self-talk can increase our anxiety.

It’s important to understand that we cannot control anxiety from occurring. This is our brain’s automatic survival mechanism. What matters is learning how to respond to anxiety helpfully, so that we don’t get carried away by it.

So what can you do? The first thing is to eat a large bowl of ice cream! No, that’s probably not a good idea, but it works for me!

Instead DON’T ignore your feelings. But DO accept your feelings. It is often an important first step to feeling calmer - realizing what is bothering you so you can deal with it.

DON’T let your mind make a mountain out of a mole hill - always jumping to the worse-case scenario usually focusing on what you can’t control. But DO notice these thoughts and redirect your attention to what you can control. You can’t control the news, but you can control what you watch, what you eat, and the connections you make. 

DON’T accept all your thoughts as facts. But DO ask yourself. “Is this thought true, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind.”

DON’T allow yourself to be constantly bored. But DO find distracting activities. When you are focused on an activity it can make you feel happier, more motivated and energized. But sometimes I’ve found it takes a good kick in the buttocks to start.

Learning how to recognize and reduce anxiety is an extremely helpful life skill no matter the circumstances. To learn more, check out the “Coronavirius Anxiety Workbook” posted on the Center’s website under the COVID-19 tab.

The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels wants to thank everyone for the support they have received during these difficult times: the new drivers who have stepped forward, The Dalles Rotary who donated their catered meals for four Wednesdays when they couldn’t meet; Whiting Turner Contracting who once a week donates meals from Mamma Janes; Beachwood Eatery and Cobblestone Catering; McDonalds for donating gift cards to all the drivers; and the finally the generous financial donations they have received. They couldn’t do the important work they do without your support.

With COVID-19 and the social distancing, you have to be creative to have some fun. With that in mind, the Center is hosting a Drive-thru Band Concert FUNraiser for Meals-on-Wheels in the Center’s parking lot on Friday, May 8th from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. It will feature the Columbia Basin Blues Band (no relation to Columbia Basin Care Facility) playing pop, rock and blues. Think of it as part drive-in movie theater and dragging the gut (or in this case the Center’s parking lot).

To play this game, a team was on each side of a building and before throwing a ball over they would yell out “Annie, Annie Over”. I received correct answers from Anna O’Donnell, Jess Birge, Sandy Lutgens, Mary Ann Haas, Virginia Johnson, Judy Frey, and Jeannie Pesicks. And Barbara Cadwell remembers the game as “Auntie-I-Over”; Rhonda Spies “Ante Over” and Lana Tepfer “Ollie, Ollie Oxen”. The winner of a quilt raffle ticket has to be Diane Weston who suggested such a great question.

It’s the first Wednesday so it’s time for “What use to beeeeeee there!” and the theme is “Bottom’s Up”. Two downtown breweries are in historical buildings. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what were the historical buildings Freebridge Brewery and Sedition Brewery now occupy? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of the Bonney Saddle Shop.

And before I go, which many of you are thinking “It’s about time!”, here are three more quotes for your enjoyment.

“Talking about yourself proves only one thing: you’re still unable to tell the difference between good and bad company.” Guy Finley
“One advantage of talking to your self is that you know at least one person is listening.” Franklin P. Jones
“Of course I talk to myself – sometimes I need expert advice.” Edward Henheffer

Well, it’s been another week, wondering, “Who was that masked man I just talked to!” Until we meet again, stay safe and stay strong.

“The older I get, the greater power I seem to have to help the world; I am like a snowball - the further I am rolled the more I gain.”  Susan B. Anthony

Meals-on-Wheels daily menus but may change because of donations from local restaurants.

Thursday (7) Meat Loaf
Friday (8) Open Face Turkey Sandwich
Monday (11) Salisbury Steak
Tuesday (12) Pork Roast
Wednesday (13) Chicken Fried Steak

Aging Well in the Gorge April 29th 2020

Governor Brown announced a “Framework for Opening Oregon” but there are still details to work out with all the stakeholders, so any idea when we will get back to the new normal is anyone’s guess and probably wrong. For some of you, this has been a time to catchup and do things you haven’t thought about or had the time to do; reread books you enjoyed ten years ago, watch Bringing up Baby with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant - again, or learn to bake a pizza napoletana as they do in Naples, Italy where pizza was born.

Then for many of you, you have been inside long enough and about ready to go bananas! (Do people still use that expression – or am I showing my age?)

But they say for every cloud there is a silver lining, and one benefit I have found is that many events are being held virtually so I am able to attend when otherwise I wouldn’t. An example was the Ageless Awards held in Portland last Thursday sponsored by the non-profit Age+ that recognized individuals over 75 who have contributed to their communities and are a role model for all of us. (You may recall that with the help of Age+ the Center sponsored the Wasco County Ageless Awards last year recognizing Lucille Petersen, Terry Stoddard, Bill Hamilton and Prudence Amick.)

The Ageless Awards was quite an inspiration: hearing the accomplishments and what motivated the three recipients of the award. One of the recipients you may recognize: Bev Clarno, who served in the Oregon House of Representatives (Speaker of the House from 1995 – 1997) and in the Oregon Senate; and at the age of 83 was appointed by Kate Brown in 2019 to serve as Secretary State. She described herself as not the oldest but the most experienced person to ever have filled that position.

During her acceptance, she made two points that spoke to me. She said that at the age of 83 she still wants to stay engaged because it makes her feel worthy. And she believes adults over 75 can do more than they allow themselves to do. Good advice. We may not reach the heights she has reached, but we can still do more than we think we can, helping others and caring for ourselves.

Time for another dose of humor. While researching next week’s column about talking to yourself (well, that’s not exactly right, but you’ll find out), I read about Franklin P. Jones, a Philadelphia reporter and humorist. He was known nationally during the 1940s and 50s for his column "Put it this Way" in the Saturday Evening Post (do you still remember the magazine?) which set a record as the magazine’s longest continuously published feature.

Here are a few of his many quips.

“Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.”
“A fanatic is one who sticks to his guns whether they're loaded or not.”
“The easiest way to solve a problem is to pick an easy one.”
“Nothing makes you more tolerant of a neighbor's noisy party than being there.”
“Love doesn't make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.”

The influential singer thought by many as the King of Soul for his distinctive vocals and importance within popular music was "You Send Me" Sam Cooke. I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Carol Salusso, Kim Birge, Patty Burnet, Dave Lutgens, Carol Earl (who I missed last week), Lana Tepfer and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket: Julie Davis.

In grade school I remember playing my favorite games during recess: four square, dodge ball, and touch football. Diane Weston remembers playing another game during recess. See if it’s one you remember. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the game where kids divided into two teams, one on each side of a building and before throwing a ball over the building would yell out the name of this game so the other side would know the ball was coming? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of Diane’s one room schoolhouse in North Park, Colorado.

Well, it’s been another week, enjoying meeting people while out walking. Until we meet again, do something fun.

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” Harry S Truman


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