Updated May 16th, 2020


The Center's Quilters are sewng Homemade Face Masks to help fulfill the need in the area. If you would like a mask, call the Center at 541-296-4788 and leave your name, phone number, address and the number of masks you need.


The Center is closed and all classes and activities are canceled except for MEDICARE HELP (call the local coordinator at 541-288-8341) and the MEDICAL EQUIPMENT LOAN CLOSET (call 541-296-4788 to see if we have the equipment you need and to schedule a time for pick-up.)

TAX AIDE has been canceled indefinitely but the filing date has been extended to July 15th. I have not heard if or when the program will start again.


The eligibility for a home delivered meal has changed to include anyone 60 and over. If you would like a home delivered meal call Meals-on-Wheels at 541-298-8333 or if you would like to pick up a meal call before 10:00 and pick up your meal at noon but not before.


Circles of Care is looking for older adults who are self-isolating and need support during these difficult times. Because of the situation they are limiting their assistance to picking up groceries and check-in calls. Call Gracen 541-397-0724 or email her at gbookmyer@ageplus.org.

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 (www.midcolumbiaseniorcenter.com) 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 mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, 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 mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, 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 mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, 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

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