Aging Well in the Gorge - November 25th 2020

Does it feel like the Grinch is trying to steal Thanksgiving as well as Christmas? Wait! That was last week’s opening line! Well, you’re right. But since last week I’ve been thinking (which for me is dangerous) that because large family gatherings are being discouraged, many folks are feeling the Grinch has stolen Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because of the focus on the family: families coming together, eating a scrumptious dinner - usually cooked by someone else. (We always did our share by stopping at the store and buying several pies - but they were the best pies!). But isn’t Thanksgiving more than family gatherings? More than eating way too much turkey and mashed potatoes? With all the disruptions this year, I have realized more than ever it is about what the name says: giving thanks.

 

We may not have all we wish we had, but we can be thankful for what we do have - from the most fundamental, we’re still breathing right?, to those special joys in our life such as our grandchildren. The Grinch can’t take all of that away. And this year without the Thanksgiving preparations, we can spend the day appreciating all our blessings while looking forward to next year when we can once again gather around the dining room table on Thanksgiving Day.

 

While cleaning up my office at home (which I need to do more often than I do) I found a worn and discolored 3x5 card listing ten controlling principles. Of course, this was written yeaaarrrrrrrrs ago so I’m not sure what the context was, but I thought they were appropriate for this Thanksgiving season. See if you agree.

 

1) Buy for usefulness and not status. 2) Reject anything producing addiction and that is more than just drugs. 3) Develop habit of giving things away. 4) Refuse gadgetry. 5) Learn to enjoy without owning. 6) Develop appreciation for creation. 7) Be skeptical of buy now pay later. 8) Use plain honest speech. 9) Reject anything that will breed the oppression of others. 10) Shun whatever would distract you from your main goal.

 

I know I miss the mark on several of those principles (I am a sucker for new gadgetry and I am often distracted) but it helped remind me how to live a simpler life and to realize what is really important as I grow older.

 

I received a nice note from Stella Harr in White Salmon asking that I include both sides of the river. My reply is “I’m trying! I’m trying!” It’s taking me a while to adjust to the broader audience and living in The Dalles I am more familiar with The Dalles area and the Oregon side of the river. For example, I know about The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 Reverse Starlight Parade on Friday evening where this year you can drive by and view the floats from your car. I tried but couldn’t find where to look for the Thanksgiving events in other Gorge communities. But Stella, I will keep working at it.

 

The hilarious 1978 Thanksgiving television episode about a promotion involving the dropping of twenty live turkeys from a helicopter mistakenly thinking the turkeys would gently float down to the ground and give Cincinnati a pleasant Thanksgiving surprise was conceived by the bored station manager of WKRP in Cincinnati. (You can still watch it on YouTube.) I received correct answers from Jeanne Pesicka, Lana Tepfer, Barbara Cadwell, Tim Annala, Dave Lutgens, Sandy Haerchrel, Jess Birge, Emmett Sampson, Keith Clymer and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Chuck Rice from Goldendale.

 

There are several iconic paintings celebrating Thanksgiving in America including Freedom from Want, also known as The Thanksgiving Picture by this American artist. For this week’s “Remember When” question who was this American author, painter and illustrator most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine over nearly five decades. Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a copy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address, known as “Four Freedoms” which included freedom of speech and religion and freedom from want and fear.

 

Well, it’s been another week waiting for the right moment. Until we meet again, looking on the bright side will lighten up your day.

 

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

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