Aging in the Gorge January 26th, 2022

Did you know children laugh an average of four hundred times a day compared to adults who laugh only an average of twenty-five? Okay, that may just be a myth, but we can all admit we laugh much less than children. (Of course, it’s hard to compete when young children giggle every time they hear the word “poop”!) 

We should laugh more because it’s been shown that laughing is good for us. According to the Mayo Clinic website, it can stimulate your heart, lungs, and muscles and improve your immune system.  

In addition, laughter can also help us both socially and emotionally: strengthening our relationships with others, improving our mood, reducing tension and stress, and helping us endure difficult situations. Bob Hope once said, “I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.” 

But I’ve found there is a fine line between funny and offensive - and that line is different for all of us. What’s particularly tricky is a comment can be funny or offensive depending on the content, context, and who is telling the joke to whom. I often poke fun at myself for my memory slips, but if a young person makes fun of their grandmother’s spotty memory (who could be younger than I am) it bothers me. Those types of comments reinforce an offensive stereotype of all “old” people by someone who probably doesn’t know many older folks with all their talents.  

So have you found your inner child and laughed today? If not see if any of these jokes tickle your funny bone. 

“I went grocery shopping hungry yesterday. I’m now the proud owner of aisle 9.” Ruth Buzzi 

“Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way.” Steve Martin 

“Yesterday I told a chicken to cross the road. It said, "what for?" Steve Wright 

And finally, one more - just between us. 

Two elderly couples were enjoying friendly conversation when one of the men asked the other,” Fred, how was the memory clinic you went to last month?” “Outstanding,” Fred replied. “They taught us all the latest psychological techniques: visualization, association, etc. It was great.” “That’s great! And what was the name of the clinic?” Fred went blank. He thought and thought but couldn’t remember. Then a smile broke across his face and he asked, “What do you call that flower with the long stem and thorns?” 

“You mean a rose?” 

“Yes, that’s it!” He turned to his wife, “Rose, what was the name of that memory clinic?” 

This week find time to be with folks who laugh, to tell a few jokes, and watch your favorite comedies. But if you find it difficult to keep a sense of humor, consider what Art Linkletter suggests you do. “If you can’t think of anything else when you’re my age, take off your clothes and walk in front of a mirror. I guarantee you’ll get a laugh.” 

The 1952 musical romantic comedy film about the transition from silent film to talkies starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Jean Hagen, and 19-year-old Debbie Reynolds was Singing in the Rain. I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, Linda Frizzell, Barbara Cadwell, Doug Nelson, Gene Uczen, Dave Lutgens, Rebecca Abrams, and Cindy Winfield who is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Jess Birge 

Remember the novelty songs from the 50s and 60s:  "The Purple People Eater", "Witch Doctor", Monster Mash", and ”Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor On The Bedpost Over Night?" Let’s see if you can answer this week’s “Remember When” question about the 1958 novelty song “Beep, Beep” sung by the Playmates. The song describes, in an increasingly faster tempo, a Cadillac being followed and then passed by what make of car? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with a picture from the 1950s of the AMC's assembly plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  

Well, it’s been another week, trying to find more yeses than nos. Until we meet again, I know I’m getting older when in the morning I spend more time taking my medications and vitamins than eating breakfast! 


Aging Well in the Gorge January 19th 2022

What can I do on a cold and snowy winter day? I’m not a skier or snowboarder as some of you are, I’d rather stay someplace warm, so my wife and I decided to finally start sorting through all our stuff stored in our 3500 square foot house and donating, recycling, or tossing what we no longer need - like an early spring cleaning!

But what should I get rid of? Recently on the AARP website, I found “13 Things to Throw Away Right Now“ by Nicole Pajer explaining how to adopt a minimalistic lifestyle. Now, you may be thinking, “Doesn’t minimalism mean those sterile white houses with empty walls and uncomfortable furniture?” It doesn’t have to be. As Nicole points out, a minimalistic lifestyle is about keeping what enhances your life by serving a purpose or bringing joy - and getting rid of what doesn't. In other words, does the item add value to your life?

She mentions the more obvious things to discard that we often don’t: damaged items - may be that chipped favorite mug should finally go; clothes that don't fit anymore – donate them to a non-profit thrift store; extras or duplicates - how many coffee cups do you really need?; items from a past phase of your life such as an abandoned hobby or business clothes - am I ever going to wear a tie again?; and photos which I’ll write about in the future.

But she also pointed out one category of items I’ve always found difficult discarding: “just-in-case” items. How much stuff in my kitchen junk drawer and my basement will I ever use that can’t be replaced for less than $20 if needed? Not much.

As I look around the house there are three other categories of items I would quickly add to her list starting with the “maybe-someday” items. That includes all my books and magazines that I might make time to read, someday, maybe? Then there are the “might-be-valuable” items. In that group are all my record albums from the 60s. Maybe I can sell them on E-bay! (Does anyone want to buy a 45 rpm record of the “House of a Rising Sun” by the Animals?) And the last category, things “maybe-my-children-will-want”. You don’t need to worry. They don’t!

Here is one last tip: avoid just organizing all your stuff – which is my first go-to answer to all the clutter. As pointed out in the article, organizing is just well-planned hoarding

I have found it is not easy sorting through all my stuff because of the memories that come flooding back. But it’s also difficult because I am asking myself what is important in my life, now. What adds value to the rest of my life? By adopting a minimalist lifestyle there will be less things to take care of and more time to spend on what you want to do in the many years ahead. As my mother-in-law said, “After those items are gone, you don’t really miss them.”

I received a variety of correct answers for last week’s question about the name of the common antiseptic from the ’50s that some called “Monkey Blood”. Those answers included mercurochrome which most people answered; Merthiolate which I remember using; and Betadine and tincture of iodine. I received correct answers from Lucile Stephens, Louise Wooderson, Billie Maxwell, Doug Nelson, Douglas Earnst, Barbara Cadwell, Cindy Wambach, Lana Tepfer, Donna Mollett, Rebecca Abrams, Gene Uczen, Rhonda Spies, Shirley Cox, and Michelle Himes whose favorite memory was of her and her sister adding Mercurochrome to baby oil to get a tan, and who is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Rebecca Abrams.

Regarded by many as the greatest musical film ever made, and one of my favorites, what was the name of this romantic comedy about the transition from silent film to talkies starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, and Jean Hagen? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of Cyd Charisse in a green sequined dress.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to hear what is meaningful through all the noise. Until we meet again, you don’t know your limits until you exceed them.

 “If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused.” Walter Mondale

Aging Well in the Gorge January 12th 2022

 What don’t you want to talk to your children about? I mean besides sex. How about money.

This was pointed out by Rodney A. Brooks in his article “Family and Finances: Avoiding ‘The Talk’?”. He shares the advice of financial planners who believe older adults need to discuss their finances with their children. And children also need to review how their parents are doing with their finances.

(Whoa! Now wait a minute. Do I really want my children knowing about my finances with the certain lectures about how they should be handled? It was bad enough when my children said we had to stay home during the first year of the pandemic. We had to lie to go to the store!)

But the unexpected does happen: dementia, incapacitation, or death. Then your children will have no idea about your financial situation leaving your children in a mad scramble to figure things out without your help.

So why do many of us avoid family discussions about finances?

As I mentioned, we may feel the more people who know our financial situation, particularly our children, the greater chance of losing control and being told what we should do.

Also, it’s often hard to know how to begin the conversation. We don’t have much experience discussing money matters. It’s something we just don’t talk about. 

Finally, we don’t want our children to act differently knowing of their potential inheritance. Do my children care about me or their inheritance? (I don’t have to worry. My children know there won’t be an inheritance. They’re just relieved knowing they won’t be responsible for any of my debts!)

What are some ways to avoid difficulties when having “the talk” about your finances? According to several financial advisors, there are three actions you should consider.

Create one family financial organizer you can share with your children that includes key contacts, bank accounts, investment accounts, insurance policies, wills/trusts, and passwords. You can find different organizers on Amazon.

Identify a trusted advisor: someone who does NOT have power of attorney or authority to act on your behalf. Share their name with your financial advisor, if you have one, in case they feel things don’t seem right.

And as with most uncomfortable topics, it helps to have honest and direct communication - which is always easier said than done.

Your children are not the only ones to talk with. Does your spouse understand your financial situation? Often there is one in the marriage who is responsible for the financial decisions. You might feel more comfortable discussing finances with your children by first having a discussion with your spouse.

Think about having “the talk”. You don’t want to leave your children, and your spouse, the difficult, complex, and usually expensive responsibility of cleaning up your estate.

To read “Family and Finances: Avoiding ‘The Talk’” click here where you'll find more financial resources and virtual classes.

The 1961 television sitcom featuring a talking palomino horse and Wilbur Post his hapless owner was Mister Ed. (I apologize if you now hear the theme song “a horse is a horse, of course, of course” constantly echoing through your brain!) I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Barbara Cadwell, Doug Nelson, Emmett Sampson, Gene Uczen, Dave Lutgens. Kim Birge, Lana Tepfer, Steven Woolpert, Julie Carter, Jack Bisset, Keith Clymer, Jim and Betsy Ayres, Tina Castanares, Kathy Vawter, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket: Margo Dameier who received a Mr. Ed talking hand puppet for Christmas when she was in 4th grade! And last week I missed Lana Tepfer.

This week’s question is about a common antiseptic from the ’50s. When I had a cut or scrape, my mom would paint it with this orange liquid that always stung. (But if I blew on it, the stinging would go away!)  What was the trade name of this antiseptic that some called “Monkey Blood”? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with your favorite memory of this antiseptic.

Well, it’s been another week and another quarter in the parking meter of life. Until we meet again, I know I should appreciate each season, and I do, but is it too early to start wishing it was spring?

 “A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” Carl Reiner


Aging Well in the Gorge January 5th 2022

 Wow. It’s a new year and I’m still writing this column!  

I know some of you have heard Im retiring as Director of the Mid-Columbia Senior CenterBut retirement can be seen not as a time to withdraw, but a time to reprioritize what is important. In my case, working is still a priorityalthough part-timebut has moved down the list behind enjoying more time with my wife, reading more - especially the three books my children recently gave metraveling, (Although when working I had the money to travel, but didn’t have much time. And now retired I’ll have more time but less money!) and volunteeringI’ll also continue writing this column until I run out of ideas or the words to express them. We’ll see how long that lasts.    

As we enter a new year, I hope to continue sharing useful and practical information about agingoffering encouragement because as we all know getting older is not a piece of cakeanof course, having some fun along the way, because life can be WAY too serious! And you’ll continue finding that this column is not very sophisticated. I’m just not that smartSo if you're looking for writing that’s more polished and refined, it ain’t gonna be here.


Writing this column has been a gift for which I will always be thankful. In our lives, all of us have been blessed with gifts from loved ones, friends, and possibly even from strangers. After reading this month’s Through the Eyes of an Elder where local older adults share the most memorable gifts they have receivedtake time to appreciate the special gifts you have been given. 

I know this is a little late, but its still only January, right! And I know there is still plenty of ice and snow to come. But if you must go outside on these wintry days, don’t forget to “walk like a penguin”! What does that mean? So you don’t have to watch a National Geographic special about penguins, it means pointing your feet out slightly, bending your knees and keeping them loose, extending your arms out to your side and hands out of your pockets, and taking short steps or waddling. I also suggest you dress in a more formal black and white attire to really get into the mood. 

In addition, since we haven’t evolved webbed feet yet, wear shoes or boots with traction. And try some defensive walking: assume all wet and dark areas on the pavement are icy - especially around snowbanks where the melt-off freezes overnight. And if it’s still too treacherous, stay home. A quick trip to the store isn’t worth a broken hip. 

Whether it’s icy or not, this is a good time to remember that falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults. So, don’t rush, stay focused, and “walk like a penguin”! 

Okay, let’s see if I can correctly list all of you who have sent in answers for the last two week’s questions.  

The popular snack strung together to decorate a Christmas tree was popcorn. I received correct answers from Lana Tepfer, Dave Lutgens, Gene Uczen, Keith and Marlene Clymer, Carol Earl, Susan Ellis, and Chuck Rice. 

And the comedian/actor whose theme song was “Thanks for the Memory” was Bob Hope. For that question, I received correct answers from Rose SchulzBarbara Cadwell, Doug Nelson, Rhonda Spies, Dave Lutgens, and Rebecca AbramsThe winners of quilt raffle tickets for the last two weeks are Chuck Rice and Dave Lutgens.


First, there was the movie Francis which premiered in 1950 and starring Francis the talking mule and Donald O’Connor. Then in 1961, television sitcom featured a talking palomino horse and Wilbur Post his hapless owner. For this week’s Remember When question what was the name of this television series? E-mail your answers to, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with the episode when Mae West was a guest star. 

Well, it’s been another week, tangled up in all my loose ends. Until we meet again, as anonymous once said, “As you slide down the banisters of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way”. 

“Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” Hal Borland 


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