Living Well December 20th

I remember this time of the year as a special time with young children playing around the house, excited and full of anticipation waiting for Santa’s arrival. But since my own kids have grown, left their safe harbor for college and careers beyond, it just isn’t the same. No longer is there time for the whole family to search for that perfect Christmas tree, judging and debating which tree would look best in the living room corner – and afterwards spending the evening decorating it with our children’s handmade ornaments saved from elementary school Christmas projects.

Seldom do we drive around town after the Christmas Eve church service to “ohhh” and “ahhh’ at the houses illuminated with festive colors, first began when it was the only way to get the little ones asleep on the “night before”. And no longer do we frantically wrap the presents after the children fell asleep so they could magically appear under the Christmas tree – just as Santa would had left them. Now it is gift cards and frantic after Christmas shopping – looking for those special bargains on items too expensive or frivolous to purchase during the rest of the year.

But it is not all lost traditions. There are new ones. Now every Christmas day the family Skype’s with sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles living back east – while still learning the social protocols of visiting long distance in this strange and curious way. Then afterwards we help serve dinner with friends at Community Meals which always reminds us of the special meaning of Christmas.

And whether traditions are lost or gained, my wife and I can be thankful our kids will again be home for Christmas, because we know some day they will be far away creating Christmas traditions with their own families. And we will be left with memories, although faded and torn around the edges, of the wonder and joy of many Christmas pasts. Then one day – maybe, just maybe – it will all return with the sound of little feet once again running around the house as the grandkids come to visit their grandpa and grandma during this special time of the year.

The Hardshell Harmony will be playing their entertaining brand of bluegrass next Tuesday the 27th for those who are looking for something to do between Christmas and New Years. And tonight if you have all your Christmas shopping completed, wrapped and shipped, Truman will be playing his country favorites.  The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00 and you can skedaddle home by 9:00. Everyone is invited and donations are always appreciated.

During the week after Christmas most of the activities at the Center are cancelled, leaving time to catch up on some painting, cleaning and basic maintenance (and for one of Santa’s elves – or maybe a whole crew – to clean out my office before someone gets hurt.) More specifically, there will not be Bingo this Thursday night the 22nd or on Christmas Eve. Also Meals-on- Wheels will not be serving lunch this coming Friday before Christmas, but will be serving on the Monday after Christmas. The Center will be open both days. And on Monday, January 2nd, both Meals-on-Wheels and the Center will be closed to watch the Rose Bowl and root for the home team! (But no predictions this year – my cockiness has not done me well in the past!)

George Gipp, who is purported to have said “Win one for the gipper”, played for the University of Notre Dame and was portrayed by Ronald Reagan in the movie “Knute Rockne, All American”. (From the ten correct responses, Jess BIrge was the winner of five quilt raffle tickets)

For this week’s “Remember When” question, how about a Christmas quote and a chance to win a $10 bingo packet for Saturday Night Bingo. What was the name of the 1954 movie where two army buddies try to save the lodge run and owned by their WWII commanding officer? (In the movie Phil Davis says to Bob Wallace “When what’s left of you gets around to what’s left to be gotten, what’s left to be gotten won’t be worth getting, whatever it is you’ve got left.” and Bob replies “When I figure out what that means I’ll come up with a crushing reply.”) Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or bring it to the Center with a box of phonograph record of songs written by Irving Berlin”.

Well, it’s been another week counting my many blessings. Until we meet again, may all of you have a very merry Christmas.

Aging Well December 13th

Often I am asked, “Is it hard to come up with something new each week?”  And I answer “Heck yes!” (or something close to that.) And it ain’t getting any easier!” Since I started writing this column, I have a greater empathy for preachers who have to write a sermon every week that both inspires and keeps the congregation awake. (I wonder if anyone uses this column as an antidote for insomnia.) But my point is – help! If you have any ideas, I have my baseball glove ready to catch anything you throw my way. And I will take no offense, because as my parents told my wife before we were married “He can use all the help he can get.”

During this season of hope and peace on earth, Tracy and Mark Linebarger, and their many volunteers are once again serving a free Community Christmas Eve Dinner from 3 – 6 PM at St, Mary’s Academy. But unfortunately, as you may have heard, someone is going door to door, asking elderly and shut-ins if they would like a home delivered meal on Christmas Eve and then asking for donations.

But Tracy would like everyone to know – that is not the way it works. The only way to request a home delivered meal (or if you have any questions) is to call Tracy at 541-296-3067. And donations to the Christmas Eve Dinner can be made at Columbia State Bank – not by door to door solicitations.
But this is an unfortunate reminder that during any time of the year – winter, spring, summer or fall, it is good advice to never subscribe, donate or “sign on the dotted line” from anyone who is going door-to-door. You don’t need to be a victim of another unscrupulous rip-off.
You may have missed the Cascade Singers but there are several more musical delights you can savor this coming weekend. Two are scheduled at St. Peter’s Landmark including the annual Community Concert of Handel’s Messiah starting at 7:00 PM on Saturday. Then the next day, Sunday the 18th starting at 7:00 PM, the musical group Barley Draught will create an evening of “unabashed holiday sentimentality” with old-fashioned Irish ballads, Christmas carols, fiddle tunes and stories. For both events, admission is by donation and all proceeds go to the Landmark Preservation Fund. And also on Sunday, but earlier in the afternoon at 2:00 PM, the Gorge Winds Concert Band offers their own brand of holiday cheer with their 11th Annual Christmas Concert at the Civic Auditorium. This is also a donation affair.

It is time for the Center’s annual Christmas Breakfast this coming Saturday. Once again the breakfast is sponsored by Mill Creek Point who have lined up “Harmony of the Gorge” to provide the musical entertainment and of course Santa and his mischievous little helper: Linda. The menu will be flapjacks with fruit topping, scrambled eggs, ham, fruit and your favorite beverage all for only $5.00. Serving starts at 8:00 and will end a little later at 10:00.

Because of the success of the last holiday bake sale, Meals-on-Wheels is hosting one more delicious goody sale Thursday the 15th – before, during and after lunch. Every dollar from the bake sale helps support the important work of Meals-on-Wheels. And yes they still could use more drivers.

If you haven’t heard the Strawberry Mountain Band you are missing a barn-raising good time. And tonight is your chance starting at 7:00 PM. Then next week you can dance to the smooth sounds of Truman and his Country Gold. Donations are appreciated and everyone is welcome.

The book written in 1923 by the Lebanese American artist, writer and poet Kahlil Gabran was “The Prophet”. (And the winner of five quilt raffle tickets is Mary Davis – class of ’63.) But switching from the sacred to the worldly world of football, the college football season will soon be concluding with a crescendo of bowl games. And in football lore it is often heard “Win one for the Gipper.” What school did the Gipper play for and who played him in the movie that made the quote famous? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop it by the Center with an original picture of college football’s “Four Horsemen”.

Well, it’s been another week looking for one of those three hundred days of sunny skies the chamber of commerce promised. Until we meet again, keep riding herd on life’s little pleasures.

Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is giving me that which you need more than I do.” Khalil Gibran

Living Well December 6th 2011

This month the Center is kicking off its 2012 Membership Campaign. And I am inviting all of you who have never been a member to cross the threshold and join. And this time I don’t want to hear you have an aversion to getting older (I hate to spill the beans, but you are!), or are too busy to add one more activity (join the crowd!) or are just a long time procrastinator. Whether you use the Center once a month, twice a week or every day – or if you just read this column, become a member and join an extended family of three hundred engaging, inspiring and adventuress souls (sometimes it is just an adventure getting out of bed). Membership is $35 for an individual or $60 per couple. And for the very first time, we are offering you the opportunity to become a Super-Duper member for $50 or $90 per couple. But you ask, “What special benefits do Super-Duper members receive?” Well, all I can say is the Super-Duper benefits are so Super-Duper secret we cannot even tell the Super-Duper members what they are! You will have to wait and see. Thanks to Patti Blagg for being the first Super-Duper member.

I just received this notice from Joyce Powell Morin about a local group for Women Widows of Veterans. All interested women are encouraged to attend an initial Veteran’s Widow Support Group meeting on Tuesday, December 13th at 11am at the Veterans Service Office at 201 Federal Street in The Dalles. Several of the topics that will be discussed include Your Entitled Benefits, Grief Support and Moving Forward after a Loss. If you have any questions, please call support group facilitators and members of “Keep the Home Fires Burning,” Barbara Thomas (541-467-2651) or Joyce Powell Morin (541-296-7266.)

You have only until December 17th to buy that winning raffle ticket for the beautiful hand stitched quilt hanging in the Center’s lobby. You can buy ten chances for $5.00 or one for a dollar. And think of it this way. Instead of buying your friends a fruit cake, buy them a raffle ticket. There is a greater chance they will win the quilt than anyone of them eating the fruit cake. You can purchase raffle tickets at the Center’s front desk or at the December 17th Saturday Breakfast.

If you are interested in the ins-and-out and the reasons why of county planning, the Center’s Tuesday Lecture on December 13th will feature John Roberts, the Wasco County planning director, who will try to demystify the planning process for you. It starts at 11:00 and afterwards you can enjoy dinner prepared by the Meals-on-Wheels crew.

When it’s too tough to make a decision, what do you do? In the grand political tradition, you pass the buck! Well at least that is what we do at the Center every winter. When the snow falls or the freezing rain sticks, instead of deciding whether to open or close the Center, we rely on the good folks at School District 21. So as your annual reminder – if D-21 closes school all the activities at the Center are cancelled, and if there is a two hour delay only the morning classes are cancelled. And even if there are no activities, we will still try to have someone at the Center to answer the phone and offer assistance.

Tonight the Sugar Daddies are back at the Center playing adult contemporary hits and a few of their own originals. And next week the Strawberry Mountain Band will set a match to the dance floor playing the well known as well as the hidden gems of country. Donations are appreciated, everyone is welcome and the music starts at 7:00.

It wasn’t hard for Al Wynn or Elt Fadness (this week’s winner of five quilt raffle tickets) to remember Les Cunningham the owner and DJ of the first FM radio station in eastern Oregon – and who I am told followed the beat of his own drums. But for this week’s “Remember When” question you may need to scan your library or rummage through your attic once again. The Lebanese American artist, writer and poet Kahlil Gabran wrote in 1923 a book of twenty-six poetic essays that was popular in the 1960’s. What was the name of the book? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with a bottle of Patchouli oil.

Well, it’s been another week keeping hope alive in a dense forest of cynicism. Until we meet again, keep your light on and the noise out.

Aging Well November 29th

Once again with enthusiasm – December 7th is the end of the Open Enrollment Period for Medicare! I want to mention this once again because there is the fear that since this date is three weeks earlier than usual (so any changes can take affect at the beginning of the new year), there will be many folks who will miss the chance to review and change their current Medicare plans.

So it is not too late. And if you or anyone you know has questions, there is still help available. You can go online at the Open Enrollment Center, you can schedule an appointment at the Center with a SHIBA volunteer from 1:30 – 4:00 on one of the next two Wednesdays or you can call Jean Hockman at the Area Agency on Aging (541-298-4101). And if you are the type who just can’t ask for directions even when lost, there are SHIBA and Medicare booklets available at the Center.

Now that we all have traversed the slippery slopes of Black Friday, Shop Local Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, here are three community-centric ideas for your Christmas gift list. Do you remember going upstairs at the Original Wasco County Courthouse and viewing one of their slide or tape presentations? Those presentations have now been professionally re-mastered from the original 1970’s era slide /tape presentations including The Craft of Wheelwrighting; Farewell to Celilo; Early Wasco County; To See and To Do in The Dallles and Wasco County Cherries; and Raising Wheat by Horsepower. You can purchase one for $20 or the set of five for only $80. For more information call and leave a message at 541-296-4798 or go online at

Nowadays it seems like the safest present to give is a gift card. The School District 21 Education Foundation is selling a wide assortment of gift cards from Amazon to Wendy’s and including Cabella’s and Casa El Mirador. And here is the cool part. Even though the card doesn’t cost you anymore than buying it at Fred Meyer, the foundation receives up to 15 % on the value of each card sold. If you are interested in this win-win, PK Swartz will be at the Center during lunch on Thursday taking orders. Or you can call Marion at the District offices at 541-506-3420.

And finally, the Center is starting its 2012 Membership Drive celebrating 25 years since the Center opened its doors in January of 1987. So for that newly retired someone or that loved one you just have to get out of the house, you can purchase a 2012 membership gift certificate at the front desk for only $35 per person of $60 per couple.

Tonight “For the Good Times” will be playing your favorite country hits for their first time at the Center. Then the following Tuesday the Sugar Daddies will be making one of their once-in-a-while special appearances. And you know the song – the music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated. Also on Friday night the folks from the Mid-Columbia Concerts will be presenting “A Pops Evening with Mike Strickland and Clipper Anderson” at the TDW High School on Friday, December 2nd at 7:00 PM.

At the Center’s 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on December 6th, Roger Wagner will discuss the basics of financial planning. And on the following Tuesday the 13th, John Roberts, Wasco County Planning Director, will discuss the importance of the county planning department and the challenges they face.

The name of the catalog (which Steve Jobs described as the paperback version of Google in the 60’s and 70’s) published by Stewart Brand between 1968 and 1972 was the Whole Earth Catalog. (The winner of five quilt raffle tickets was Rosalie Clarke who still has a copy somewhere – as does Don McAllister and Joann Scott) But this week’s “Remember When” question brings it back home. According to an article in The Dalles Chronicle on March 14th 1968, the Federal Communications Commission approved the first FM radio station in eastern Oregon with the transmitter atop the Klickitat Hills. Who was the owner/disc jockey of radio station KCIV which broadcast at 104.5 megacycles?” Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with a mint condition 1960’s SONY TFM-6100W AM/FM transistor radio – and don’t forget the original headphones.

Well, it’s been another week asking myself “How many ways can I use leftover turkey?”. Until we meet again, after thirty five years the Whole Earth Catalog’s farewell message is still good advice: “Stay hungry, stay foolish”.

Aging Well November 22nd

Ever since we were kids in school, we have been reminded during the holiday season to be grateful for what we have. But as we get older I don’t believe a holiday is necessary because every day we experience why we are thankful. Every day we can appreciate living with a wonderful husband, because we see friends who are living alone. Or if we are living alone, we can be thankful we can drive because we know many who cannot. And if we no longer can drive, we can still be grateful for the LINK and friends who take us to the many places we need to go. Every day we see and live the ways we are blessed. And as long as I can wake up each morning – and my feet touch the floor, the hot water is running and I hear the sweet sounds of my wife asking “When are you going to take out the trash?”, I know I can be thankful for another beautiful day.

For those who have lost a loved one, the holidays can be a difficult time – bringing back special memories of special times. Next Tuesday at 11:00 on the 29th, Debby Livingston, chaplain for Heart of Hospice, will speak on the timely subject – “Grief during the Holidays”. Whether you find the holidays difficult or if you know someone who does, this presentation will be helpful.

If you missed the St. Mary’s Holiday Bazaar there is plenty more in the next several weeks including an Historic Christmas Open House from 12:00 – 4:00 PM at the Rorick House, 300 W 13th, on Saturday December 3rd; the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center’s Annual Holiday Open House from 9:00 – 5:00 with cookies and cider, Prime Rib Buffet, sale items, Christmas carols and more, and The Dalles Area Habitat for Humanity’s Annual Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (If you would like to reserve a sales table, or can donate soup or pies for their soup & pie lunch, or baked goods for their ever popular baked goods table, please contact the Habitat office at 296-8817.) And don’t forget the Community Thanksgiving Dinner from 12:00 – 3:00 at St. Mary’s Academy. If you need a meal delivered, you can call 541-296-6417.

If tonight you aren’t getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner or on your way out of town to visit family, you can turkey trot your way down to the dance floor and enjoy the sounds of the Strawberry Mountain Band. And since this month there is an extra Tuesday, on the 29th you can enjoy “For the Good Times”. The music starts at 7:00, anyone (including turkeys) are welcome and donations are always appreciated.

The Center’s Nu-2-U Shop will finish off this month with a half price sale. That is half-off already ridiculously low prices. And because of the many generous donations, every month there is new stuff to browse through. So stop in and see what Martha, Betty and Anita have in store for you.

Many folks remembered Frick and Frack – the two Swiss comic ice skaters who joined the original Ice Follies in 1937. (And the winner of five quilt raffle tickets is the P51 gal – Anna Monkiewicz.) But this week’s “Remember When” question is a little more recent – only forty years ago! So for the Boomers out there “What was the name of the catalog published by Stewart Brand between 1968 and 1972, which listed where you can purchase products such as clothing, books, tools, machines, seeds but also included ideas for the counterculture lifestyle?” Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with all the materials for a geodesic dome.

And as I promised here are the remaining answers to the Brain Rattler from two weeks ago.
13.) 8 = Sides on a Stop Sign; 14) 3 = Blind Mice (See How They Run); 15.) 4 = Quarts in a Gallon; and 16.) 24 = Hours in a Day, 17). 1 = Wheel on a Unicycle; 18). 5 = Digits in a Zip Code; 19) 57 = Heinz Varieties; 20.) 11 = Players on a Football Team; 21) 1000 = W that a P is W; 22) 29 = Days in February in a Leap Year; 23) 64 = Squares on a Checkerboard; 24) 99 = Bottles of Beer on the Wall.

Well, it’s been another week searching for the right answers to the wrong questions. Until we meet again, as you gather with family you may want to remember the advice of Miss Manners “If you can’t be kind, at least be vague.”

Aging Well November 15th

We are fast approaching the holiday season – Thanksgiving is around the corner while Christmas is just over the hill and through the woods. Most of us will share the holidays with friends and family, but not everyone is so fortunate. Many live by themselves, socially isolated with few personal connections of any significance – making the holidays an acutely lonesome time.

But that’s not the way it has to be. Marilyn Buchannan, the volunteer coordinator for the Friendly Visitor program at the Area Agency on Aging, knows several seniors who would like someone to visit them. And it is her Christmas wish that they can all be connected with someone during this holiday season. Give her a call at 541-298-4101 to learn how you can be that friend.

You will have to wait until December, but Mark and Tracy Linebarger are celebrating twenty years since the reopening of the Baldwin Saloon by jumping head first into the holiday spirit and helping our local non-profits. During the entire month of December, when you dine at the Baldwin Saloon and use a coupon printed from their website (you can use as many coupons as you would like), 5% of your total bill will be donated to the non-profit you choose from the fifty non-profits listed on their website (For those who do not have access to the Internet, there will be coupons at the Center you can use to support the Senior Center, Meals-on-Wheels or any of the other important non-profits in The Dalles.) And that’s not all! The non-profit with the most dollars donated by the end of December will have that amount matched by the Baldwin Saloon. For more details and information, you can check their website at

The Dalles Meals on Wheels will have their annual Fall Bake Sale at the Center on November 17th before and after lunch. Come by and pick up a delicious dessert – or your main course depending on your eating habits – in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. Why bake when you can buy!

It is once again Breakfast at the Center this coming Saturday from 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM. The menu will be a surprise but for most folks the breakfast is just an excuse to visit with friends anyway. The cost is only $5.00, $4.00 for Center members and $3.00 for children 12 and under. And as Jack always said, “Breakfast tastes better when someone else cooks it.”

We are going to “shake, rattle and roll” the regular monthly music line up for November and December, since the Jazz Generations are taking a holiday break. Tonight Truman will be playing his usual third Tuesday but next week the popular Strawberry Mountain Band will return for your listening and dancing enjoyment. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00 and you can go home by 9:00. All are welcome and donations are always appreciated.

Not many folks knew Texaco was the sponsor for the NBC radio broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera, but Sandy Goforth did – which means she wins five quilt raffle tickets. And Sandy is also the source of this week’s “Remember When” question. In 1937 these two Swiss ice skaters joined the original Ice Follies as comic ice skaters and even appeared in movies including “Lady, Let’s Dance” in 1944. What was the name of this famous pair of skaters whose names became household words? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off while wearing a pair of Alpine Lederhosen.

It looks like I am running out of space and time. So here are the answers to just the first twelve “Quantagories” from last week – you have one more week to figure out the rest. 1.) 26 = Letters of the Alphabet; 2.) 1001 = Arabian Nights; 3.) 7 = Wonders of the World; 4.) 12 = Signs of the Zodiac; 5.) 54 = Cards in a Deck (with the Joker); 6.) 9 = Planets in the Solar System. 7.) 88 = Piano Keys; 8.) 13 = Stripes on the American Flag; 9.) 32 = Degrees Fahrenheit at which Water Freezes; 10.) 18 = Holes in a Golf Course; 11.) 90 = Degrees in a Right Angle; 12.) 200 = Dollars for Passing Go in Monopoly;

Well it’s been another week looking to see what will blow across my path. Until we meet again, as my wife affectionately reminded me, “Don’t try to be humble. You aren’t that good.”

“The first rule of holes: When you’re in one, stop digging.” Molly Ivins

Wednesday (16) Whitefish with dill sauce
Thursday (17) Powerful Pork Chops
Friday (18) Swiss Burger w/sautéed Mushrooms and Onions
Monday (21) Swedish Meatballs over Noodly Noodles
Tuesday (22) Glazed Ham or Turkey with Stuffing and Gravy

Aging Well November 8th

Do you feel you have lost your intellectual edge? That you may not be as mentally nimble as you once were! Recent brain research suggests even though the mature brain may not be as quick, it does produce better decisions (at least that’s what we keep telling ourselves!) Here is a short quiz Dan Erickson showed me that may or may not tell you anything about your intelligence, but is fun and challenging. (Dan answered correctly 18 out of 24. I won’t testify to how many I solved – pleading the right not to incriminate my intelligence.)

Each of the following phrases contains the initials of words that will make it correct. See if you can find the missing words. (Example: 16 = O in a P. Answer: Ounces in a Pound) The answers will be next week’s column, but if you need any help, don’t look at me, call Dan.

1.) 26 = L of the A; 2.) 1001 = A N; 3.) 7 = W of the W; 4.) 12 = S of the Z; 5.) 54 = C in a D (with the J); 6.) 9 = P in the S S. 7.) 88 = P K; 8.) 13 = S on the A F; 9.) 32 = D F at which W F; 10.) 18 = H on a G C; 11.) 90 = D in a R A; 12.) 200 = D for P G in M; 13.) 8 = S on a S S; 14.) 3 = B M ( S H T R ); 15.) 4 = Q in a G; 16.) 24 = H in a D; 17.) 1 = W on a U; 18.) 5 = D in a Z C; 19.) 57 = H V; 20.) 11 = P on a F T; 21.) 1000 = W that a P is W; 22.) 29 = D in F in a L Y; 23.) 64 = S on a C; 24.) 99 = B of B on the W.

The Center is offering Old Fashion Family Bingo from 3:00 – 4:00 on Saturday November 12th. (The minimum age is seven, but if you are under 18 you must have a parent or guardian with you.) We will sell the classic hard cards for $3.00 a piece or 2 for $5.00 – which are good for all 10 games. The payouts are $5.00 per game – except for the last game which will have a payout of $25. And to wet your whistle, there will be Root Beer Floats (or brown cows as we use to call them in the Midwest) for only twenty-five cents.

The Oregon State University Extension Service is offering several Food Preservation Classes this fall and winter and no prior experience is required. The classes are a Food Drying Basics class on November 17th from 1:00 – 3:30 PM and a Fruit Butter Basics class from 1:00 – 3:00 on November 22nd. Both will be held at the Zion Lutheran Church, 101 W 10th Street, and the cost for either class is $10 for supplies. For more information and to register contact Wasco County Extension at 541-296-5494.

There are “good vibrations” every Tuesday night at the Center starting at 7:00 PM. Tonight, if you can read fast enough, you can make it to the Center to hear John Martin and Friends. And next Tuesday on the 8th, Truman will be singing all the gold that’s fit to play. All makes and models are welcome and like always, donations are appreciated.

The Tuesday lecture series “Along the Mighty Columbia”, concludes with Roger Nichols, local journalist, radio personality and a man of many and often obscure talents. He will share his perspective on the Columbia River Gorge Commission, both as a reporter and now as Wasco County’s newly appointed commission member. It should be a fascinating presentation.

It was Jack Armstrong “the All-American Boy” who thrilled radio audiences from 1933 until 1951. (The winner of five quilt raffle tickets is Herm Neuberger.) But this week we are going high culture. The first network broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera was on Christmas Day, 1931 when NBC’s Blue Network aired Engelbert Humperdinck‘s (for those those more familiar with low culture – the composer, not the singer) Hänsel and Gretel. What company started sponsoring Metropolitan Opera broadcasts in 1940 and continued for 63 years? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with a man who wears the star.

Well it’s been another week trying to find what can’t be found. Until we meet again, as Gordon often reminds me – anytime you wake up above ground, it is a good day.

“Worry is like a rock­ing chair. It gives you some­thing to do, but it gets you nowhere.” Erma Bombeck

Living Well November 1st

Early last Thursday morning, I saw Phil Brady at the Chamber of Commerce’s Governmental Affairs. He had ridden his bike to the meeting and was dressed in his cycling gear. And when folks commented on his hardiness – riding his bike to work on such a crisp morning – Phil answered “I did it as a kid, so why not now.”

Well, I admire Phil for his get-up-and-go – I really should be riding my bike to work – but it made me think. How many things did I once do as a kid – which I don’t even want to think about doing now!

I’m sure you can think of many youthful pleasures now in the “no do” zone. For me, my list includes spinning amusement rides – I don’t really want to, shall I say, “share my lunch” with folks I don’t know; head stands, cartwheels and somersaults – anything where my head finds itself closer to the ground than my feet; jumping off 10 meter high diving platforms – the elder Bush can skydive to celebrate his 85th birthday, but me – I’m keeping my feet on the ground; and eating fourteen scoops of cheap vanilla ice cream (that was my record) on a sugar cone – before I ever thought of counting calories.

But there are things I do miss: making real home-made fudge – when you wore out your arm stirring the fudge “until thick”, the pure “can’t get to sleep” excitement of Christmas eves, sleeping on the mattress in the back of the Mercury station wagon on vacation trips; throwing the winning touchdown pass just like Johnny Unitas in a touch football game, and the innocence of not understanding why cartons of canned food were suddenly stored in the garage during the month of October in ‘62.

But if we are fortunate, we do grow up, move on, pursue careers, raise families and experience the wonders of this gift we are given: growing older with our eyes wide open. And while it is healthy to look back in appreciation, it is important and vital to continue to look forward with hope and anticipation. And some spring day (I’ll skip the winter) you may also see me riding my bike – just as I did when I was only a kid.

The Tuesday lecture at 11:00 on November 8th, will feature Jim Wilcox the Dalles’ esteemed Mayor and all-around-good-guy. He will be discussing the many issues facing the city of The Dalles – offering his perspective and listening to yours.

The Center’s music calendar is again following the tried-and-true monthly formula with the Strawberry Mountain Band playing tonight and John Martin and Friends playing next Tuesday on the 8th. These bands play for practically pennies providing entertaining music while helping support the Center. So come on by; drop on in and have a roof shaking good time. The doors open at 7:00 and the music keeps humming till 9:00. And as always, donations are kindly accepted.

Sounds like several folks enjoyed last week’s Brain Rattler. And you may have been one who came up with your own answers including SIS, SOS and my favorite – I. Next week I will offer more calisthenics for the brain that will test your mental flexibility and creativity.

Ralph Emory was the late night disc jockey on Nashville’s WSM radio station from 1957 to 1972 and went on to host “Nashville Now” on TNN. (And the winner of five quilt raffle tickets is Marilyn Sarsfield.) This week’s “Remember When” question (thanks to Joann Scott) is about the popular adventure radio series from 1933 – 1951 featuring the globetrotting adventures of Jack Armstrong, popular athlete at Hudson High School. What was the phrase most often found following – Jack Armstrong? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with a rare copy of The Big Little Book‘s “Jack Armstrong and the Ivory Treasure”.

And before I sign off, if you have noticed an abnormal number of grammatical errors in this column (“piece” instead of “peace” is just one embarrassing example) don’t blame me – blame Zelta Wasson. She is my trusted proof reader who has been out action for several months and hasn’t been around to catch my mistakes. And I can’t wait till she returns!

Well it’s been another week, listening for the train coming around the mountain when she comes. Until we meet again, don’t always believe everything you think.

“If you have the choice between humble and cocky, go with cocky. There’s always time to be humble later, once you’ve been proven horrendously, irrevocably wrong.” Kinky Friedman

Living Well October 25th

Are you the curious type always asking “How come? “Why?” or “What was that all about?” If so, you will want to attend the 11:00 lectures every Tuesday at the Center where you will have an opportunity to question local leaders and experts on a wide variety of topics.

Starting in November there will be a three part series of lectures focused on the natural wonder we call the Columbia Gorge. The first lecture on Tuesday November 1st will feature Marc Berry and Dennis Davis: the two Wasco County members on the Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee, plus Kristen Stallman from the Oregon Department of Transportation. They will discuss past successes and future plans for the Historic Columbia River Highway.

On the following Tuesday November 8th, Jim Wilcox, Mayor of The Dalles (and fashion connoisseur), will discuss plans for the largest city in the Gorge – as well as issues before the city council (anyone want to talk about water rates?)

And then concluding the series on November 15th, Roger Nichols local journalist, radio personality and man on the street will offer his unique perspective of the Columbia River Gorge Commission – as someone who reported on the commission for many years and now as the newly appointed Columbia Gorge Commission member from Wasco County.

Now a quick break for some real heart-to-heart. I am concerned that many of you just whipped by last week’s brain rattler (And for those who are memory challenged, it was “What word, when written in capital letters, is the same forward, backwards and upside down?”) But you need to slow down and take these things seriously. And since I’m a nice guy, I’ll help you through this brain rattler, but only this one. Now think of all the capital letters that look the same forward, backwards and upside down. Not many, right? And if the word is the same backwards and forwards you know the last letter is the same as the first. And here is the big clue – there are only two different letters used in the word. Does that help? And now back to our regular programming.

Every Monday (except the third Monday of the month), the Center hosts what I have been calling “Lunch with TED”. TED is a non-profit organization which invites speakers to conferences around the world to talk about “ideas worth spreading”. Over 700 of these short presentations have been posted on the Internet and each Monday during lunch we watch and discuss one. This coming Monday on the 31st we will watch a twenty minute TED talk by movie critic Roger Ebert, who shares how after losing his lower jaw to cancer, and consequently his ability to speak and eat, he found his voice with the help of family and friends.

To announce the Center’s Tuesday Night music line-up, I am going to use a code called “Turkish Irish” (and don’t ask me how they came up with that name.) See if your brain can figure out this one. Thabe Strawberry Mountain Band knabows habow tabo abentertain aband yabou wabill gabet tabo sabee thabem abin abaction Nabexabt Tabuesday Nabovember 1st. Aband tabonight yabou caban labisten tabo thabe Jazz Generations whabo wabill babe plabaying pabopular fabavorites frabom thabe 50’s, 60’s aband 70’s. Thabe mabusic stabarts abat 7:00, abeveryone abis wabelcome aband dabonations abare abalways abappreciated.

Gumby debuted on The Howdy Doody Show in 1956 with his orange sidekick pony, Pokey – which is the answer to last week’s question. (And the winner of five quilt raffle tickets is Jodi Heath.) This week’s “Remember When” question goes back to my childhood days when my family would drive from Indiana to Florida for Christmas vacation. Along the way, we would listen to this disc jockey playing country music and interviewing the top country stars late at night on the only station whose signal was strong enough to cover the whole trip. Who was this late night disc jockey for Nashville’s WSM radio station from 1957 to 1972 and went on to host his own talk show on TNN? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with a recording of the Byrd’s “He is a Drug Store Truck Drivin’ Man”.

Well it’s been another week trying to run when I can’t hide. Until we meet again, according to Zall’s Second Law, “How long a minute is, depends on which side of the bathroom door you’re on”.

“I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.” Winston Churchill

The answer to the Brain Rattler is NOON.

Aging Well October 18th

Tell me I’m not the only one, who panics when I can’t remember a person’s name until the next day. And tell me I am not the only one, who can’t imagine winning the lottery but believes a newly discovered skin rash is some deadly disease. And please, please tell me I am not the only one, who worries that all this worrying will certainly ruin my health.

What I once ignored because of a naïve belief in my own invincibility has been replaced by an expanding sense of vulnerability. Over the years, I have known too many who have lost the battle to the big “C”, athletes who have died of a heart attack, and active minds who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

But as you age how do you keep a positive perspective? Until working closely with older adults at the Center, I had no idea. I was just a beginner, an inexperienced freshman, believing life just goes on until – well, I never really wanted to look that far ahead.

But at the Center I have found remarkable people who have and still are experiencing what life is all about. I have learned from them that life means losing loved ones and knowing the sun will still rise; that life is discovering new pleasures when you no longer can do others; and that in life – days are finite, the nights are often long and there are no guarantees.

These folks are my role models – who live life with grace, dignity and large doses of humor and humility. And they have taught me to accept what I can’t control, while still influencing what I can. And no matter what life hands you – whether it is on a silver platter or on the bottom of a farmhand’s old boot – remember to always say “thank-you”.

The class “Digging up Bones – An Introduction to Genealogy” led by Edna Miller is going well. And to help you discover those rare blossoms on your family tree, Edna has invited Lorna Elliot to speak at the next class at 1:00 on October 25th. Lorna is responsible for maintaining the genealogy section at The Dalles Wasco County library and will discuss the genealogical resources available at the library.

Oregon’s SHIBA (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) produces a Medicare Guide every year which is now available on line at So you can shop and compare, the Medicare Guide includes the cost, coverage and availability of all the prescription drug plans, Medigap plans and Medicare Advantage plans in Oregon. The Area Agency on Aging will receive the hardbound SHIBA Guides in November, but if you would like one now, the Center can print one for you. If you need additional help you can call the Center (541-296-4788) to schedule an appointment with a local SHIBA volunteer on Wednesday afternoons starting October 18th. Or you can call Jean Hockman for an appointment at the Area Agency on Aging at 541-298-4101.

Next Tuesday October 25th the Jazz Generations will be playing big band and popular favorites from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. And tonight, Truman will be entertaining you all with his smooth interpretation of county classics. The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00 and when you leave at 9:00 you’ll be glad you came. And donations are always appreciated.

Is it time for another quick Brain Rattler to shake things up in that cranium of yours? Yes? No? Don’t bother me, I’m trying to read? This week it is “What word, when written in capital letters, is the same forwards, backwards and upside down?

The 1959 Pulitzer Prize winning novel that explored the fictional confirmation of Secretary of State nominee Robert Leffingwell – a former member of the Communist Party was “Advise and Consent” written by Allan Drury. (And the winner of five quilt raffle tickets is Don McAllister.) This week’s “Remember When” question takes us back to stop motion clay animation long before the days of Will Vinton and the California Raisins. You probably remember Gumby, the green clay human like character first created in the early 50’s, but what was the name of his orange sidekick pony? Email your answers to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with an original Howdy Doody marionette.

Well it’s been another week looking both ways before crossing the street. Until we meet again, keep looking to the stars but watch where you step.

“Never miss an opportunity to make others happy, even if you have to leave them alone in order to do it.” Author Unknown