Aging Well in the Gorge November 24th 2015

As we rush around from here to there and back again, Thanksgiving is the time of the year to slow down, take a deep breath, and offer that simplest of prayers – “Thank-you”. A thank-you for the many blessings we receive – visible, but often out of focus, as we are distracted by our daily activities and the harsh noise of senseless acts of violence and inflammatory talk.
As we reflect during this season, what are you thankful for? A caring spouse, because you know friends who are living alone? Or if living alone, the ability to drive because you know many who cannot? Or if unable to drive, thankful for LINK or your friends who take you to where you want to go? Every day we are blessed in many meaningful ways.
For myself, 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 reminding me “Don’t forget to take out the trash!”, there is another day to give thanks.
The Wahtonka Community School is partnering with the Center to initiate an Oral History Project. The idea is for high school students to interview older adults about their experiences as they grew up – what may seem like to the students a long, long time ago. I’ve heard many stories at the Center about growing up during the depression, serving our country during WW II, or just stories of youthful mischief: knocking over outhouses on Halloween – which I am sure none of you have done. Fascinating stories that will be lost if not shared. The first interviews will be on Tuesday, December 8th between 12:45 and 2:00. If you are interested in helping these young students by sharing your stories, call the Center to sign up.
The Center is starting its 2016 membership drive – hoping to surpass last year’s very successful membership drive of over four hundred members. The membership dues are still $35.00 for an individual or $60 for a couple – or if you want to give a little more towards the operations of the Center, you can become a Super Duper Member for $50 per person. Memberships are a vital part of the annual operating budget for the Center – generating over $15,000 a year. You can mail your membership to 1112 W 9th Street, The Dalles, or you can stop by the Center. And for any youngsters out there, you can be a member at any age, although you have to be over fifty to vote at the Center’s annual meeting in July.
You don’t have to be Beverly Sills or Enrico Caruso to join the Center’s Young at Heart Serenaders, but you do need to enjoy singing and sharing the music with others.  Phyllis Farner, the Center’s music director, is looking for a few more voices to join the Serenaders who meet Thursdays at 10:30 and perform during the holidays at several of the local living facilities.
If you are a Facebook user, check out “Sunny The Dalles”: a place to post all the great reasons to live in The Dalles. It was created by Kathy Ursprung as a counterbalance to the complaints and controversies you often find on social media and in the news. But don’t ask me how to find the page on Facebook, since I am a Facebook novice. I am expecting all the regular Facebook users to know how.
For the Tuesday Night Music and Dance on December 1st, Andre, KC and Tom will be performing. And don’t forget during the winter months music starts at 6:30 and ends by 8:30. Everyone is welcome, whether you are a Duck fan, Beaver fan or a fan of one of those other northwest teams. And donations are always appreciated.
Minnie Pearl, whose catchphrase was “How-w-w-DEE-E-E-E!”’ was the female country comedian who always wore a hat with the price tag still attached. (The winner of a free quilt raffle ticket is Ron Holliday.)
Patsy Cline was one of the most influential and successful singers in country music. We all know her signature song, “Crazy”, but for this week’s “Remember When” question, who wrote the song? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of the red headed stranger.
Well, it’s been another week trying keep the bird in my hand and out of my hair. Until we meet again, enjoy good company and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”  Linda Grayson

Aging Well in the Gorge November 17th 2015

The Dalles is a wonderful community with so many folks working to make it even better – demonstrated by the support the Center has received for the UpLifitng Elevator Campaign. But that is just one of many capital construction projects the community has supported through local giving. The Wonderworks Children’s Museum last year finally owns their building, and The Dalles/Wasco County Library is moving towards construction of the John and Jean Thomas Children’s Wing. Also the Civic Auditorium Historic Preservation Board is still working hard to restore the 900-1000 seat theater. And just recently, Joe Martin announced a donation of land to give new life to his 15 year vision of building a Youth Center.
I believe the community has the capacity to complete these remaining capital construction projects – making our community even stronger for our youth, families and older adults. Admittedly, it will take more hard work and hundreds of small $25 – $100 donations, but also larger gifts such as the anonymous $50,000 to the Uplifting Elevator Campaign and the $100,000 matching donation that kicked off the library’s expansion project. With the passion and commitment behind these projects, and the community’s generosity – particularly of older adults, I know they will be completed.
There is good news to report about the UpLifting Elevator Campaign. From this most recent mailing, the Center has received over $8,000 in individual donations which brings the total of local dollars raised from individuals and business to just shy of $130,000.
We have also been fortunate to receive several large foundation grants: a Ford Family Foundation grant of $115,000, a Collins Foundation grant of $20,000 and just last week we heard the Center will receive $15,000 from the Oregon Community Foundation.
In addition we have been designated to receive several local grants: $10,000 from the PUD, $5,000 from the MCMC Health Foundation, and a Rural Community grant $1500 from Northwest Farm Credit Services.
Because of your generous donations, the Center has raised $295,000 towards the estimated $380,000 cost. It has taken many years, but we are getting so close, I can almost hear the elevator coming up the shaft.  
If you haven’t given, I hope you will consider making a donation before the end of the year. There are many worthwhile projects in the community. It is time to complete the Uplifting Elevator Campaign and check it off the list.
With everything so perfectly manufactured by high tech programmable machines, it is refreshing to purchase something handmade – and sometimes with a few mistakes to prove it. You will get a chance to purchase that perfect gift Saturday November 21st at the Holiday Bazaars at St. Mary’s from 9:00 – 4:00 and at the Center from 9:00 – 3:00.
If you are trying to navigate your way through the landmines of computers and tablets, there is help. Besides the Center’s drop in class every Wednesday at 9:00, The Dalles – Wasco County Library offers drop-in tech help on Mondays and Saturdays at 10:30; plus you can make an appointment with a Tech Tutor by calling 541-296-2815. The library also offers several classes this month: beginning email class on Friday November 20th and Social Media on Wednesday November 25th at 1:30 PM.
For the Tuesday Night Music and Dance on November 24th, Country Roads will be performing. But during the winter months of December and January music will be starting at 6:30 and over by 8:30, so you can be in bed by 9:00 for you early risers. Everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated.
The leader of the Chinese Nationalists when they were forced by the Chinese Communist to retreat to Taiwan was Chiang Kai-shek. (The winner of a free quilt raffle ticket is the student of history, Joann Scott.)
Last week, along with a bag of clothes, a woman’s hat with the price tag still attached was donated to the Nu-2-U Shop. And if you are thinking what I am thinking, you already know this week’s “Remember When” Question. What female country comedian appeared on the Grand Ole Opry for more than 50 years and whose hat is on display in the National Museum of American History. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with the directions to Grinder’s Switch, Tennessee.
Well, it’s been another week trying to walk on the bright side. Until we meet again, remember it’s easier to ride the horse in the direction it’s going.

“I’m sick of following my dreams. I’m just going to ask them where they’re goin’, and hook up with them later.” Mitch Hedberg

Aging Well in the Gorge November 10th 2015

As we grow older we often lose the ability to do things we took for granted when we were younger. I can no longer work all day in the yard – two hours is long enough; or drive cross country sixteen hours straight– I can’t last more than two hours without stopping and it’s not just to stretch my legs; or remembering where I parked the car – wait, that I never could do!

But it’s real slap in the face when you realize what you can no longer do. And when it happens, the often accompanying feelings of grief or even anger, may blind us to what we can still do.

Focusing on what one can do is illustrated by this poem, written by Dan Lonigro, who is an instructor for CPI which offers training in behavior management & dementia care. Dan wrote it from the perspective of a person with dementia and it is a touching reminder of the importance of seeing and believing in what a person can do and not defining a person by what they can’t.

Six Things to Know about Someone with Dementia

I don’t garden anymore, but I can still smell the flowers. Bring me some roses. This will remind me of my past.
I can’t talk the way I used to, but I can still communicate. Be patient as I try. This will help me feel connected.
I don’t have the judgment I used to, but I can still make decisions. Give me choices. This will make me feel like I’m a part of things.
I can’t take a bath by myself anymore, but I can still wash my face. Assist me with direction. This will help me feel purpose.
I can’t dance anymore, but I can still sing. Help me enjoy music. This will enrich my life.
I can’t walk unassisted anymore, but I can still move my body. Walk with me, and support me if I stumble. This will help me feel engaged.
You are my lifeline. I depend on you. But please don’t do for me what I can do for myself. Recognize what I can do and help me to function as a person.
You are key to the quality of my life.

I don’t want Pat Lucas after me as she was last week when I gave the wrong location for the Community Potluck on Veteran’s Day. So to make sure we have it all straight, the Community Potluck following the Veteran’s Day Parade will be held at the Oregon Veteran’s Home. Did I do better this time, Pat?

And for those of you who have short memories, don’t forget the other events on Veteran’s Day: Community Veterans Thank You Breakfast at the Civic from 7 – 10 AM (free for Veteran’s/$5 for civilians); the Veteran’s Day Parade at 11:00, and a fireworks display at 6:00. It’s going to be quite a day.

There will be a Flea Market organized by Meals-on-Wheels from 9:00 – 2:00 at the Center on Saturday, November 14th. There will be household items, antiques, old dolls, tools and much more – as well as soup and sandwiches for sale. Come by and check it out.

Because the AARP Smart Driver Class is upstairs (there is still room to signup) and the Zumba Gold class is downstairs (a fun way to stay fit), there will not be a Tuesday Lecture on November 17th.

For the Tuesday Night Music and Dance on November 17th, the Simcoe Boys will be playing their special brand of country. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

For us old timers who remember baseball in the 50’s and 60’s, there will be only one great knuckleball pitcher and that is Hoyt Wilhelm. (The winner of a free quilt raffle ticket is the trivia whiz-kid, Jim Heitkemper.)

This week’s “Remember When” question is related to the recent historic meeting between the leaders of China and Taiwan – their first in more than 60 years. Back in 1949, who was the leader of the Chinese Nationalists when the Chinese Communist forced them to retreat to Taiwan? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with maps of the islands Quemoy and Matsu.

Well, it’s been yet another week trying to keep my nose above water. Until we meet again, there’s nothing wrong with chasing a rainbow now and then.

“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” Lucille Ball

Aging Well in the Gorge November 3rd 2015

Whoa. Someone hold the hands on the clock! Time is moving way too fast. Halloween is over and now it’s November – the month when we scramble to get everything done before all the December Christmas activities. And then before we notice, we’ll be back cutting grass and wearing shorts. No one wonder I always feel tired.
But until then, here are a few of this month’s events starting with the Veteran’s Day activities.

The Mid-Columbia Veterans “Stand Down” will be held on Saturday, November 7th from 11:00 – 2:30 at the Civic Auditorium to honor our veterans and their families, as well as offering information about available services. Coffee and lunch will be provided. For more information call 541-296-5435 ext. 225.

On Tuesday, November 10th, The Dalles Middle School invites the community to their 10:00 assembly to pay tribute to local veterans – followed by a free lunch for the veterans. The Middle School is also looking for military items such as medals, old uniforms, or photos anyone would like to share. For more information contact Larry Fairclo at 541-506-3449 ext. 4126.

And Pat Lucas would be after me if I didn’t mention the annual Veteran’s Day Parade starting at 11:00 AM at 6th and Webber. Following the parade will be a community potluck lunch at Fort Dalles Readiness Center (new Armory at 402 E. Scenic Dr.). Bring either a hot dish, a large salad or dessert. Place servings and drinks will be furnished.
Also on the 11th, Meals-on-Wheels will be open to honor our local veterans during their noon dinner. And to give their dedicated staff a day off, Meals-on-Wheels will be closed on Monday November 9th.

And before the snow falls, the Center is scheduling two more trips in November– if there is enough interest.

The first trip is November 18th to visit the Portland Art Museum and their special exhibit Seeing Nature. This exhibit includes thirty nine landscape Masterpieces from the Paul Allen collection including works by Monet, Cézanne, and O’Keefe. The cost is $10 for transportation and $17 for admission.

The second trip is to attend the 11:00 matinee performance of the Singing Christmas Tree in Portland on Saturday December 5th. This seasonal favorite costs $65 which includes transportation. If you are interested in either trip, call the Center at 541-296-4788.

Because of cancellations, there are still four tickets available for the overnight trip to Lincoln City to see the show Vicki Lawrence and Mama at the Chinook Winds on November 21st. That trip is $70 for the show and transportation, but you will need to reserve your own hotel room. Call the Center for more details.

And the holiday season can’t be complete without the bazaars. The Center will be hosting a Holiday Bazaar on November 21st from 9:00 – 3:00. The date may sound familiar because it is the same day as the 37th Annual Holiday Bazaar at St. Mary’s – the granddaddy of bazaars. Stop by and visit both holiday bazaars as you start your early Christmas shopping.

How would you have liked the chance to spend a year of high school in another country half way around the globe? Through the Rotary Youth Exchange Program, The Dalles High School student Max McClennan had that chance spending a year in Denmark – a country which happens be in the political discussion these days. On Tuesday, November 10th at 11:00 at the Center, you are invited to hear Max share his stories about living in Denmark.

For the Tuesday Night Music and Dance on November 10th, Martin and Friends will be playing their special blend of Country Western. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the U.S. Secretary of Defense was Robert McNamara – a Ford Motor Company “Whiz Kid” recruited by President Kennedy.

The Baseball World Series may be over, but this week’s “Remember When” question is for the baseball fans who were glued to the TV watching the series. Who was the first relief pitcher elected to the baseball Hall of Fame, pitched professionally until he was 50, and was considered by many the best knuckleball pitcher ever? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a team picture of the 1954 New York Giants.

Well, it’s been another week trying remember to look before I speak. Until we meet again, there is a reason we have two ears and one mouth.

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” Douglas Adams