Aging Well December 1 2009

I hope everyone had as nice a time visiting family as we did, sharing Thanksgiving dinner with my in-law’s side of the family and enjoying good food and nice, careful conversation. We are of northern European stock so when we get together we avoid the usual controversies: politics and religion, and stick to the family safe topics: kids, travels and football. (And how about those Ducks and Beavers?)

Mabel again attended the gathering even though she will turn 100 in January. Her hearing isn’t the greatest and she moves a little slow. But then so do I. This may be the last year she is able to share Thanksgiving with us. And yet we didn’t do anything special – it was just another Thanksgiving dinner. I guess we just didn’t want to think about the inevitable – that some day she won’t be with us. But I wonder how often we do that – ignore the importance of each moment believing they are infinite. And then, later, regretting the missed opportunities.

Besides wanting to know the main dish for the Meals-on-Wheels dinner or who is playing on Tuesday night, some folks read this column to answer the “Remember When” question. But remembering events and stories from the past isn’t just fun, it is also another way to keep your brain sharp. One activity included in the Center’s weekly brain Fitness classes is reminiscing as a group about some past experience: raising pigs, favorite trips, past teachers, or old songs. There even is some research to suggest that reminiscing lowers depression and stimulates the hippocampus where memories are stored in the brain.

I have enjoyed my own reminiscing while trying to identify each week’s question. I have stumbled upon entertainers and events I hadn’t remembered for decades. (Does anyone else remember Tom Terrific?) But I know my experiences and memories are different from yours and other folks. So I took advantage of the family Thanksgiving gathering and asked around the dinner table what entertainers, stars or just plain personalities did they remember. And from their many responses, came this week’s question. What orchestra leader was famous for holding a Chihuahua in one hand while waving his baton with the other hand? All correct answers emailed or called in by Wednesday at 5:00PM will be entered in the drawing to win a free Christmas Breakfast on December 19th sponsored by Mill Creek Point.

The Center’s Loan closet has been a tremendous success thanks to Visiting Health Services and Hospice of the Gorge. But while we once we were full, our shelves are now practically bare. We particularly need rolling walkers (we have plenty of the regular grey walkers), transfer benches and good condition wheelchairs, because as soon as they come in, they are loaned out. If you have any stored in your basement or stuck under your bed, or hidden in your freezer, we would gladly accept them and make sure they are available to someone who needs them.

Tonight Truman Boler will be playing his “Country Gold” – and usually to a full house – and next Tuesday the Cherry Park Band, another popular group, will be playing for your dancing and listening pleasure. Music always starts at 7: 00. And the admission is just the walk through the door, but donations are appreciated.
Dick Lafever has experienced tragedy that none of us wants to experience, but from that experience he has a story to tell. On Tuesday, December 8th at 11:00 AM, he will discuss his personal testimony about the power of forgiveness.

I am barely crossing the finish line and they are about ready to turn off the lights, so I better bring this to a close. Until we meet again, enjoy the special gift of each other – nothing on this earth is forever.

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