Aging Well December 18 2012

Tis the Christmas Season: a time for memories that stir our senses: cookies baking in the oven, houses sparkling with Christmas lights, and bells jingling at local grocery stores.

It is also a time to remember how we have been blessed at our chronologically advantaged age. But sometimes it is hard with all the bad news: shootings near and far, physical challenges we endure; and the personal losses that touch us – particularly at this time of the year when we would give everything to again share memories of Christmas’s pasts with friends and loved ones who are no longer with us.

It is not always easy to stay upbeat and positive, but Shawn Achor, who researches and teaches positive psychology, describes three steps that can help us see and look for the positive instead of passively absorbing the negative. First, for twenty one days in a row, take two minutes a day and write down three things you are grateful for. Second, start a journal and each day write about one positive experience you encountered. Third, do one positive random act of kindness each day – whether it’s complimenting the salesperson during a hectic Christmas shopping day or buying a bottle of Martinelli’s sparkling juice for your local senior center director (and he prefers a red grape to a white apple cider!)

But I would also suggest two more steps. Fourth, each day give at least one person a big hug – the human touch is an essential nutritional requirement for the spirit. And last, if there has been something you have been meaning to tell someone, tell them. Don’t wait. There are reasons as we get older why we don’t buy green bananas.
Whether your glasses are rose colored, broken or you can’t find them, during this season of hope, love and possibility, consider these five steps to better see all that is good and right – and the bountiful banquet that is spread before us.

This is usually the place where I announce the performers for Tuesday Night music, but because of the holidays, we have pushed the pause button until January 8th. But the sounds of guitars strumming and cowgirls singing won’t totally vanish. Every Wednesday before and after the Meals-on-Wheels noon dinner, there is music for your listening pleasure – and there are often several couples who take the opportunity to stretch their legs and dance a few steps. Annie Lane and “For the Good Times” alternate Wednesdays. And on the third Thursday, Tom Graff stops in and warms up the diner crowd. Particularly if you don’t like to get out after dark, this is your chance to enjoy listening and dancing to some good country tunes.
I stumped most everyone with last week’s “Remember When” question. The answer wasn’t Burns and Allen or Fibber Magee and Molly (but look for them in the future), it was Bob and Ray who both started as radio announcers, until their informal banter became so popular they were asked to fill in when the Boston Red Sox baseball games were rained out. On YouTube, you can find them performing two of their classic interviews on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show: “Most Beautiful Face Contest Winner” and “Four Leaf Clover Farmer.” (And the winner is the Bob and Ray aficionado Joann Scott.)

This week’s ”Remember When” question is about the successful jazz vocalist and actress who became nationally known with the 1951 hit “Come on-a My House” written by the unusual duo of author William Saroyan and David Seville (who would later create the famous Alvin and the Chipmunks) and recorded with Mitch Miller and his orchestra. But during the Christmas season she is remembered for starring in the 1954 Christmas movie classic with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen. What was this singer/actress’s name? E-mail your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a package of “Extra value is what you get, when you buy Coro-net” paper towels.

The Center and Meals-on-Wheels will be closed for Christmas Eve, Christmas as well as New Year’s Day. And since Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Tuesdays – the day this column is printed, I won’t be back visiting with you until next year on the 8th.
So until we meet again, I wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and the best in the New Year. And as the famous anonymous once said, “As you slide down the banisters of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way”.

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