Aging Well February 21st

Mirrors – why do we need them! I don’t want to see my wrinkles or what Clarence Day calls the “etchings of experience”. Or my hairline gradually receding like an Arctic glacier. And mirrors don’t illuminate the deeper self of my many life experiences, personal challenges, or dreams yet fulfilled.

I was thinking about mirrors during Steve Hudson’s East Coast Swing class when I was thankful I couldn’t see my reflection as I would in mirrored dance studios or weight rooms. (I remember watching these young studs in the weight room admiring their 24 inch biceps in the mirrors as they lifted dumbbells one arm at a time with strained determination.)

Because without mirrors, I can keep my comforting illusions. I can imagine myself dancing with the grace and charm of Gene Kelly guiding Cyd Charrise around the dance floor in my firm embrace (at least until my wife breaks my Walter Mitty moment by reminding me my tongue is once again hanging out).

I know denial at my age can be dangerous to my emotional, physical and financial well-being. By ignoring reality I lose options and disregard what needs to be done. It takes courage to acknowledge I am getting older and to prepare for the challenges that come with it.

But for a couple of hours a week can’t I live in my denial – ignoring my tender knees, my genetic awkwardness, and my shrinking stamina as I learn to move to the beat of “one and two, three and four, rock step” And then tomorrow I will try again to face reality with strength and courage – and a large helping of humor and humility.

A Taste of Literacy, a fundraiser for The Dalles SMART program (Start Making A Reader Today) is this coming Sunday February 26th from 2:00 – 5:00 PM at the Sunshine Mill. The ticket prices are $20.00. And if you are interested in becoming a volunteer for the SMART program by reading one-on-one with children who are at risk of low literacy, you can contact Staci Sutton at or call 971-634-1616.

Every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00- 3:00, the Center offers StrongWomen™ – an evidence-based strength training program proven to increase muscle mass and strength, improve bone density, reduce risk for osteoporosis, and provide many other healthy benefits for mid-life and older women.

And now Lauren Fein, faculty for Wasco County/OSU Extension, is pleased to announce the first ever “Strong Women Leader Training” in the Columbia River Gorge will be held on Wednesday March 21st from 8:30pm-4:30pm at the Columbia Gorge Community College in The Dalles. This workshop is being offered at a greatly reduced price of $35 for a full day’s workshop including breakfast, lunch, snacks, and a StrongWomen™ toolkit valued at $75.

If you are interested in becoming a trained leader and bringing this valuable program to your organization or community, contact Lauren Fein at 541-296-5494 or by March 5th. Information and registration materials are available at the Center.

Rodney McDowell of MCMC’s Behavioral Health Services will be the speaker for the Center’s 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on February 28th. The topic is “How to Deal with the Winter Blahs”. (And spring is still a month away!) These Tuesday presentations are free and open to anyone.

Tonight the ever popular Truman is playing his Country Gold. And next Tuesday on the 28th, the Jazz Generations are back, after a two month break, playing the big band sounds of yesteryear. The music starts at 7:00 and everyone is invited – particularly those who want to practice a few new dance steps. And donations are always appreciated.

The comedian, who impersonated John F Kennedy and recorded the album “The First Family” in 1962, was Vaughn Meader. (This week’s winners of five quilt raffle tickets, and who both still have the album, are Sandy Geiser and Steve Bungum.) But one more political “Remember When” question. Before Stephen Colbert ran for President in his native state South Carolina, who was the regular on the Smothers Brothers Show that ran for President in 1968 with the campaign slogan “Just a common, ordinary, simple savior of America’s destiny”? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or write it the back of a ballot from the 1992 North Dakota Republican primary or the 1996 New Hampshire Democratic primary. Take your pick.

Well, it has been another week checking for my name in the obituaries. Until we meet again, it is always beneficial to recognize the difference between knowing and doing.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” Ian Maclaren

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