Aging Well February 4th

There are times when you have a thought to share or story to tell but the words just don’t ring right. This seems to be one of those times, but fortunately there is much to share from history to taxes to music.

History is all around us: Fort Dalles Museum, Celilo, Rock Fort, Balch Hotel, and the Rorick House are just a few of the many historic places in Wasco County. We are a county with a proud history to appreciate and celebrate. (What other local newspaper has a feature like Roger Nichol’s Sunday challenge to identify local historical photographs?) The Original Courthouse Regional History Forum Series is an opportunity to learn more about our colorful and rich history. The series starts Saturday February 7th at 1:30 pm in the upstairs courtroom of the 1859 Courthouse located at 410 W 2nd Street behind the Chamber of Commerce. The first topic will be the fascinating story of Orlando Humason, devoted pioneer and the “Father of Wasco County” presented by local art teacher Sonja Little who has created a fresh retelling of Orlando’s story.

I was close but not quite right on the times for the free AARP Tax Aide Program starting this Friday in the basement of the Center. The actual hours are 3:00 – 6:00 on Fridays and 9:00 – 1:00 on Saturdays. For the first several weeks, the lines are long (first come, first serve), but you will have plenty of time as the program continues through April 11th. Every year there are changes in the tax laws and the AARP volunteers are trained and tested to make sure they are up to speed. To help prepare you for your visit with the AARP tax aide volunteer or with your own tax preparer, here are three of Jim’s Tantalizing Tax Tips.

“1. When visiting your tax preparer, you should know the amount of the Stimulus Payment you received or were credited for in 2008. This figure may affect both your 2008 federal and state returns. 2. Persons who paid property taxes in 2008 should bring a record of the amount paid. This will be used in itemizing deductions or will be a calculated deduction in addition to the standard deduction. 3. Taxpayers over age 62 who may owe Oregon Tax should bring a record of their medical expenses for 2008. In many cases preparers can use the standard deduction for federal and itemize deductions for Oregon only.”

Next Tuesday, as part of the Center’s Next Chapter Lecture Series, Gregory Keilman local chiropractor will be discussing “How to Stay Young the First 100 Years”. I imagine none of us really want to live forever – forever is an awfully long time- but we do want to live a healthy and productive life as long as possible. Dr. Keilman will help us understand what we can do to make that happen. The lectures are every Tuesday and start at 11:00 AM.

At the Center on Tuesday February 10th the Notecrackers will be back performing vintage music for you dancing pleasure. They have been performing and entertaining folks at the Center for over four years and we really appreciate their support. And performing tonight will be the Cherry Park Band, formerly known as Harold and Friends, who always draw a good crowd. The music starts at 7:00; admission is free – there is never a cover charge – but donations are appreciated. All ages are welcome.

There are many opportunities to sway, glide or stumble to the music in the Gorge: square dancing, tango lessons, tap and clogging and belly dancing (which I think I will skip. It is hard enough to get my feet moving in the right direction, let alone my stomach). Every Friday the Cherry Park Grange, located at Lambert and Old Dufur Road, hosts an evening of line dancing. It is open to singles and couples of all ages. Lessons start at 6 pm, followed by open dancing until 9 p.m. Cost is $3 per person, $5 per couple or $6 for the whole family, but admission is free for first-time visitors. Call (541) 993-3540 for more information.

And remember, dancing is good for the body and soul. So don’t feel shy or embarrassed to get up and have a good time. As the Japanese Proverb states, “We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.”

The Center has been invited to participate in the national “Go Red for Women Day” this Friday February 6th. As part of this special day calling attention to heart disease among women, the Mid-Columbia Medical Center, Planetree Health Resources Center and Wasco-Sherman Public Health Department are sponsoring a Heart Walk at 1:00 and a free Health Expo at the Civic Auditorium from 11am till 2 pm. Besides free health screenings, heart healthy food samples and recipes, raffle drawings, an Oasis from Stress there will be interactive exhibits and that is where the Center will be involved. At the Center we have found Wii bowling and the other Wii games a great way to get out of your seat, get moving and have fun. Several of us from the Center will be at the Civic demonstrating and teaching you how to play this #1 video game. And we promise, guaranteed or your money back, you will be so good from our expert instruction; you will want to challenge – and beat – your grandkids. For more information contact Go Red coordinators Michelle Spatz and Linda Stahl at 298-8444.

Well there was much to share so I didn’t have time to ponder the imponderables. I will have to leave that heavy lifting for another day. But let me leave you with a few more words from Carl Kramer, the sage of the senior center, “To live long, take small steps and keep your eyes open”. So watch your step and if I don’t see you between now and then, we’ll meet again next week. Same time, same place.

“History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again.” Kurt Vonnegut, author and Hoosier

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