Aging Well in the Gorge August 4th 2015

We are social beings and for most of us, we need to interact with others: sharing our everyday experiences; jokes we’ve heard – often again and again; our dreams and hopes; our mental lapses. (That no one noticed my zipper was unzipped. Thank goodness I don’t tuck in my shirt.) And the good news: stories about the grandkids – they still have possibilities; trips abroad and family reunions.

To connect with others is in our nature. But as we get older our social connections are reduced: we may no longer be working; friends have died or moved away, it’s easier to stay home instead of going out. (I need to be in bed by 9:00!) and sadly, we may have lost our life long partner with whom we shared everything.

I’ve written about the value of social connections. But often overlooked is the importance of listening. If someone is going to share their stories, there needs to be someone there to receive them. And yes, while listening you may sometimes hear about the latest doctor’s visit, or which medications are working – or not, and the different aches and pains. I’m often sharing stories about my latest visit to my doctor, or my dermatologist, or my cardiologist, or my ENT specialist. (Hmm. Maybe I need to find something else to talk about.) But we are all trying to cope with this condition called AGE, and someone needs to be there to listen.

Although listening is simple, it’s not always easy. As Margaret Wheatley points put, “Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else. We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen”. Listening is something we should all do for each other. And if we really do listen, we will learn so much more.
When you walk into the Center’s lobby, you’ll see two beautiful quilts hanging on the walls. They are made by the Senior Center Quilters who meet every Monday from 10:00 – 3:00 downstairs – and they are always looking for more quilters to join them. At the Fort Dalles Cowboy Breakfast, the Center raffled off the Basket Quilt – won by Sherry Dufault. But a new star patterned quilt that was hand pieced and hand quilted is now hanging in the lobby. You can imagine how many hours were put into making it. Quilt raffle tickets are now available at the Center and the drawing will be held in December during the Center’s annual Holiday Breakfast.

Next is one of those ideas I wish I had thought of. The Dalles Art Center is sponsoring a weekly get together to sketch and doodle – which I know you can do. You probably did it during history class in high school. It is very informal and open to everyone from beginners to advance artists. There is no instructor and everyone learns from each other. All you need is paper and pen. Each week they meet at a different location. To find out where they will be meeting, call the Art Center at 541-296-4759.

And sticking with The Dalles Art Center, the Center, along with Tobin Swick/Swick Family Music, will be sponsoring the Art Center’s Open Reception on Thursday August 6th from 5:00 – 7:00 PM.

This month’s art show is “Gorge Artists Create” – the Art Center’s annual juried exhibit held every summer. At the Center on Tuesday, August 11th, Martin and Friends will be performing. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome, and donations are appreciated.

On the Road, considered the defining work of the postwar Beat generation, was written by Jack Kerouac based on his notes from his travels across America in the late 1940’s. (And the winner of three quilt raffle tickets is Bill Van Nice.)

By 1954 the transistor replaced vacuum tubes making portable radios lighter and allowing everyone to listen to their favorite radio station anywhere. Consequently, transistor radios became the most popular electronic communication device in history. For this week’s “Remember When” question what little known company from overseas was the first to dominate the transistor radio market in America? Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with an original TR-55 transistor radio.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to keep the cool winds blowing. Until we meet again, you know you are old when the “oldies” stations start playing hits from the 1980’s.

“The word LISTEN contains the same letters as SILENT.” Alfred Bendel

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