Aging Well in the Gorge December 19th

This special time of the year brings back fond memories of young children playing around the house, excited and full of anticipation waiting for Santa’s arrival. But since my own kids have grown, left their safe harbor for grad school and careers beyond, it just isn’t the same. No longer is there time for the whole family to search for that perfect Christmas tree, judging and debating which tree would look best in the living room – and afterwards spending the evening decorating it with handmade ornaments saved from their elementary school Christmas projects.
No longer do we drive around town after the Christmas Eve service to “ohhh” and “ahhh’ at the houses illuminated with festive colors, first began when it was the only way to get the little ones to fall asleep on the “night before”. And no longer do we frantically wrap the presents after the children fell asleep, so they could magically appear under the Christmas tree – just as Santa would have left them. Now it is gift cards and frantic after Christmas shopping – looking for those bargain items too expensive or frivolous to purchase during the rest of the year.
But it is not all lost traditions. There are new ones. Flying to California (which is a nice reprieve from the cold weather) to visit our son and daughter. And Skyping with my sister and brother back east – while still learning the social protocols of visiting long distance in this modern way.
Then one day – maybe, just maybe – Christmas past will return with the sound of little feet once again running around the house as the grandkids come to visit their grandpa and grandma during this special time of the year. You can always hope.
The 8th lesson in the Blue Zones Power of 9, “Loved Ones First”, is appropriate for this week when families gather for Christmas. Successful centenarians in the Blue Zones put their families first. They keep their aging parents and grandparents nearby or in their home (which is certainly not the American norm any more); they commit to a lifelong partner; and devote their time and love to their children.
During this Christmas season, I hope you have the opportunity to spend time with your loved ones – young and old. And to appreciate how important and comforting loved ones and family are, even with all their flaws – and all of ours.
During this holiday period, the Center and Meals-on-Wheels will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. In addition, Meals-on-Wheels will be closed on the day after Christmas. Also, several of the Center’s activities will be taking time off. During the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, Chair Yoga, Strength Yoga, and Zumba Gold will not meet. Tai Chi and Line Dancing/Clogging will be taking a break until February. But if after all the Christmas cookies, you feel you need some exercise, Strong Women will still be meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 – 3:00. If you have any questions about the classes and activities, call the Center at 541-296-4788.
The actor who portrayed Ted Hanover, Jim Hardy’s (Bing Crosby) musical partner in the 1942 film Holiday Inn, was Fred Astaire. (I received correct answers from Jerry Philips, Diana Weston and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Betsy Ayers. But we will all have to wait until the Cherry Festival breakfast for the next quilt raffle drawing – which like Christmas, will be here sooner than we think.)    
It’s the week before Christmas, and it wouldn’t be right not to have another Christmas related question – but this time it’s music. There are many popular Christmas recordings from the all-time favorite “White Christmas” to “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” by Jimmy Boyd. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what actor/singer sang the Christmas classic “Holly Jolly Christmas” featured in the 1964 Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a cat from a hot tin roof.

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” Calvin Coolidge

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