Aging Well in the Gorge January 16th 2018

Last week I heard this parable of a Chinese farmer.
One day a farmer’s horse ran away. His neighbor hears of his bad news and comes over to commiserate. “I hear that you lost your horse. That is bad news.”
Well, the next day the farmer’s horse returns to his stable, and has brought back nine wild horses. The neighbor across the way can’t believe what he hears and decides to come over and congratulate him. “This is such good news,” he says.
“Good news, bad news, who’s to say,” said the farmer.
The next day the farmer’s son decided to ride one of the wild horses, and as luck would have it, the son was thrown from the horse and broke his leg. Of course, upon hearing this sad news, their neighbor came over to offer condolences. “This is such bad news,” he said.
“Bad news, good news, who’s to say,” said the farmer.
On the following day soldiers came by commandeering an army. They took sons from most of the surrounding farms, but because the farmer’s son had a broken leg, he could not go and was spared.
The neighbor comes running over and says, “Yes! This is such good news; how lucky you are!”
And the farmer replies, “Good news, bad news, who’s to say?”
Have you experienced “bad news” from which you later found some “good news”? This parable of the Chinese farmer reminds us that our situation is always fluid, and we shouldn’t become too consumed by either our good fortune or bad. There is no magic crystal ball to tell us what our future holds.
When we experience hardships and accidents, we can take comfort in looking for the hidden benefits and opportunities. Granted it may not compensate for the current hurt and pain, but we’re tough and resilient. And the “good news”? Much of what we have learned about life has come from the “bad news” we have experienced.
You may have seen the lawn signs and posters around town, but I want to encourage you to show your support for the Blue Zones Project in The Dalles by attending the Community Kick-Off this Friday, January 19th at Civic Auditorium. The kick-off starts with the Wellness Fair at 5:30 pm, and then a one-hour presentation at 6:00 pm. The event will continue until 8:30 with fun, family friendly well-being booths and activities, cooking demonstrations, healthy food, local performances, giveaways, yoga, and downshifting demonstrations. Learn more and RSVP at
The Center has already received several calls about the AARP Tax Aide program. The dedicated volunteers will finish their training this week, so they will be ready when the program starts February 2nd and continues through April 14thon Fridays from 2:00 – 6:00 and Saturdays from 9:00 – 1:00. During the first weeks, there is always a long line, so you need to arrive early. But they will tell you if you are too late, so you won’t be wasting your time in line.
The name of the brand of colorful low-riding tricycles which were made mostly of plastic with an oversized front wheel was Big Wheels. (I received correct answers from Kim Birge, Sandy Haechrel, Jim Ayers, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, anonymous – who forgot to leave their name on the answering machine.) 
I was listening to Live Wire on OPB radio when host Luke Burbank interviewed Shawn Wen about a famous French mime who worked for the French Resistance during WW II. This mime first toured the United States in 1955 and you may remember seeing him on television performing one of his famous pantomimes – The Cage, Walking Against the Wind, or The Mask Maker. For this week’s “Remember Question”, who was the French actor and mime who performed all over the world to spread the “art of silence”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of Bip the Clown.
Well, it’s been another week, complaining about the sun in my eyes – when the sun finally shows itself.  Until we meet again, as they say in Minnesota, there is no such thing as bad weather, just different kinds of good weather.

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life, and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.” Georgia O’Keefe

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