Aging Well in the Gorge ~ March 29th, 2023

In her February 16th opinion piece in the Washington Post titled “Gen Z might not want to drive. Gen Old shouldn’t”, 84-year-old Elaine Soloway, urges her generation to “Please STOP driving!”

That may be a little extreme and stereotyping older adults – although she lives in Chicago and who would want to drive in any large city? But even around here, we’ve probably known someone we think should stay off the roads, hang up the keys, and sell the car.

But when to stop driving is one of the most agonizing decisions we make as we get older. Driving is a sign of independence. It allows us to visit friends, attend our favorite activities, and buy groceries on our own and when we want.

There are excellent door-to-door transportation options in the Gorge if you decide not to drive. I’m not there yet. But if I’m going to continue driving, I need to learn how to drive smarter. My automatic pilot isn’t as dependable as it once was. And the best way to learn to drive smarter is to complete the AARP Smart Driver Course.

Over 16 million drivers have completed the course and ninety-two percent of the participants say they’d recommend the AARP Smart Driver course to a friend. The course teaches proven driving techniques to help keep you and your loved ones safe on the road. You’ll learn about the effects of medication on driving; how to maintain the proper following distance; handling left turns, right-of-way, and roundabouts; and the proper use of safety belts, airbags, and new technology found in cars today.

You’ll also learn techniques for how to adjust your driving to compensate for the age-related physical and cognitive changes many of us experience such as how to reduce driver distractions. And after completing the course, when one of your children is driving, you’ll have the confidence to gently scream, “YOU’RE DRIVING TOO CLOSE!”

The AARP Smart Driver course will be held at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center on April 26th from 1:00 – 4:30 and April 27th from 11:30 – 3:00. You’ll need to attend both sessions to receive your certificate. The cost is $25 per person or $20 for AARP members and you should bring your driver’s license and a pen. Call the Center at 541-296-4788 to sign up. It is open to all Oregon residents.

For those of you who are unable to attend the course, you can take it online by logging on to the AARP Smart Driver Course website. You don’t experience the interaction you find in an in-person class, but it’s convenient and self-paced with sixty days to complete the course.

Brain Tease: This week see if you can solve this ‘series teaser’ where you try to complete the following sequence of numbers. Ready, set, go!

What number comes next? 35, 79, 1113, 1517, ?

The name of the frightening 1968 psychological horror film about a story of Satanism and a young wife’s pregnancy was Rosemary’s Baby. I received correct answers from Lana Tepfer, Bruce Johnson, Rhonda Spies, Dave Lutgens, Deborah Medina, Steven Woolpert, Maria Kollas, who pointed out Rosemary’s Baby is pretty tame compared to horror films nowadays, and Sharon Mounsey this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Linda Frizzell.

Henry Mancini, one of the greatest film composers of all time, wrote the scores for the Peter Gunn television series, the Pink Panther films, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s which included this song described as a “romantic song in which the romantic partner is the idea of romance.”

For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the song Henry Mancini composed with lyrics by Johnny Mercer for Breakfast at Tiffany’s and became Andy Williams’ theme song? Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788, or send it with the iconic black Givenchy dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the film. (It’s for my wife!)

Well, it’s been another week, trying to keep my mind on the road. Until we meet again, as Robert J. Sawyer once said  “Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace.”

“Why is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person?” Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through

Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Hood River

Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center

(541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333)

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services – Goldendale office

(509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068); Skamania County Senior

Services (509-427-3990).

Answer: 1921…just keep adding two, 3…5…7…9…11…13…15…17…19…21

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