Aging Well in the Gorge ~ November 22nd, 2023

Well, it’s the beginning of the holiday season when we enjoy the company of family – and gain seven pounds before the start of the New Year. But while visiting with parents, children, grandchildren, or all three, it can be difficult navigating around and through past hurts and slights brought to family gatherings along with gifts and holiday treats.

However, to help avoid the traps and difficulties often encountered at family gatherings, I found this advice from the website Next Avenue (, a nonprofit, online publication for people over fifty produced by Twin Cities PBS.

First, bury the hatchet (and although tempted – not in someone’s back!). You may not forget past wrongs but try to maintain a spirit of forgiveness.

Second, keep your mouth shut! Well, not exactly. But hold your tongue – even when they have it all wrong! Follow the advice of Rumi, a 13th-century Persian poet and philosopher, who suggested before you speak let your words pass through three gates. “At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’ At the second ask, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate ask, ‘Is it kind?’”

Third, simplify and reduce stress. Don’t be totally worn out when guests arrive. Determine ahead of time what is essential and what is not. And consider skipping what is not.

Fourth, sneak in a few breaks to relax before, during, and after the gathering.

Fifth, reinvent your traditions. Find a new location for the gathering. Or go as a family to help volunteer at a community event. Think outside the turkey roll.

Sixth, rethink your gift-giving. Donate on behalf of your loved one to a non-profit. Or give “experience” gifts: tickets to the theater or a gift card to a restaurant they would not normally visit. As Jana Webb once told me, “I don’t need more things!”

Families are our support system in times of hardship and adversity; our connections to the past and future. And when families are so scattered and often disconnected, being together is a special time to be enjoyed and treasured.

One of the strengths of our communities is our local businesses, and many small retail businesses depend on the holiday season. By shopping locally, you not only support those businesses, but you can ask questions in person; see what you’re buying – avoiding “It looked so different online!”; and discover those unique special gifts. So, during this holiday season don’t forget to shop local!

Brain Tease: Last week you identified the names of animals without the vowels. This week, see if you can read the following Thanksgiving quotes also without the vowels.

“A_ _pt_m_st _ s _ p_rs_n wh_ st_rts _ n_w d_ _ t _n Th_nksg_v_ng D_y.” Irv Kupcinet

“F- – ling gr- t-t-d- -nd n-t -xpr-ss-ng -t -s l-k- wr-pp-ng – pr-s-nt -nd n-t g-v-ng -t.” William Arthur Ward

The broadcast journalist who served as anchorman for the CBS Evening News from 1962 to 1981, and who ended his news program with the words, “And that’s the way it is” was Walter Cronkite. I received correct answers from Ron Nelson, Nancy Higgins, Stephen Woolpert, Jay Waterbury, Jess Birge, Dave Lutgens, Lana Tepfer, Eva Summers, Donna Mollet, Rhonda Spies, Keith Clymer, Diana Weston, Doug Nelson, Bruce Johnson, Deborah Medina, and Katherine Schlick Noe this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Rebecca Abrams and Lana Tepfer.

In 1927 Charles Lindberg, while flying alone, made the first nonstop flight from New York City to Paris, becoming a national hero. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the actor who played Charles Lindberg in the 1957 aviation biography film The Spirit of St. Louis, and who said Lindbergh’s famous flight was among the most significant events of his youth? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or send it with a U.S. “Lindbergh Air Mail” Postage Stamp issued on June 11, 1927.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to make it work without reading the instructions. Until we meet again, have a wonderful Thanksgiving – and make sure you don’t spill the gravy!

“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” Johannes A. Gaertner

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; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; 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), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answer: If you couldn’t read the two Thanksgiving quotes, I’ll share them with you next week.

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