Aging Well in the Gorge February 1st 2023

When I was picking up my latest prescription, the pharmacist asked if I wanted to get the shingles shot. Since it has been on my mind for years, I agreed, thinking I was going to make an appointment. When I was asked to fill out a questionnaire, I realized this is more than just making an appointment. And I was right. Fifteen minutes later I received my first of the two-dose shingles shot! And even though it wasn’t what I had planned, I’m glad I finally did.

Shingles is not a walk in the park. It’s a viral infection that causes a painful rash anywhere on your body caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you’ve had chickenpox, and if you were born before 1980 you have a greater than 99% chance of having had chickenpox, the virus stays in your body for the rest of your life. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles.

Early signs of shingles include mild to severe burning or shooting pain and tingling or itching. One to 14 days later, you will get a rash that consists of blisters that typically scab over in 7 to 10 days.

So how can you prevent shingles, especially for us who are older and have a greater risk of developing shingles?

As you may know, there is a more recent shingles vaccine. The first vaccine, Zostavax, was approved in 2006 which reduced the risk of shingles by 51%. Many of you may have received that vaccine. But in 2017 the two-dose recombinant zoster vaccine Shingrix was approved and is more than 90% effective. Even if you’ve already received the Zostavax vaccine or if you had shingles in the past, it is recommended that you receive the Shingrix vaccine. But if you’ve had an allergic reaction to a vaccine or have a weakened immune system, you should talk to your doctor first.

While some people may have a very sore arm, fatigue, and low-grade fever after the vaccine, most people experience only mild side effects. In my case, my shoulder was just sore for several days.

So don’t procrastinate. The highly effective Shingrix shingles vaccine is the best defense against shingles and is recommended for anyone over 50. But you may want to check your Medicare drug plan first to make sure it is covered.

A beautifully written article by Mike Ballenger about Bob Kenyon and his sense of adventure at any age is this month’s “Through the Eyes of an Elder”. It is an inspiring story – although not inspiring enough for me to want to swim the cold Columbia. Read, enjoy, and learn what Bob feels it means to live a fulfilling life.

Caring for someone with a chronic condition is rewarding, but it can also be challenging. To learn how to take of yourself so you can better care for your loved one, there is Powerful Tools for Caregivers – a free, six-session class that will be held on Mondays, Feb 27 – April 3, 11am – 12:30pm via Zoom. To sign up or ask questions contact Roni Hyde at rhyde@gobhi.org or 541-705-4870. Space is limited and registration is required.

Brain Tease: Some months have 31 days and some 30 days. How many months have 28 days?

The television game show host for Truth or Consequences from 1956 to 1975 and The Price Is Right from 1972 to 2007 was Bob Baker who is alive and well at 99. I received correct answers from Keith and Marlene Clymer, Lana Tepfer, Donna Mollett, Melissa Hayes, Jeannie Pesicka, Emmett Sampson, Bruce Johnson, Doug Nelson, Rhonda Spies, and Sharon Mounsey this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

This week’s question may bring back memories of thumbing through the library’s wooden card catalog searching for a book for your class assignment. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the library classification system used to categorize non-fiction books?  Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a copy of the classification system.

Well, it’s been another week, writing down ideas before they are forgotten. Until we meet again, don’t sleep too long with your clothes on.

“Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops… at all.” Emily Dickinson

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: Every month has 28 days.

Aging Well in the Gorge January 25th 2023

Recently I’ve been on a hot streak seeing a doctor or a primary care provider once every month, and each time I go fearing what they’ll discover. And I’ll tell you, it doesn’t help when I hear, “We’ll, I’ve never seen that before.” or “Oh, that doesn’t look good!”

When you see a doctor as often as many of us, good communication is critically important – particularly for us older adults who often have more serious health conditions. If your doctor doesn’t know what you are experiencing, how is she going to treat you effectively? And if you don’t understand the hows, whats, and whys of your diagnosis and treatment, how are you going to follow your doctor’s advice?

So how best can you communicate with your doctor? Here are a few tips provided by the National Institute on Aging.

1.) Be honest. Don’t just say what you want the doctor to hear – that you have been exercising even when you haven’t. Tell it like it is so she’ll have accurate information for your diagnosis and treatment.

2.) Decide which three or four questions you’ll ask and state them at the beginning of the appointment, so they aren’t overlooked. You can start by listing all your concerns and prioritizing them before your visit. And if you don’t understand the answers, ask your doctor to clarify.

3.) Stick to the point. I always enjoy the friendly small-town chats but keep it short and get to the reason you’re there. Briefly state your symptoms, when they started, how often they happen, and if they are getting worse or better.

4.) Share your feelings about the visit. Tell your doctor if you feel rushed, worried, or uncomfortable.

And I’ll add one more from my own experience.

5) Consider bringing another set of ears – especially if you have difficulty hearing. They may catch something important you missed.

You can learn more by picking up a copy of the National Institute on Aging’s “A Guide for Older People – Talking with Your Doctor” or you can go to their website www.nia.nih.gov/health.

I have to give a plug for the upcoming theater production of Ripcord by Big Britches Productions. You won’t find many plays that feature older adults. But this comic drama by David Lindsay-Abaire and directed by Joe Garoutte “explores adversarial relationships between two older women in the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility: cantankerous Abby forced to share her sunny room with newly arrived and infuriatingly chipper Marilyn”.

The plot involves a seemingly harmless bet which quickly escalates into a dangerous game of one-upmanship revealing not just the tenacity of these worthy opponents, but also the deeper truths they would prefer to remain hidden.

Ripcord plays at The Bingen Theater, 210 Oak St. Bingen with shows on January 27th, 28th, February 3rd, 4th, 10th, and 11th at 7:30 PM and January 29th, February 5th at 2:00 pm. Admission is $25 for adults and $23 for seniors. For more information, visit bigbritches.org or email info@bigbritches.org.

The name of the prehistoric reptilian monster that debuted in the 1954 film and has been called the “King of the Monsters” is Godzilla. I received correct answers from Emmett Sampson, Lana Tepfer, Deloris Schrader, Kim Birge, Dave Lutgens, Donna Mollet, Maria Kollas, and Melissa Hayes who sent me a picture of Godzilla fighting King Kong and is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Game shows have been a staple of daytime television since the 1950s and we all had our favorites – What’s My Line?, I’ve Got A Secret, or To Tell the Truth. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the television game show host for Truth or Consequences from 1956 to 1975 and The Price Is Right from 1972 to 2007? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a donation to your favorite animal rights organization.

Brain Tease: Another test of your grey matter. How many pennies can you put into an empty piggy bank?

Well, it’s been another week, looking for the prize in the cereal box. Until we meet again, as I often have to remind myself, there is a reason we have two ears and only one mouth.

“If a man loses anything and goes back and looks carefully for it, he will find it.” Sitting Bull

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: Just one – after that it won’t be empty.

Distinguished Citizen’s Volunteer of the Year: Scott McKay!

Webster’s Dictionary defines a volunteer as follows:
Noun: a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task.
Verb: freely offer to do something.
That word ‘freely’ means they do not expect ANYTHING in return. There is no agenda to accomplish, nor expectation of reciprocity, because they volunteered to do something. It means they freely give of their time, energy, love, and themselves. This year’s recipient embodies all that and so much more. They inspire people to engage, perform their best and serve from the heart. They have mentored many and supported anyone whose life or work journey has crossed their path.
They took their passion for a sport and became a coach who is remembered above all other coaches, who have been endorsed and requested by our youth, and who shines from the inside out when they get to work with young people. They not only teach the skill of the sport, but they encourage self-growth, and confidence, and challenge them with positivity to improve. They love this coach and all that they did for them. Some of the students come back and visit to say Thank You and maybe remind them that they have aged a little.
This volunteer has even served in a public seat to help and support our county and just when many of us would have been happy to retire with all that behind us this person decided that still wasn’t enough. Remember that FREELY giving of yourself? They went on to take care of a treasured and specific demographic in our community. He made sure they had support, education, fun activities, self-care, and so much more. He wanted to make sure that this part of our community knew they had a resource for help and most importantly a place they felt that they belonged.
They were instrumental in designing new programs to fit their needs better and providing FUN, a place of social belonging, and perhaps even some BINGO. They have dedicated the last 30 years to a noble task, and we know they are not yet done serving this community with their unique talents, impactful leadership, and enduring efforts to provide a better world for our aging community. I have always said we have the most rocking and awesome Senior Center in the state!
I am so honored to present this award to this individual who has taught me so much these past few years and inexplicably NEVER seems to run out of energy. I want to say from my heart – THANK YOU to our 2022 Outstanding Volunteer of the year … Scott McKay

Aging Well in the Gorge January 18th, 2023

Most of us imagine we will always be living unassisted in our homes, happy and content, with our arm around our loved one watching the setting sun. But then over time, that idyllic picture is shattered. You fall and break your hip, or your sight becomes so poor it’s no longer safe to drive, or you can’t remember to turn off the gas stove. Then what do you do?

In those situations, you can still live a meaningful life, but you may need some level of long-term care to keep doing what you like to do.

Long-term care (LTC) is a range of services and supports to meet your personal care needs: helping you get to appointments, cooking meals, bathing, and dressing from a paid caregiver but more often from a spouse or close family member – who often neglect their own health needs. Or it could mean moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home.

Very few people have thought about long-term care or even want to talk about it. They are difficult conversations triggering many emotions; not something you discuss around the dining room table during Thanksgiving with your adult children.

But we should. Why?

Someone turning 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services and supports in their remaining years whether at home or in a care facility.

And it can be expensive. Medicare provides only very limited coverage for long-term care. Thankfully there is Medicaid which pays for the bulk of long-term care services, but it is based on an older adult’s income and assets, often requiring “spending down” to qualify.

Since most of us will need long-term care, we should plan. But we seldom do.

To start you can learn the basics about LTC services at the U.S. government’s LongTermCare.gov website: how to pay for them and how to prepare. The site includes tips for anyone, healthy or not, over age 50.

In Oregon, you can also call the local Area Agency on Aging at 541-506-3512. They offer Options Counseling where trained Options Counselors can work with you and your family to identify your long-term goals and help create an action plan to achieve them. And for anyone over 55 who needs periodic support such as a friendly visit or a ride to the grocery store, you can call Circles of Care at 541-397-0724.

We don’t plan for life with an aging body. But as Jennifer Crowley author of Seven Steps to Long-Term Care Planning points out, if we can move from denial to action, it can relieve a lot of anxiety. “There’s a peace of mind that comes from getting your affairs in order. … There’s never a wrong time to get started. But there’s always a right time. We can’t avoid certain adversities such as illness or injury, but we can prepare for them.”

Brain Tease: Another often-heard challenge for your brain.

Mom and Dad have four daughters, and each daughter has one brother. How many people are in the family?

The quarterback from Oregon State University who won the Heisman Trophy in 1962 was Terry Baker. I received correct answers from Nancy Higgins, Doug Nelson, Dave Lutgens, Lee Kaseberg, Jess Birge, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Keith Clymer who got to watch Terry Baker play when his high school football team played WyEast back in 1960. And last week I missed Richard Shaw and Shelley Baxter.

When watching this science fiction movie as a child, I ran out of the living room scared and embarrassed in front of my friends. (I still shut my eyes during scary scenes. I only saw half of Jaws!)

For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the prehistoric reptilian monster that debuted in the 1954 film directed and co-written by Ishirō Honda and has been called the “King of the Monsters”? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a picture of this monster battling King Kong.

Well, it’s been another week, looking for the silver lining on a cloudy day. Until we meet again, keep busy but don’t rush.

“Age is only a number, a cipher for the records. A man can’t retire his experience. He must use it.” Bernard Baruch

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: Seven. The four daughters have only one brother, making five children, plus mom and dad.

Aging Well in the Gorge January 10th, 2023

Do any of you make New Year’s resolutions anymore? As Mark Twain wrote on news years day in 1863, “Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time.”

It may be surprising but fifty percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep at least one of them. And a little hint. You are more likely to keep a resolution if it is about adopting a new habit and not about avoiding one – such as that bowl of ice cream every night.

And do we really need them? I mean, at our age we’ve experienced enough that we should have it all figured out, right? And what do we really want to change?

But New Year’s resolutions are an opportunity to imagine what changes we would like to experience this year: walking with friends every day, finishing that book you’ve been meaning to read, or mailing out the Christmas cards! (Is it too late?)

There is much we can’t control: medical emergencies; the size of our social security check; whether it is going to rain or snow. But there are still many aspects of our lives we can control or at least influence.

So here we are, in a new year. We can keep doing the same old same old – and there is nothing wrong with that. But we can also branch out; take this opportunity to contemplate other ways to make our lives worth living – so we won’t miss what is truly important.

Brain Tease

I couldn’t answer several of the past Brain Teases since I’m not the sharpest bulb in the drawer but hoped you could. But for the next several weeks I’ll provide a little respite and share teases which I think you’ll find easier – maybe too easy!

1) How can a woman pass three cars going 70 miles-per-hour, while going 60 miles per hour?

It’s time to catch up on all of you who responded to the last three weeks of “Remember When” questions. And as you know each winner will have a ticket entered in a quilt raffle drawing.

December 21st – The name of the popular toy invented in 1943 that can travel down a flight of stairs, end over end and land upright was a Slinky. I received responses from

Donna Mollett, Jay Waterbury, Rhonda Spies, Doug Nelson, Barb Blair, Pat Evenson-Brady, Lana Tepfer, Maria and Paul Kollas, Patty Burnet, Jess and Kim Birge, Keith Clymer, Jim Tindall, Tina Castanares, Bruce Johnson, Robert Mobley, Stephen Woolpert, and this week’s winner Melissa Hayes who sent a Slinky Commercial she found on YouTube.

December 28th – The name of the 1957 tearjerker starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr was An Affair to Remember. I received correct answers from these romantics: Kim Birge, Debbie Medina, Doug Nelson, Rebecca Abrams, Tina Castanares, and Bob Johnson the week’s winner.

January 4th – The name of the automobile manufacturer that built the Lark and the stylistic Avanti was Studebaker. I receive correct answers from Jay Waterbury, Dave Lutgens, Donna Mollet, Doug Nelson, Bruce Johnson, Steven Woolpert, Marlene and Keith Clymer, and Emmett Sampson this week’s winner.

The national college football championship game is over and to acknowledge the end of the season, I’m going to ask a college football question that has Oregon roots. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the quarterback that won the Heisman Trophy in 1962 and surprisingly also helped lead his school to the NCAA Basketball Tournament Final Four in 1963? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with the January 7th, 1963 edition of Sports Illustrated where he was named “Sportsman of the Year”.

“Many years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution to never make New Year’s resolutions. Hell, it’s been the only resolution I’ve ever kept!” D.S. Mixell

Well, it’s been another week, trying to remember to write 2023 and not that other year.

Until we meet again, may you have more laughs than tears this new year.

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: The cars she passed were going in the opposite direction.

Aging Well in the Gorge January 4th, 2023

My wife and I should be back from California having visited the children and being enlightened about what we should be doing! (We stop that conversation quickly by asking which one of them will be taking us in when we get to that age.) 

Even though our children would like us to live forever (They haven’t really thought that through!), I know this journey of ours is not about living longer. It is about taking care of ourselves and others so we can gracefully live the rest of our lives with courage, compassion, and meaning. 

For this first column of 2023, I thought I would again share lessons I have learned over the last fifteen years of my journey from the many older adults I have had the fortune of meeting. (Although my wife just asked, “Are we supposed to be learning lessons?”) Each year I will keep revising the list because although I don’t know what the years ahead will bring, I know there are more lessons to learn. 

  1. What is good for your heart is good for your brain.
  2. Learn a new skill without worrying about how good you’ll be.
  3. First steps to improve your memory: pay attention and focus.
  4. Most things don’t really matter, but a few really do.
  5. Stay current with friends. There may not be a tomorrow.
  6. Getting older beats the alternative, but it is hard work.
  7. Accept what you can’t control – and then adapt.
  8. Live in the “now”.
  9. Know what you want and let others know – particularly your adult children!
  10. Tiredness causes tiredness. Do something.
  11. Age is in your attitude.
  12. Adeline’s five “S” to avoid: Sugar, Salt, Seconds, Soda, and Shortening.
  13. Add color to your meals – meaning eat your vegetables!
  14. Isolation kills. Stay connected.
  15. Keep moving – at least 30 minutes a day.
  16. Breathe from your belly.
  17. See the world with virgin eyes and you’ll find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
  18. Relationships are more important than things. 
  19. Grey hair is cool – and beautiful.
  20. Living is aging. Embrace your age.
  21. We all depend on each other, so there is no shame in asking for help.
  22. Everybody has a story to tell – if we listen.
  23. “Dream as if you will live forever and live as if you will die tomorrow.” James Dean 

This month’s “Through the Eyes of an Elder” is about Sally Ann Kortge. On my way to work, I often would see her walking in her colorful clothing and wondering “Who is this woman?” I finally had the pleasure of meeting her and viewing her imaginative and original artwork during the opening of her exhibit at The Dalles Art Center. I found her to be an amazing woman! 

Brain Tease: Try to guess the next number in each sequence using the simplest mathematical operations or ideas. 

1, 2, 6, 24, 120, …

31, 94, 47, 142, 71, 214, 107, 322, 161, …

4, 7, 15, 29, 59, 117, …

The name of the 1957 American romantic film starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr who were engaged to others but planned to meet six months later which didn’t go as planned was An Affair to Remember. As I haven’t returned from sunny San Diego by the time I had to submit this column, I will mention next week everyone who submitted correct answers for this week and last.

During the 1950s a massive price war between Ford and General Motors affected many of the independent car companies such as Nash, Packard and this automobile manufacturer who operated a plant in South Bend, Indiana until 1963. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this automobile manufacturer that built the Lark one of the first compacts, and the stylistic Avanti called “the fastest production car in the world” at the time? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a restored 1960 Hawk.

“I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.” Lily Tomlin

Well, it’s been another week, trying to tip-toe across the stage without being noticed. Until we meet again, even in doubt, there is a time to act.

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: 720 (×2, ×3, ×4, ×5, ×6, …)

484 (×3+1, /2, ×3+1, /2, …)

235 (×2-1, ×2+1, ×2-1, …)

Aging Well in the Gorge December 28th, 2022

Once again, my wife and I are driving to California to visit the children and enjoy a respite from the cold. So I’d like to keep it simple by sharing a humorous story I have enjoyed and hope you will also. But first. 

Laughing is good for your health – stimulating your brain and reducing stress are just two of the many benefits. Amusing stories are also beneficial as we age by acknowledging the incongruities and absurdities of life and reminding us of our shared experiences. As Robert Fulton puts it “It is a matter of laughing with ourselves, not at ourselves.” 

Although there are many blessings as we get older, laughter can also help us deal with the accompanying challenges. Bob Newhart once said, “Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it, and then move on.” So here we are, still alive and kicking – or at least moving.

Now it’s time for the story about a tired senior and an arrogant and persistent lawyer who to his regret believes the stereotypes of older adults. 

A lawyer and a senior are sitting next to each other on a long flight. The lawyer is thinking that seniors are so dumb that he could get one over on them easily. So, the lawyer asks if the senior would like to play a fun game.

The senior is tired and just wants to take a nap, so he politely declines and tries to catch a few winks. The lawyer persists, saying that the game is a lot of fun.

“I ask you a question, and if you don’t know the answer, you pay me only $5.00. Then, you ask me one, and if I don’t know the answer, I will pay you $500.00,” he says.

This catches the senior’s attention and, to keep the lawyer quiet, he agrees to play the game with him.

The lawyer asks the first question. “What’s the distance from the Earth to the Moon?”

“The senior doesn’t say a word, but reaches into his pocket, pulls out a five-dollar bill, and hands it to the lawyer.

Now, it’s the senior’s turn. He asks the lawyer, “What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down with four?”

The lawyer uses his laptop to search all references and he can’t find it on the Internet.

He sends E-mails to all the smart friends he knows; and all to no avail. After an hour of searching, he finally gives up.

He wakes the senior and hands him $500.00. The senior pockets the $500.00 and goes right back to sleep. The lawyer is going nuts now, not knowing the answer.

He wakes the senior up again and asks, “Well, so what goes up a hill with three legs and comes down with four??”

The senior reaches into his pocket, hands the lawyer $5.00 and goes back to sleep. 

Brain Tease: This one turned my head into a pretzel. See if you can do better. The day before yesterday, Chris was 7 years old. Next year, she’ll turn 10. How is this possible?

The name of the popular toy invented in 1943 that can travel down a flight of stairs, end over end and land upright was a Slinky. Since my wife and I are on our annual road trip I will name those who submitted correct answers in two weeks. 

This is a tough one. We’ll see how many romantics there are in the audience. This film is considered one of the most romantic films of all time and it started with a New Year’s Eve kiss. For this week’s “Remember When’ question what’s the name of the 1957 tearjerker starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in which both were engaged to others but decided to meet six months later which doesn’t go as planned. Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a bottle of non-alcoholic champagne. 

“Look to the future, because that is where you’ll spend the rest of your life.” George Burns.

Well, it’s been another week, waiting to turn the page. Until we meet again, may the new year be all you hope for. 

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: Today is Jan. 1st. Yesterday, December 31, was Chris’s 8th birthday. On December 30, she was still 7. This year she will turn 9, and next year, she’ll turn 10.

Aging Well in the Gorge December 21st, 2022

It’s the Christmas Season – a time for memories that stir our senses: the smell of cookies baking in the oven, houses sparkling with Christmas Lights, and Salvation Army bells ringing at local supermarkets. It is also a time to remember how we have been blessed at our chronologically advantaged age and how we can still give back and make a difference. On this Wednesday before Christmas, I would like to share with you “Star Thrower”, a story about making a difference that touched me when I first heard it. This version was inspired by the writings of Loren Eiseley, anthropologist and natural science writer, and adapted by Joel Barker.

“Once upon a time, there was a young man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had the habit of walking along the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore; as he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day, so he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was an old man and the old man wasn’t dancing, but instead, he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something, and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer he called out, ‘Good morning! What are you doing?’

The old man paused, looked up and replied, ‘Throwing Starfish into the ocean.’

‘I guess I should have asked; why are you throwing Starfish into the ocean?’

‘The sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them in they’ll die.’

‘But old man, don’t you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and Starfish all along it, you can’t possibly make a difference!’

The old man listened politely, then bent down, picked up another Starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves. ‘It made a difference for that one.’

His response surprised the man, he was upset, and he didn’t know how to reply, so instead he turned away and walked back to the cottage to begin his writings.

All day long as he wrote, the image of that old man haunted him; he tried to ignore it, but the vision persisted. Finally, late in the afternoon, he realized that he the scientist, he the poet, had missed the essential nature of the old man’s actions. Because he realized that what the old man was doing was choosing not to be an observer in the universe and watch it pass by but was choosing to be an actor in the universe and make a difference. He was embarrassed.

That night he went to bed, troubled. When morning came, he awoke knowing that he had to do something; so he got up, put on his clothes, went to the beach and found the old man; and with him spent the rest of the morning throwing Starfish into the ocean.

Brain Tease: The elves and reindeer are getting ready for a meeting with Santa. So far 14 of them have arrived. If they have 38 legs between them, how many reindeer are at the meeting and how many elves are at the meeting?

The name of the capsules that had been laced with potassium cyanide was Tylenol. I received correct answers from Jeannie Pesicka, Emmett Sampson, Nancy Higgins who I also missed last week, Jay Waterbury, Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, Rebecca Abrams, Donna Mollett, Bruce Johnson, and Bruce Ruttenburg this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. 

This week’s “Remember When” question is about a toy you may have received on Christmas morning in the ’50s and ’60s. What was the name of the popular toy invented in 1943 that can travel down a flight of stairs, end over end and land upright? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a polaroid picture of you and Santa.

Well, it’s been another week, counting my blessings before I go to sleep. Until we meet again, may all of you have a joyous Christmas celebrating peace on earth and goodwill toward all people.

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” Norman Vincent Peale

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: 9 elves and 5 reindeer

Aging Well in the Gorge December 14th, 2022

“Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,–
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

You may be familiar with these last six lines from the heroic poem “Ulysses” by Alfred Lord Tennyson. It was my son’s favorite poem during his youthful days because it encapsulated the romantic belief that at all costs – you never give up.

Isn’t that the national ideal we try to live up to? Under all adversity, against impossible odds, we cannot accept defeat. We will scale any mountain, navigate any whitewater and overcome any challenge because as our parents always told us “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.

But as we grow older, we learn there are limits to what we can do. We may no longer be able to drive a car safely, walk without assistance, or be able to stay in our homes. And we won’t live forever.

There is a reality that can’t be denied, a time when we must accept, and adapt to what is real and unavoidable with courage and imagination. And no longer complain about the direction of the wind and instead choose to adjust the sails and move forward.

And we should move forward with new understanding and grace; with purpose and strength; and not yield to self-pity and self-delusion that often damages our health as well as relationships with family and friends. That may be the toughest struggle – to accept and adapt to the new reality.  To modify the words of Tennyson, even though we are made weak by time and fate we can still be strong in will and can strive, seek, find – and adapt.

Isn’t it supposed to snow only during the winter which doesn’t begin until the 21st !? But now with our first dose of snow and ice, it’s time for my annual reminder that if you must go outside on these icy days, don’t forget to “walk like a penguin”! What does that mean? So you can skip the National Geographic special about penguins, it means pointing your feet out slightly; bending your knees and keeping them loose; extending your arms out to your side and hands out of your pockets; taking short steps or waddling. And it might also help to dress in your formal black and white attire to remind yourself to stay focused.

Brain Tease: This is a logic puzzle where you solve the puzzle by elimination – which I can’t do without pencil and paper.

Four sisters, Sara, Ophelia, Nora, and Dawn were each born in a different one of the months September, October, November, and December.
“This is terrible,” said Ophelia one day. “None of us have an initial that matches the initial of her birth month.”
“I don’t mind at all,” replied the girl who was born in September.
“That’s easy for you to say,” said Nora. “It would at least be cool if the initial of my birth month was a vowel, but no.”
In which month was each girl born?

In the Disney adaptation, the comical and wisecracking character appointed by the Blue Fairy to serve as Pinocchio’s official conscience was Jiminy Cricket.  I received correct answers from Tina Castanares, Doug Nelson, Rhonda Spies, Donna Mollet, Debora Medina, Kim Birge, Pat Evenson-Brady, Lana Tepfer, Keith Clymer, and Emmett Sampson this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

In 1982 there were a series of poisoning deaths in the Chicago metropolitan area resulting from drug tampering. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the over-the-counter capsules that had been laced with potassium cyanide and led to reforms in the packaging of over-the-counter medicines? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a bottle I can use for my arthritis.

Well, it’s been another week, keeping one eye on the sky and the other on the temperature. Until we meet again, the winter is made to remind us to slow down.

“Rivers know this: There is no hurry. We shall get there.” A.A. Milne, Writer

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: Sara was born in October, Ophelia was born in November, Nora was born in December, and Dawn was born in September.

Aging Well in the Gorge December 7th, 2022

When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation with someone from a different generation? Not often for most older adults. We feel more comfortable with those who grew up during the same time as us and share similar experiences and now memories. My generation lived through the soul searching controversies of the Vietnam War and Watergate. And was anyone at Woodstock? But don’t ask me about Instagram or Snapchat; or the Squid Game or The Walking Dead. (Okay, I have heard of Kim Kardashian but I have no idea why she is such a media star!)

We divide up into our corners: schools and youth activities for the young and retirement communities and senior centers for older people. But there are reasons to bridge these generational divides.

A study by the non-profit Generations United, emphasizes the importance of intergenerational connections. “…participation in intergenerational programs and meaningful cross-age relationships may decrease social isolation and increase older adults’ sense of belonging, self-esteem, and well-being, while also improving social and emotional skills of children and youth participants.”

Intergenerational connections and relationships can also help generations value and respect each other; breaking down stereotypes of both older adults and the younger generations.

On the “Better Health While Aging” website, Leslie Kernisan, MD, interviewed Kerry Byrne, Ph.D., an aging and family caregiving expert, about the value of intergenerational connections and five ways to foster more of them.

1. Set a resolution to connect. Establish a goal for how often you will connect with someone from a different generation. Brainstorm a few ways to do this, and then pick one and commit to it.

2. Get involved in an intergenerational initiative in your community. For example, many schools welcome grandparents or older adults as volunteers in the classroom such as the Smart Reading Program.

3. Make efforts to strike up conversations with someone from a different generation. Learn something new from a different perspective. And remember to listen. It might even remind you of all the “I can’t believe I ever did that” mistakes you’ve made.

4. Interview someone from a different generation in your family. Showing an interest in what they like and what they care about be special for both of you. To get you started you can download the app StoryCorps on your phone or tablet.

5. Plan a trip with a member of your family from a different generation. Some grandparents take their grandchildren on a trip when they turn 10 to mark the first decade of life.

And I would add, play a game together. Learn how to play one of their favorite video games. And then teach them your favorite card game – pinochle or maybe Texas Hold’em?

An example of generations connecting is this week’s “Through the Eyes of an Elder” where two young women, Eleanor Buser and Stella Streeter both students at Hood River New School, interviewed Doña Toña’s and tell her story of emigrating from Mexico and becoming a Promotora de Salud (health promoter) for The Next Door.

Brain Tease: This is a tough one! What do the following words have in common?

Feminine, kindergarten, canine, overweight, threaten, cobblestone, height, done.

I’ll give a hint after the “Remember When” question.

The name of the Western television series starring James Garner as a poker player working the riverboats and saloons through the American frontier was Maverick. I received correct answers from Chuck Rice, who I missed last week, Doug Nelson, Jay Waterbury, Lana Tepfer, Kim Birge, Donna Mollett, Nancy Higgins, Tina Castanares, and Bruce Johnson this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Walt Disney was a great influence during my youth, and I still remember the advice this Disney character gave Pinocchio: “Always let your conscience be your guide”. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was this comical, wisecracking character wearing a top hat and carrying an umbrella who accompanies Pinocchio while serving as his official conscience? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with the original version of “When You Wish Upon a Star”.

Brain Tease Hint: You might find the answer in the end.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to do all that needs to be done. Until we meet again, embrace and relish the unexpected.

“Happiness often sneaks in through the door you didn’t know you left open.” John Barrymore

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: They all end with the spelling of a number.