Aging Well March 15th

It usually starts off as “Did you hear the one about grandma Bessie – followed by a humorous story about the quirks of aging. I have read and heard many of these jokes and have certainly enjoyed sharing them – at least the clean ones.

But it is said in every joke there is a piece of the truth and as we look at ourselves there is plenty of truth to poke fun at (my forgetfulness is my own source of amusement). But with the condescending caricatures of older adults often portrayed in today’s culture, I can understand why some folks are offended by many of these jokes – fearing that they just reinforce those demeaning stereotypes. Granted many of us may not move as fast (okay let’s face it, none of us move as fast as we use to) or hold a cup as steady or find the wrong answer as quickly (research has shown even though our minds may not be as quick, they are more accurate!) But every day, you and I see folks who pop these bubbles of negative images: folks who are active, caring, and inquisitive – and are in their seventies, eighties and older.

We can still laugh with each other without consciously – or more importantly subconsciously – accepting these mis-perceptions that can limit our dreams and expectations of what is possible. We can have a good laugh and still change the world.

Even though these jokes often remind us of our limitations (I can’t find my banana!), humor can help us transcend the challenges we face by also reminding us that we are all in this aging vessel together – bailing water as fast as we can.

And did you hear the one about grandma Bessie? A police car pulls up in front of grandma Bessie’s house, and grandpa Morris gets out. The polite policeman explained that this elderly gentleman said that he was lost in the park and couldn’t find his way home. “Oh Morris”, said grandma, “You’ve been going to that park for over 30 years! How could you get lost?” Leaning close to grandma, so that the policeman couldn’t hear, Morris whispered, “I wasn’t lost. I was just too tired to walk home.”

On the 19th, Saturday breakfast at the Center is baaaaaaack! Because our regular cook Bonnie is out for the spring season, Edna will fill in cooking up a mouth-watering, toe-tingling, belly-filling breakfast menu of biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, sausage and fruit plus the regular beverages. And for all of you high school alumni from the 60’s – just pretend it’s spring vacation at Daytona Beach (that’s where all us from the Midwest wanted to go) and bring your beach blanket and sun tan oil. I betcha the “mouse” from the class of ’63 will! The doors open at 8:00 and breakfast is served till 9:30.

The Center’s Tuesday Lecture on the 22nd will feature Dr. Thomas Hodge discussing the programs and services available to help people with chronic lung disease. If you or someone you know is troubled by shortness of breath or is limited in their daily activities by breathing problems, you will find this presentation helpful. It all starts at 11:00 allowing plenty of time for questions.

Tonight’s Tuesday night music at the Center will give you a chance to step out to the sounds of Truman’s Country Gold. And next Tuesday the Jazz Generations will be playing the big band sounds giving folks an alternative to the Center’s regular menu of country western fare. The music starts at 7:00 and everyone is welcome.

And a last minute reminder. There is still room in the “AARP Driver Safety” class ably taught by Dennis Davis. This month’s class is from 9:00 – 1:00 on the 21st and 22nd. Call the Center to sign up and save a buck or two on your car insurance.

Many of you (including Joanne “pick me, pick me” Scott – the winner of a free breakfast on Saturday) knew that the musician who gave up his seat to the Big Bopper on that fateful flight in 1959 was “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” Waylon Jennings. But this week’s “Remember When” question is for Betty Harlan. What was the name of the 1930’s animated cartoon character and famous sex symbol (if a cartoon character can be considered a sex symbol) created by Max Fleischer and modeled after actress Clara Bow? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with the original tape of the Talkartoon “Minnie the Moocher”.

Well, it’s been another week – dodging raindrops falling from the sky. Until we meet again keep laughing and don’t take yourself too seriously. As the baseball player Mike LaValliere once said “Whatever is going to happen is going to happen when it happens, regardless of what happens.”

“Whatever the limits are, you can always do a little more than you think you can, and you can get a certain pleasure out of that.” George Leonard from the book Ageless Spirit by Connie Goldman

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