I finally found time to write my first ever Christmas letter. And of course I am late. But I will try to keep it short and not try to bore you.
It has been a good year at the Center. I use only the word “Center” because for many boomers “Senior” sounds too much like “old folks” and you know boomers: they will never get old. They will just dance off into the sunset singing the Who’s “My Generation”. to the sounds of the “Rolling Stones”. Boy will they be surprised! But one thing I have learned from the tremendous folks here at the “Center” is that although getting “old” is no piece of cake, you can still be a nice slice of pie – with a little luck and the right attitude.
I can’t say enough about the folks around here. I have a supportive and active board of directors and a tremendous cadre of volunteers including the sleeping bag brigade – those folks who volunteer so many hours they need a sleeping bag – including Edna Chandler, Janice and Lowell Finn, Betty Dalhberg and the keeper of the Nu-2-U Shop Martha Williams. Lyn Dalton who has called Bingo every Saturday for five years is finally cutting back thanks to Jim Lobdell stepping up to take her place but she is still calling Bingo twice a month as well as continuing on as the Center’s bookkeeper. I am the Senior Center employee, so the Center couldn’t operate without all the volunteers.
The Tuesday night music program is still going strong thanks to Boyd Jacobsen and the many music groups who play for free or just a pittance of their normal fee. The local musical talent is impressive including the Dufur Boys who are playing at the Center on the 28th and the Strawberry Mountain Band playing on January 4th. We try to make everything affordable for folks so the music is free but we always accept donations and we find folks to be very generous.
The Next Chapter Lecture series on every Tuesday still continues to be a success although I wish more folks would attend. There isn’t a lecture when I haven’t learned something new. Thanks to the Oregon Retired Teachers Association we hosted Roger Anunson a national speaker on Brain Health. He shared the basics on how to keep your brain fit: exercise both your body and brain, sleep and eat well, reduce your stress and socialize with others. We incorporate those ideas into the Center’s Brain Fitness Class that meets every Monday at 1:00.
Because of the “Great Recession” we have scaled back our dream to expand the Center focusing on a new elevator to the basement and some additional office space. There was strong support for the initial plan – we raised over $30,000 – but the timing could not have been worse. We just received the new drawings for the revised plan, and the next step is to start looking for funding – hoping we can start construction by January of 2012 when the Center celebrates its 25th Anniversary. But more immediately, check the Center’s corner at 10th and Chery Heights. It has been landscaped thanks to Jack and Alvena Smith. And if you drive by the Jack and Alvena Smith donated funds to landscape the corner of 10th and Cherry Heights which is vast improvement.
We still provide exercise classes including Debra Lutjie’s chair Yoga class which is popular because she never asks you to get down on the floor – many of us wouldn’t be able to get back up. And she also instructs the well attended Seniorcise class when she – like an action hero – transforms from a gentle yoga instructor into the hardcore Marine drill sergeant. Corliss Marsh teaches the once weekly Tai Chi class which has shown to improve balance and strength. And the Strong Women class still meets on Monday and Wednesdays wishing that Fern Wilcox would come back to lead that class – now that she is retired she should have all kinds of extra time, right? Ardyce Edling who is a real inspiration is still teaching the Tap and Clogging and to spice things up they have added lap and pole dancing (Okay guys I am just kidding!)
And there is so much more: Nancy Russell’s “Yes, I can Draw” class, Josh Price’s Tech Talks, Steps to Wellness in partnership with La Clinica, AARP Tax Aide, the “Desire Not to Drink” AA meetings, Saturday Breakfasts, computer classes, the medical equipment loan closet, computer classes, pinochle, bridge – and I am out of breath.
Finally, it has been a real pleasure working with Denise Patton and all the Meals-on-Wheel crew. They provide nutritious meals at the Center and deliver over eighty meals thanks to their many volunteer drivers. (I have included a menu to give you an idea of what they serve.) The Senior Center and Meals-on-Wheels are separate organizations (We were married, then divorced and are now are living together and doing just fine.) but with similar missions working together to support older adults. The Senior Center would not be what it is without Meals-on-Wheels.
Well that was longer than I had hoped, but there is a lot going on at the Center. Until next year, let me paraphrase a common prayer circulating among us “old” folks: “Grant me the senility (wisdom?) to forget the people I never liked, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference”.
Wednesday (29) Salisbury Steak
Thursday (30) Stuffed Peppers
Friday (24) Closed
Monday (3) Salisbury Steak
Tuesday (4) Boneless Chicken Breast