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Oh, enjoy those senior moments!

Amidst the din of our diners enjoying last Friday’s stewed chicken and Greek spaghetti (the food is awesome here), Hoppy Hopson stood and softly drolled, “Would anyone like to hear a song?”

The lunch banter continued and Hoppy was ignored. He was ignored until he started singing. In a surprisingly commanding tenor voice he began crooning “The Tennessee Waltz.”

It was a forks-down moment when everyone stopped talking and focused on Hoppy. Then, as if on cue, everyone burst into song with him, swaying in their chairs. Afterwards we cheered and enjoyed our long lunch, lingering until 1:30 p.m.

Senior Spotlight

Violet Echavarria was born right here in Pagosa Springs 61 years ago.

She began working when she was 14 years old as a waitress at Jan’s Café. Her best jobs were as a waitress because “if you can get tips you are never broke.” Mending and cooking are her favorite pastimes.

Her soundest financial advice is to have a job, “so you can always do for yourself and you don’t have to always be bumming, and you can buy something like a house or a trailer that’s yours.” She advises for basic beauty to “get up early and keep yourself clean.”

A partial list of the worst things a person can do include blowing your nose at the dinner table and stealing, lying and cheating. She whispers, “God forgive me, I have told a little white lie.”

What does she want people to know about her? “That I try to be a nice person. If I don’t have something nice to say I won’t say anything at all unless I am really, really mad. Oh, and I am helpful.”

Violet and Mariano, her husband, have two daughters, Tina and Lorrena, who live in the Denver area. She sends her love to both of them, and to her grandchildren.

Thank you

On Wednesday, Sept. 16, the belly dancing troupe “The Navel Experience” performed at lunch for approximately 70 delighted people. To Middle Eastern music, four members, including dance instructor Rosalind Marshall, captured our imaginations as they gracefully swayed and undulated in ornate handmade costumes bedecked in jewels, sequins, bells and silk. Roz reports that her dancers are age 8 to 62. Interested in lessons? Call 946-4153. Thank you, Navel Experience, for gifting us with a visual feast during our lunch.

Thank you to Alilia Blodgett for volunteering as a substitute meal delivery person. You are a lifesaver. Thanks go to Bonnie Nyre of the local business “Slices of Nature” for donating prizes. Thank you to fellow county employees, Joanna Bila and Chris Scarpa, for their assistance and constant support.

Volunteers

Evidently begging and shaming are not effective tactics for attracting volunteers in our hamlet.

Therefore, today I extend a sincere invitation: You are invited to dine with me here at the Silver Foxes Den. We will enjoy great food and compelling company. We will mull over the benefits of volunteering (free lunch, instant affection, part of a team, grateful people, new social circle, etc.) and the disadvantages of volunteering (I can’t think of any). Call me at 264-2167.

An opportunity

Healthier Living Colorado has a Leader Training in Pueblo, Oct. 21-24, for training leaders to teach chronic disease self management. Participants will become certified instructors and be able to teach this class in our community. And the Silver Foxes Den has a grant to cover the cost of the class ($650). Call Jodi or Musetta at 247-2167 right away, so we can enroll you.

Influenza vaccines

The health department will give flu shots in Arboles on Oct. 1 between 11 a.m. and noon. The cost for the shots is $25, unless you have Medicare Part B or Rocky Mountain Health Plan which covers the cost. The shots for H1N1 (swine flu) will not be available until later.

Shots will be given to the general public daily at the Pagosa Mountain Hospital (formerly the Mary Fisher Clinic) Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesday evenings from 5 to 7 p.m.

Healthy Cooking class

We are thrilled to offer a new series of classes entitled “Healthy Cooking,” by Chef Rich Linblad, to our Seniors. Chef Linblad has taken more than 35 classes at the Santa Fe School of Cooking in Santa Fe, N.M., and has also completed a one-week Boot Camp program at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. He has hosted cooking classes locally and has been cooking for friends and family for over 40 years. He especially enjoys sharing his knowledge and techniques with others. There is space for 10 people, so please call the office for deadlines for registration, 264-2167. Here is his syllabus.

• Oct.14: This class is a combination of hands-on and presentation where we will be making authentic chiles rellenos with goat cheese and mushrooms. Be prepared to have some fun and savor the flavors of the southwest.

• Nov. 18: This class is done in a presentation style and is entitled “Things my mother never told me about cooking.” We’ll cover everything from pots and pans to the correct use of knives, useful kitchen tools, cutting boards and some interesting techniques to preparing foods. We’ll also be sampling some veggie snacks that are sure to excite the pallet.

• Dec. 9: This class is a hands-on program where we will be making the best chicken soup that you’ve ever tasted. We’ll learn how to toast herbs, create our own chicken stock and use only the best ingredients while also incorporating some fun techniques to make all of our participants look like professional chefs.

• Jan. 20: This class is entitled “How to jazz up plain foods with some simple sauces.” We’ll learn how to make a universal fat-free brown gravy sauce using nothing more than an onion as a base and then we’ll make two fruit sauces using ordinary ingredients found in the refrigerator. We’ll also snack on some of Chef Linblad’s favorite appetizers. Come prepared for an exciting close to the cooking series.

Chef Linblad is generously donating his time. We are very grateful for this opportunity. Thank you, Rich!

Archuleta’s Seniors, Inc. has graciously funded this exciting series. Thank you ASI; we appreciate you.

Services

Are you homebound or know someone who is? Let the Silver Foxes Den help you with your meals. We have expanded our service to the more rurally isolated areas of the county and would like to help you, help yourself.

These meals are the same meals prepared in our kitchen by the same cooks who prepare those scrumptious senior center meals. Our hot meal, home-delivery program remains available to those closer to town four days per week. Meals are available to people age 60-plus for a suggested donation of $3 per meal. Give me or Musetta a call at 264-2167 for further information.

Weekly activities

Friday, Sept. 25 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Book Club 10:30 a.m.; Gym Walk 11:15 a.m.; Music by John Graves; birthday celebration, noon.

Monday, Sept. 28 — Gym Walk 11:15 a.m.; Canasta 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 29 — Gym Walk 11:15 a.m.; Meditation for Healing 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 30 — Dance for Health 10 a.m.; Blood Pressure Check 11 a.m.; Alzheimer Support Group 1 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 1 — Administration Day.

Friday, Oct. 2 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Tai Chi Intermediate 9:30 a.m.; Tai Chi Beginning 11 a.m.; Gym Walk 11:15 a.m.

Medical expenses

The Silver Foxes Den, in cooperation with Archuleta Seniors, Inc. (ASI), may be able to help with excess medical expenses.? Items covered might be prescription copays, eyeglasses, hearing aids and dental care.?Qualifying amounts are based on income and need. Recipients must be current members of ASI. Dues are $5 per year. For more information about how we might help you or your family, contact Musetta at 264-2167.

ASI memberships

Is it time for you to renew or buy your 2009 ASI Membership? You can purchase memberships at The Silver Foxes Den on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Beginning in October memberships will be sold on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the same time. Folks 55 and older will benefit with discounts from many local businesses, including the local hot springs. This is one of the best deals in Pagosa Springs. All 2008 memberships expired Dec. 31.

Menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, and Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $9.75. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 25 — Chicken alfredo, beets, cranberry apple, roll.

Monday, Sept. 28 — Corned beef, potatoes, cabbage and carrots, rye bread, cookie.

Tuesday, Sept. 29 — Oriental pepper chicken, brown rice, broccoli, pineapple, bread.

Wednesday, Sept. 30 — Chicken pot pie, broccoli, salad, apricots, biscuit.

Thursday, Oct. 1 — Administration Day.

Friday, Oct. 2 — Coconut fish, cocktail sauce, broccoli blend, grapes, roll, brown rice.