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Having a fine time with ‘my people’

Yesterday a slice of lemon meringue pie, artfully arranged in a Tupperware container, was left for me on my desk. As I ran to the dining room to fetch a fork, I considered the difference one year can make.

When my son, Sam, was 2 years old he carefully chose the people out of his Lego bucket to represent his dad, me, his grandpa and grandmothers and a few of his cousins. He gently placed them in his Power Rangers lunch box and carried them with him everywhere we went.

Sam christened the menage, “my people.”

“Where are my people”, he would ask when he awoke from his rare nap. “My people need a chair,” he would say as he sidled up to the table for lunch, and put the lunch box in an empty chair. He would even bring the jangly box of tiny people with him in the middle of the night and crawl into bed with us. “I love my people, Mom,” he would declare.

It was last year to this weekend that I moved to Pagosa Springs from Cortez. I knew no one here and was bereft. Bereft because I had left my people. So many people that the Lego representations would fill hundreds of lunch boxes that couldn’t even fit into a big Mayflower moving truck. I had no people here. Even my son left me for college.

At lunch time I stepped across the hall and surveyed the dining room. The Foxy Ladies table was debating the relative value of an item in the Avon catalogue, the Dog Pound table was discussing the whereabouts of one of their missing table mates, and the Corner Intelligensia table was expressing alarm over the election of England’s new Prime Minister. I blew a kiss into the kitchen where my sweet co-workers left the meat out of a cup of sauce just for me, and greeted me with my own special term of endearment, “Cochinita.” Fellow county employees are just leaving after volunteering to help with the walking program.

I am paid to do my job, most of which I do with enthusiasm and parts of it (government stuff) barely grudgingly. I think of my people now when I am not working. I wonder how Mae’s husband is doing, did Norma Jean hurt her back at the prom, if Gloria and Jim are having fun in Costa Rica, how Bernie is doing after the death of her mother. I bring things for my people who need them, come early, stay late, listen and make lots and lots of cookies. They give me their stories, their terrible jokes and their trust. They give me pie and they give me love.

After my ambrosial lunch my son called. He was elated that he finished his first year of college, and asked about my week. I told him about the pie, regaled him with the new Spanish phrases Carmen, Lupe and Tessie taught me and relayed a funny joke.

“You sound good, Mom,” he commented. “I love my people, Sam,” I declared.

Senior Spotlight

Arthur Matcham was born in Southampton, England, in September 1936. “Open and fearlessly” is on his family’s coat of arms that harkens back to the 11th century. His father was a Merchant Marine and his mother raised him and his two brothers. During World War II, Arthur reports that he “slept in air raid shelters most nights.” At one point during the war, his mother was pushing him in a stroller in the shopping district of Southampton when the air raid sirens sounded. His mother ran to catch the “floating bridge,” a ferry like boat, to take them across the river. The floating bridge had left the dock when they arrived. Wisely, she ran both of them into the river where the other passengers hoisted them aboard just as the German bombers gunned down all of the pedestrians remaining on the land.

After his schooling, Arthur became an indentured apprentice in carpentry and worked on both the RMS (Royal Mail ship) Queen Elizabeth and the RMS Queen Mary. He travelled to the United States and joined the United States Air Force when he finished his apprenticeship. Subsequently, he was transferred back to England, “right around the corner” from where he grew up. It was in Hounsdown he met and married his wife. (He had dated her sister years before.) About his wife, Jennifer, he blushed and said he “could not mention what I love best” (about her).

He retired in Niagra Falls, N.Y., after 38 years as a human resources specialist with the Air Force. Afterwards, he and his wife were traveling in southwest Colorado and decided to move here to Pagosa Springs, where they have resided for the past five years. Taking his vintage red Austin Healey out for a spin remains one of his favorite pasttimes, along with traveling, stamp collecting and “doing nothing.” Arthur’s best retirement advice is to “invest all you can in your retirement before you retire. I didn’t realize how important it was when I came over here.”

Thanks

Thank you, Judy Rushton, for the quilting fabric.

Thank you, Kent Schaffer, for the donation of jewelry for the craft and jewelry sale.

Watercolor Open Studio

Sabine Baeckmann-Elgle will offer lessons in watercolor and an open environment in which to paint beginning Friday, from 1 to 4 p.m.

She has been teaching art for nearly 20 years and believes that everyone can paint. She insists she “caters to cowards.” Beginners will receive lessons and specific attention. Advanced artists can avail themselves of her expertise if needed.

The supplies for beginners are being generously provided by Grace Free Evangelical Church. Seasoned watercolorists are encouraged to bring their own pallets, brushes and paper.

Join in every third Friday of the month for Watercolor Open Studio.

Fox Trot speakers

Game on! The Fox Trot Challenge has begun.

Our remaining guest speaker this month is Nancy Dickhoff on May 25.

Nancy Dickhoff, chef extraordinaire, is a secret athlete. Speakers begin at 12:45 p.m.

Craft and jewelry sale

On Saturday, June 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., we will hold a craft and jewelry sale in our dining room. Booths will be $25. Now is the time to make things and look through your current jewelry that you don’t need. We will also be selling refreshments, including cinnamon rolls. Yummmm. Interested? Space is limited; please sign up early. Call me, 264-2167.

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, and frozen meals on Thursdays. 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 at The Den

Friday, May 21 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Tai Chi 11 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Water Color Open Studio 1 p.m.

Monday, May 24 — Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Canasta 1 p.m.

Tuesday, May 25 — Gym Walk 12:30 p.m..; Nancy Dickhoff, fitness and nutrition, 12:45 p.m.; Meditation for Healing 1 p.m.

Wednesday, May 26 — Dance for Health 10 a.m.; poker 1 p.m.; Alzheimer’s Support Group 1 p.m.

Thursday, May 27 — No lunch, administrative day.

Friday, May 28 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; book club 10:30 a.m.; Tai Chi 11 a.m.; birthday lunch, Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.

ASI memberships

Is it time for you to renew or buy your 2010 ASI membership? You can purchase memberships at The Silver Foxes Den on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Folks 55 and over will benefit with discounts from many local businesses, including the local hot springs. This is one of the best deals in Pagosa Springs.

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, May 21 — Dijon chicken, brown rice, cabbage, orange juice, peach, bread.

Monday, May 24 — Spaghetti and meatballs, green beans, orange, bread.

Tuesday, May 25 — White chili, chicken, carrot, celery, broccoli, bread.

Wednesday, May 26 — Chicken piccata, orzo pilaf, mixed vegetables, salad, roll.

Thursday, May 27 — No lunch, administrative day.

Friday, May 28 — French dip, potato salad, orange juice, mixed fruit, ice cream, cake.