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An ode to the Summer People

When I was a little girl, Decatur, Neb., was my favorite summer place.

The reason was not the 98 degree temperature with 90-percent humidity, the nighttime insect clouds or the whistle that wailed at 6 a.m., 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. so that the farmers knew what time it was without looking at a watch, it was my favorite place because my summer friends lived there and, incidentally, my grandma.

It was a small farming town and, if we stayed away from the highway and the river, we had the run of it. We played Hawaii Five-0, nighttime tag, skateboarded, drank bottled Orange Crush from the gas station vending machine that we learned to jack with a bump and a shove (sorry, Dad), played with an Ouija board (sorry, Mom) and had sleepovers. We stayed for two delicious endless weeks each year.

In anticipation of my July visits, I prepared for success. In the early years I packed straight up haired Barbies, jump ropes and coloring books. In the later years, I packed squirt guns, cards and firecrackers. In all cases, I packed for fun and my summer friends stockpiled it. My arrival day was better than Christmas.

Now that I work for Archuleta County, I have summer people who come to me. They began to arrive Memorial Day weekend, surprising me with their numbers. This was my first summer at the Silver Foxes Den and I didn’t know what to expect or plan. I was still recovering from the shock and awe of our winter.

They came for fun. Our Senior Center is the best kept secret in Colorado they told me. You can have a meal for $3 that includes the best salad bar in town, and we have relevant programs and speakers for free they exclaimed. As I listened to them praise our program my anxiety level rose. Could we live up to this praise? Without firecrackers or squirt guns?

They brought their stories of Texas vampire pigs, juicy gossip about their RV neighbors (Oooo, I won’t print it but it was good), and their music. They volunteered in our kitchen, taught us stitchery tricks, told us outrageous jokes and made us laugh. Our year-around people made new friends, welcomed back old ones and thanked God that Hoppy Hopson came back for another season of crooning.

We stockpiled picnics, speakers, classes, games, pancake breakfasts and music. It was a party for 80 to 90 people almost every day. I made a cootie catcher and a rubber band shooter just in case the dining room got boring, but it didn’t for a second.

It is Labor Day weekend, and my summer people are leaving. The exodus heralds the impending season change, not just in the weather but in our programming. Instead of stalking Johnny K and Natalie to play at our picnic, I will be arranging Medicare counseling appointments. Instead of observing the Foxy Ladies swoon over Jack Collinsworth, I will be assisting Musetta in grant writing. There is a season for serious work, and there is a season for shenanigans. I will sorely miss the later.

Next year I will be better prepared for my summer people. I will stockpile more free social activities, serve more ice cream and issue a squirt gun to everyone.

Big winner

A local resident won $2.5 million.

Not really.

What he did “win” was an opportunity to be scammed and lose thousands of dollars. The latest scam happening right here in Pagosa Springs is that you might receive a very real check for $4,800 which is to “offset the taxes” on the cash award. When you cash the check it bounces and you may have to pay a penalty. These fiends will tell you that if you wire them a couple of thousand dollars they will get the rest of the millions to you.

Please hang up on anyone who is trying to sell you something, is telling you that you won something, or that your friend is stuck in Europe and needs cash. It won’t be rude, just deserved.

If you think it is real, call me at 264-2167 and we will find out.

Informational tea

Please join Musetta and Jodi on Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 12:45 p.m. for coffee or tea, and cookies. Musetta will reveal the inner workings of the Silver Foxes Den, as well as giving everyone interested a sneak peak into the kitchen. There will be time for questions and polite conversation.

Regional meeting

As part of the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging Four Year Plan, we are required to hold a public meeting to determine any unmet needs in regard to the senior citizens of Archuleta County. While funding these unmet needs remains a challenge, we are charged with doing our best to find solutions. We invite you to join in the discussion on Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 1 p.m. in the Senior Center lounge. There will be a survey for you to express your wishes.

Healthier Living Class

Our Healthier Living Class is a free, six-week, evidence-based workshop designed to help people face the challenges associated with chronic health conditions. Our trained and qualified leaders may have a chronic condition themselves or care for someone who does.

Attendees learn techniques developed and tested by Stanford University researchers to deal with depression, control pain and manage medications, manage stress and communicate better, solve problems, set goals. Classes will begin Tuesday, Sept. 15, and will run through Oct. 20, from 1 to 3 p.m. Call Jodi at 264-2167 to register.

Senior transportation

With the closing of the downtown City Market, we remind you that we have a Senior Bus that runs on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please call me, Jodi, at 264-2167 for details.

Medicare counselors

Do you enjoy helping others? The SHIP program (Senior Health Insurance Program) and SMP (Medicare Fraud Program) available through the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center, is looking for additional talented volunteers to join the Medicare Navigators Team. These programs educate, counsel and assist Colorado’s Medicare beneficiaries. We need people who have a desire to help others in the community, who have computer skills and are Internet savvy.

The Colorado Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program is part of a national network of programs that offer free, confidential counseling and assistance for people with Medicare. Congress established SHIPs in 1990 to help beneficiaries navigate an increasingly complex health care system. It’s also home to the SMP Medicare Fraud Program.

Each year, the Colorado SHIP/SMP provides invaluable services to people with Medicare, including: Counseling beneficiaries through the annual prescription drug plan enrollment period, connecting with beneficiaries who have limited incomes to help them save money on health care costs, and educating the community about health insurance issues.

Please call Musetta Wollenweber at 264-2167 if you are interested in assisting us in providing this necessary service.

Weekly activities

Since August, Dance for Health and Tai Chi are offered through the community center. For times and information, call the center at 264-4152.

Friday, Sept. 3 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Tai Chi 11 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 6 — Closed.

Tuesday, Sept. 7 — Yoga 10 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Informational Tea 12:45 p.m.; Meditation for Healing 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 8 — Dance for Health 10 a.m.; September Nutrition Education.

Thursday, Sept. 9 — No lunch, administrative day.

Friday, Sept. 10 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Tai Chi 11 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; ASI Board meeting 1 p.m.

This week’s 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. 3 — Beef tacos, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, refried beans, Mexicali corn, pears.

Monday, Sept. 6 — Closed.

Tuesday, Sept. 7 — Macaroni and cheese, ham, stewed tomatoes, fresh marinated veggie salad, baked apple, whole wheat roll.

Wednesday, Sept. 8 — Orange chicken, wild rice, seasoned broccoli, spiced apple sauce, chocolate chip cookie, whole wheat roll.

Thursday, Sept. 9 — No lunch, administrative day.

Friday, Sept. 10 — Barbecue beef brisket, ranch style beans, carrifruit salad, honeydew cilantro lime salad, whole wheat roll.