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On the road again ... with memories from the past

My new friend Mitzi is pregnant with her third child. In a telephone conversation, she revealed that she was purchasing a mini van. I am prejudiced against mini vans. They are unattractive, unwieldy and promote antisocial behavior.

I observe overscheduled families driving maniacally down the road in those accursed mini vans, watching movies, playing video games, eating dinner and not interacting. I worry that Mitzi will be taking her sweet children, Brenton, 10, Tristin, 7, and the baby, to soccer practice, all of them morphing into tech addicted zombies with no appreciation for daydreaming while staring out of a car window, wind on their faces.

The arguments for the minivan include that it costs less to operate than an SUV, is more spacious, is “greener,” and makes it easier for parents to drive kids because of the built in DVD players. I suppose a family of five will not fit into an old Firebird, and one cannot stack three children on the back of a Harley. Hmmmph.

Road trips were standard in my childhood. Yearly family trips as long as six weeks in our station wagon gave me the time and space to frolic in my imagination and hone my ability to torture my brothers by staring at them until they cried. Wondering if my people also loved the open road, I asked them about their cross country driving and entertainment back in the day.

My informal poll of the dining room revealed that although the seniors themselves did not travel when they were children, they did travel regularly when they had families of their own. The reasons postulated for this included the inhospitable vehicles of the ’30s and ’40s, the cost of traveling, and “really, where would we go?”

The unanimous, number one favorite form of entertainment was fighting with your siblings. The fighting games included: 1. The drawing of imaginary lines and daring one to cross it resulting in mad punching; 2. Almost touching your sister but not doing it until she punched you so you could punch her back; 3. Throwing your brother’s stuff out of the window; 4. Pushing your brother out of a slow moving car; and my favorite, 5. Fighting with your brother, which made your Dad angry, which made him drive faster resulting in an earlier arrival time.

The peaceful happy pastimes included counting telephone poles and train cars, slugging someone when a Volkswagon is spotted, reading in the way back, singing songs from the wheel well (I’ve Been Working on the Railroad), who could see the first (tractor, silo, cemetery, mountain), playing the alphabet game and car bingo.

Another unanimous favorite was reading the progressive Burma Shave signs on the side of the highways. Burma Shave was an American brand of shaving cream that did not require a brush for application. They advertised by placing six small red and white signs every half mile or so that had a couple of words of the slogan on it so motorists could read the slogan progressively. In 1941, this one appeared: Don’t stick/Your elbow/ Out so far / It might go home / In another car/ Burma-Shave. And this one: Let’s make Hitler /And Hirohito/ Feel as bad as / Old Benito/ Buy War bonds/ Burma Shave. And this light hearted one: Broken romance/ Stated fully/ She went wild / When he / Went wooly/ Burma-Shave.

The most common passenger comments I can print were classic; “How many more miles?” “I have to go to the bathroom.” “She’s (looking, hitting, touching, blowing at) me again” and “Are we there yet?” In response was “Dad’s long arm” which could reach distances up to a city block to restore order while he drove.

I called Brenton and Tristin when they got out of school. I asked Brenton how he and his brother spent their time in the car. Kicking and punching was high on the list. “Do you look out of the window and daydream?” I inquired. “I don’t need a window to daydream,” Brenton responded, “I daydream all of the time with no window.” “Do you play any games with your family in the car?,” I inquired further. “Yes. I made up a game where you get money for seeing an animal like fifty cents for a deer and a dollar for a bear.” Last question, “What is the best part of going on a road trip?” “Seeing new places and having new adventures. Why are you asking all of these questions?”

Joyful lessons from the past are what I wished for Brenton, Tristin and their new little brother. Songs, flights of fancy, punching games and familial love. However, I wished too late. They already have it all, even if it is in a mini van.

Deliverers needed

We need someone to deliver meals on Mondays, beginning mid October. It takes about an hour. And you can eat lunch with us afterward. Call me, Jodi, at 264-2167.

Flu shot clinics

Flu shot clinics by the San Juan Basin Department of Health are scheduled on Oct. 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Senior Center lounge. On Oct. 21, from 11 a.m. a.m. to noon the clinic will be held in Arboles, in the basement of the Catholic Church.

Questions? Call Jodi at 264-2167.

Medicare announcement

Protect yourself from the flu by getting your flu vaccination early, before flu season ramps up. Medicare covers many preventive services including the flu vaccine.

Medicare clients can get the flu vaccine at no cost. There is no coinsurance or copayment applied to this Medicare benefit, and people on Medicare will not have to meet their deductible. The flu vaccine can prevent the flu; it does not give people the flu.

Getting a flu vaccine is the best thing you can do to keep you from getting sick this flu season. This year, one flu vaccine will protect you from three different types of flu virus, including the 2009 H1N1 virus that caused much illness last season. Additionally, by protecting yourself, you are also protecting those you care about from getting the flu from you. All adults age 65 years and older, and people who are under 65 who have chronic illness, including heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or end-stage renal disease should get a flu vaccine.

Helpful tips to follow during the flu season:

1. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.

2. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also work.

3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

4. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

5. Stay home if you are sick until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.8 Celsius) or signs of a fever without the use of a fever reducing medicine.

Visit www.medicare.gov or call (800) 633-4227 to get a free copy of “Staying Healthy: Medicare’s Preventive Services.” On the Web, select “Publications” under “Resource Locator.” You can also visit www.flu.gov for specific information about influenza. More information is available at www.healthcare.gov.

Thank you

Thank you Rio Del Sol Farms, James and Deborah Brown, for donating the bounty of your produce for our seniors. We are very grateful.

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.

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 SHIP 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.

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, with 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.

Activities at The Den

Friday, Sept. 24 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Book Club 10:30 a.m.; Tai Chi 11 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 27 — Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Scrabble with Kay Pace 1 p.m.; Canasta 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 28 — Yoga 10 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Poker 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 29 — Dance for Health 10 a.m.; blood pressure checks 11 a.m.; Alzheimers Support Group 1 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 30 — No lunch, administrative day.

Friday, Oct. 1 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Tai Chi 11 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m., Gizmo the Therapy Dog 12:45 p.m.

The Archuleta County Senior Center Newsletter is now available on Archuleta County’s website: www.archuletacounty.org/Seniors/seniors.asp.

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. 24 — Stuffed bell peppers, spinach, corn applesauce with raisins, whole wheat roll.

Monday, Sept. 27 — Chili relleno casserole with chicken, salad, stewed tomatoes, whole wheat tortilla.

Tuesday, Sept. 28 — Baked coconut fish, brown rice, steamed broccoli, grapes, whole wheat sesame seed roll.

Wednesday, Sept. 29 — Porcupine meat balls, mashed potatoes with gravy, California vegetable medley, almond peaches, whole wheat roll.

Thursday, Sept. 30 — No lunch, administrative day.

Friday, Oct. 1 — Sloppy joe on a bun, scalloped potatoes, broccoli, apple.