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Five lessons from ‘How the Grinch stole Christmas’

Musetta Wollenweber, my esteemed boss and director of the Senior Center, threw an AARP article entitled “How to Grinch Proof Your Holiday Season” on my desk and ran away.

She ran because she knew I would have a tantrum about fear mongering and the hijacking of an important literary figure (the Grinch). She asked that I include it in my column, and I have ... mostly.

However, I think that the lessons for our people gleaned from this classic book should not be limited to the obvious security issue. Read on.

Lesson 1: Be respectful of your people.

“The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!” Not everyone enjoys the holiday season. It could be that some people are haunted by tragic holiday pasts, or that people celebrate different religious holidays, or it is too much stimulation, or there is no one to celebrate with. The Corner Intelligentsia table says the holiday is too commercialized, and they are not giving anyone any presents. In case you are a rambunctious celebrator who enjoys spreading cheer and spunk, the best way to spread it is in a way the recipient would enjoy. And sometimes that is with silence.

Lesson 2: Include other Grinches.

“And the minute his heart didn’t feel quite so tight, He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light and he brought back the toys! And the food for the feast! And he … He himself …! The Grinch carved the roast beast!” Conversely, do anything you can to help make hearts not feel so tight, including inviting Grinches to dinner. Bring your favorite Grinchy Claus friend here for the ASI party on Friday, Dec. 17, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and for our Holiday Lunch, on Wednesday, Dec. 22.

Lesson 3: Do it yourself.

“All I need is a reindeer …” The Grinch looked around. But, since reindeer are scarce, there was none to be found. Did that stop the old Grinch? No! The Grinch simply said, “If I can’t find a reindeer, I’ll make one instead!” Why buy something when you can make it? The Grinch was an industrious do-it-yourselfer, not that I advocate pet transformation as a holiday tradition. People love homemade gifts of food and crafts. Kim Vernon, from the County Extension Office, just gave a class on “Thrifty Christmas Gifts” and I have extra copies of her publication. Stop by and pick one up.

Lesson 4: Don’t overdo it.

“So he called his dog, Max. Then he took some red thread and he tied a big horn on the top of his head.” My friend Tessa Michaelson from the library advises, “Don’t be like Max and let someone tie a big horn on your head.” Just say no. Don’t allow other’s unreasonable expectations ruin your holiday. Take care of yourself. Have a pot luck dinner and share the work. Have extra naps. Drink lots of water. Wash your hands. (I just threw that in.)

Lesson 5: Be safe.

“Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile most unpleasant, around the whole room, and he took every present! Pop guns! And bicycles! Roller skates! Drums! ... And he stuffed them in bags. Then the Grinch, very nimbly, stuffed all the bags, one by one, up the chimbley!” Lock your car and house doors. Do not give your social security number, bank account number or Medicare number to anyone — especially over the telephone. If something sounds too good to be true, it is. This is the season horrid criminals attempt to take advantage of our older people. Don’t let them. Call the police (911) should something suspicious occur.

My favorite part of the Grinch tale is when the Grinch is confronted with his community celebrating in spite of his villainous deeds, “he puzzled and puzzled ‘til his puzzler was sore.” The Grinch concludes that there is a different way to look at the situation and he changes his mind. Whoville readily forgives him and welcomes him to dinner as the guest of honor. Don’t we all live in a Whoville community with our own Grinches, where everyone needs to forgive and think?

Perhaps, there are six lessons.

ASI Christmas party

On Friday, Dec. 17, at 11 a.m., Archuleta Seniors Inc. will be graciously hosting its annual Christmas Party. Join us for appetizers, treats and holiday cheer before a hearty lunch. We will also have our gift exchange. To participate, bring a gift ($10 value) to be exchanged after our lunch.

Medicare appointments

Because of a few insurance companies canceling their policies this year, we are swamped with requests for appointments with our saintly trained Medicare counselors. Don’t panic if you call and we ask you to wait until we can schedule more appointments. We will get you in. Our phone number is 264-2167.

United Way

Once again the United Way of Southwest Colorado is offering $25 Dining Certificates. They work like this. Purchase a Dining Certificate from our office. Take it to a participating business. The participating business gives $5 to the United Way to fund programs in Pagosa Springs, including ours. Why not eat out and have $5 donated at the same time?

Participating businesses are the Alley House Grille, Bacci Italian Restaurant, Bear Creek Saloon and Grill, Boss Hogg’s Restaurant and Saloon, Buffalo Inn Restaurant and Bar, Cafe Colorado, Chimney Rock Restaurant and Tavern, D.J.’s Italian Grill, Dogwood Cafe, ElkHorn Cafe, Farrago Market Cafe, Higher Grounds Coffee Company, JJ’s Riverwalk Restaurant and Pub, Kip’s Grill and Cantina, Nello’s Bistro, Ole Miner’s Steakhouse, Pablo’s Diner, Pagosa Baking Company, Pagosa Brewing Company, Plaza Grille, Ramon’s Mexican Restaurant, Shang Hai Chinese Restaurant, The Rose Restaurant and Victoria’s Cafe, Saloon and Grill.

These certificates make great holiday gifts. Stop by our office and purchase some. Questions? Call me, Jodi, at 264-2167.


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+ for a suggested donation of $3 per meal. Give me or Musetta a call at 264-2167 for further information.

Weekly activities

Friday, Dec. 10 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 13 — Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Canasta 1 p.m.; Readers Digesting with Tessa Michaelson.

Tuesday, Dec. 14 — Chair massage 10 a.m.; blood pressure checks 11 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Meditation for Healing 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 15 — Sky Ute Casino 1 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 16 — Administrative day.

Friday, Dec. 17 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; ASI Christmas party 11 a.m., Bring a $10 gift, get a gift.

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, Dec. 10 — Beef tacos, lettuce, tomato, salsa, refried beans, Mexicali corn, pears.

Monday, Dec. 13 — Orange chicken, wild rice, seasoned broccoli, spiced applesauce, chocolate chip cookie, whole wheat roll.

Tuesday, Dec. 14 — Scalloped potatoes and ham, green peas, tossed salad, baked apple, whole wheat roll.

Wednesday, Dec. 15 — Spaghetti and meatballs, Italian green beans, tossed salad, fresh orange wedges, wheat Italian bread, chocolate pudding.

Thursday, Dec. 16 — Administrative day.

Friday, Dec. 17 — New England clam chowder, crackers, vegetable medley, cottage cheese, pineapple salad, tangerine, whole wheat roll.