Help me with this question. What does “old” look like?

Here’s the reason I’m asking. I take a diuretic, and for me one of the side effects is dry mouth. And because of my dry mouth, I apparently make strange mouth contortions to moisten my mouth.

It hasn’t been a problem until the other day when my wife told me to stop because, as she put it, ”it makes you look like an old man!” Now what does that mean? Some toothless old guy gumming his saliva?

I’ve mentioned how I must keep up a certain appearance for my children to protect myself from their loving concern. But my wife? She has lived with me long enough to know I’m no spring chicken—and not even an autumn rooster.

This whole episode begs the question. What should I look like at 71? What should anyone look like when they grow older?

Should I dye my hair? Pump iron for two hours a day? Purchase the latest anti-aging creams?

The model and actress Lauren Hutton once said, “We have to be able to grow up. Our wrinkles are our medals of the passage of life. They are what we have been through and who we want to be.”

I’ve decided I’m not going worry about how old I look. I’ll display my medals with pride, knowing that I am what I am. And if my grey hair, balding scalp and wrinkled skin (and strange mouth contortions) is the price to pay for a long and wonderful life, I’ll take it any time.

If you’re about to turn 65 (congratulations on making it this far), you probably have questions about enrolling in Medicare. As with any health insurance program, it’s complicated and can be both confusing and frustrating.

You have a seven-month window to enroll. This time is called the Initial Enrollment Period; it begins three months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months after the month you turn 65.

You can go to to learn more about how to enroll. But if you’re like me and find it more comfortable to talk to someone face-to-face, there are SHIBA (State Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) volunteers to help you through the Medicare maze.

To schedule an appointment, call the local SHIBA line at 541-288-8341 or the Mid-Columbia Senior Center at 541-296-4788. A SHIBA counselor should return your call within 48 hours.

You only have a few days left to purchase raffle tickets for the Chicken Coop.

The drawing will be held at the Center this Friday, Feb. 22, during the Chicken Dinner and Auction, the Center’s major fundraiser for the year. Tickets are $10 or three for $25.

In other news, the Senior Center’s “Loan Closet” of durable medical equipment has been enlarged, organized and cleaned thanks to the help of Joyce Browne, Karen Miller and Sue Arguelles. It is one of the Center’s most popular programs, but it depends on steady donations of used medical equipment. The Center currently has plenty of walkers, both two- and four-wheel, but is short of commodes, shower benches and toilet seat risers.

You can drop off anything you’d like to donate at the Center; if the building is closed, just leave your items at the front door. I have yet to catch any thieves running down the street with a toilet seat riser under their arm.

We’ll stick with literature for two more weeks of “Remember When” questions.

In 1966, Truman Capote wrote one of the greatest true crime books ever written, establishing a new literary form: the “nonfiction novel.” For this week’s question, what was the title of the book, which detailed the 1959 murders of four members of the Herbert Clutter family in their small farming community?

Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with a picture of the Finney County Courthouse in Garden City, Kansas.

The title of Jacqueline Susann’s first novel, which was published in 1966, received poor reviews but became the best-selling novel that year, was “Valley of the Dolls.” I received correct answers from Vicki Sallee, Jerry Phillips, Cheri Brent, Lana Tepfer, Deloris Schrader, and Lorna Elliott, this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket.

Well, it’s been another week wishing spring would grab my snow shovel and store it away for another year. Until we meet again, there is no wrong time to start living the life you want to live.

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine—and shadows will fall behind you.”

—Walt Whitman


Thursday (21): Chicken Fried Steak (Music by Tom Graff)

Friday (22): Baked Potato with Chili (Homemade Soup and Salad Bar)

Monday (25): Stroganoff over Rice

Tuesday (26): Salisbury Steak

Wednesday (27): Parmesan Chicken over Noodles (Homemade Soup and Salad Bar)

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