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No platitudes of gratitude this Thanksgiving season

No platitudes of gratitude here.

I mean it.

Not only am I thankful I even have a job, I sincerely love my job. I love the people I work for. Musetta Wollenweber, my boss, actually lets me do my job, encourages me to be creative, expecting excellence from everyone. Kathy Kulyk in the Department of Human Services patiently spoon feeds me everything I need to know about Adult Protection. Each of them deeply cares about our seniors and our community.

I am thankful for the people I work with. Our kitchen is home to all who need food for the body and soul, seniors or not. Nancy Dickhoff, supervisor and head cook, studies cookbooks for how to make salmon patties from scratch so our people don’t have to eat frozen ones from Zanios. She is meticulous with meeting nutritional needs, serving tasty dishes and exceeding cleanliness standards. And she coddles our seniors. Dolores Sause and Dolores Gallegos have equally high standards and fuss over our people, joking and teasing them. Together our cooks present the best lunch in Pagosa Springs every day except Thursdays when we are not open. Tom Ferrell drives the Senior Bus every day but Thursdays, no matter what, with care, concern and a big smile. Andy Fautheree proudly assists our always deserving veterans. Chris Scarpa, Frankie Martinez, and Keith Dunn are extremely handy, ever present to make grandiose schemes come true, to fix all things that go wrong, and to clean up after us.

I am thankful for our community center. Cristin Robertson expertly runs the center where we are located, making all things easy. Thea Lanier, also of the community center, is ever cheerful and accommodating, no matter how crazy the request. Michelle Jamison handily answers our questions and Ernie Garcia cleans our dining hall. Because of them, our programs run smoothly and Pagosa Springs has a fun party almost every weekend.

I am thankful for our volunteers. I honestly do not know why, day in and day out, they reliably deliver meals, clean up after lunch (a big mess), take care of the sign-in desk, drive medical shuttles, are Medicare counselors, sing, play, teach classes, give presentations and donate money and supplies. Nothing magic would happen without our volunteers. We are so lucky to have them.

I am the most thankful for the seniors who daily pose random interesting questions, regale us with tales of loves and fortunes gained and lost, dispense advice and hugs freely. I am thankful for these people who make our Center their center. I am even thankful for the difficult situations that make me think and expand my capacity for compassion and patience.

Senior Spotlight

John Raby was born in Worthing, England, his father an accountant and his mother a volunteer. When he graduated from high school, he took over a hair salon in London, one of his father’s investments, worked there for 10 years and then sold it. He played for a couple of years in Africa, came back to London and headed for Spain. His time in Spain was his favorite time in life. He owned a water sports club and tiki bar on the Mediterranean and wore shorts to work every day. After 17 years he left for the United States, traveled for a year, ended up in Florida where he worked in saltwater outfitting shop and was a professional cyclist. John has one son, Ben Raby.

After living in Florida for a while he reveals, “I thought I was in a velvet rut and I was getting bored to death.” John bought an RV, drove through Florida to the top of the panhandle and decided to turn left. He drove until he got tired and stopped in Big Bend, Texas. It was here he became a river guide and met Wayne Walls, owner of Pagosa Springs’ own Wilderness Journeys, an outfitting and guide business. Wayne convinced him to move here and work for him.

Work is his favorite activity, meeting every type of person and showing them places they wouldn’t normally go. His adventures have been epic, including a midnight evacuation in a flood in a slot canyon, and a client who had a heart attack who was revived with CPR. “I am most confident in the out of doors.”

John comes to the Senior Center because he muses, “I like the people who run it and I like most of the people who come here. There are lifetimes of experience here.”

Art in The Den

Thursday, Dec. 3, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. will be the first Pagosa Springs High School Art in the Den Art Show. Come enjoy great photography, excellent company and support our local students and seniors.

Medicare Part D enrollment

The Medicare Annual Election Period is from Nov. 15 through Dec. 31, 2009. This is the time to enroll in Medicare prescription drug coverage, or to switch from one plan to another. Your plan will be effective on Jan.1, 2010, and you will generally have to stay in that plan until the next annual enrollment period, so it’s important to review your plan and make sure you have the best one for you. To allow time for your enrollment to be recognized and membership materials to reach you in time for use on Jan. 1, it is best if you complete your enrollment by December 8, 2009.

Snow Day closures

When the school district closes for inclement weather, so do we. This includes our lovely lunches, transportation, programs and home-delivered meals. Listen to KWUF FM 106.3 and AM 1400 for closures.

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

Friday, Nov. 20 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Tai Chi Intermediate 9:30 a.m.; Tai Chi Beginning 11:00 a.m.; Gym Walk 11:15 a.m.; birthday lunch.

Monday, Nov. 23 — Gym Walk 11:15 a.m.; Marty Gorges, storyteller 1 p.m.; Canasta 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 24 — Box making with Jodi (sign up required) 10 a.m.; Gym Walk 11:15 a.m.; Meditation for Healing 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 25 — Dance for Health 10 a.m.; blood pressure checks 11 a.m.; Alzheimer’s Support Group 1 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 26 – Closed for Thanksgiving.

Friday, Nov. 27 — Closed for Archuleta County Heritage Day.

Our November Archuleta County Senior Center Newsletter is now available on Archuleta County’s Web site: www.archuletacounty.org/Seniors/seniors.asp. Look it up!

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, Nov. 20 — Crunch baked fish, whipped potatoes, mixed vegetables, pineapple and mandarin oranges, roll.

Monday, Nov. 23 — Hungarian goulash, cauliflower vegetable medley, peas, pineapple, roll.

Tuesday, Nov. 24 — Two tacos, refried beans, salsa, broccoli, peaches.

Wednesday, Nov. 25 — Roast Turkey with Gravy, cornbread stuffing, broccoli/cauliflower mix with cheese sauce, cranberry mold, pumpkin bar, whole wheat roll.

Thursday, Nov. 26 — Closed for Thanksgiving.

Friday, Nov. 27 — Closed for Archuleta County Heritage Day.