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ASI prepares tree for festival

“Oh!,” I exclaimed, “look at that cute fat naked curly headed baby!”

I was admiring an exquisitely hand-painted tree ornament in the palm of my hand.

Mary Lou, president of Archuleta Seniors, Inc., punched me in the arm. “That’s not a naked baby, it’s a cherub and he has a blanket draped over his bottom.” She growled, “You should see the others. It will be a stunning tree.”

Last year I wasn’t even close to minding my own business when I wandered unaware into the darkened community center gym. Christmas trees, probably 15 of them were magically twinkling with their fairy lights and sparkly ornaments. I thought I had lost my little kid wonderment for this holiday.

The Festival of Trees brought it back.

This year, the Festival of Trees is Friday, Dec. 3, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Ross Aragon Community Center at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. The $10 admission fee and the proceeds from the silent auction benefit the community center.

The trees work like this. A do-gooding person or organization obtains a real or artificial tree and trims it in the gym with the name of the benefiting local non-profit organization on it. On the evening of the event, each tree is auctioned to the highest bidder and the bidder writes the check directly to the organization. Sometimes the tree is then donated to a family that wouldn’t otherwise have one. There is also a contest for the most beautiful tree.

Archuleta Seniors, Inc. (ASI) is entering an amazing tree. It is a local non-profit organization that exists to better the lives of local people age 55 and over. They do this by providing social activities and a medical expense assistance program for low income seniors. They sell memberships for $5 and the proceeds partially fund their medical assistance program. In return for the $5, members are issued a membership card which entitles the carrier to deep local discounts at various businesses. ASI is operated by its member board of directors.

ASI is not the Archuleta County Senior Center, a.k.a. The Silver Foxes Den. The Archuleta County Senior Center is a government-funded program that provides low cost delectable meals, classes, home delivered meals, Medicare counseling and senior transportation to people age 60 and over. It is operated by Archuleta County.

We work well together, ASI and the county. Together we look after our people. The members of ASI come with their canes and their oxygen to volunteer for all of their fund-raisers and social events. They even volunteer at the Senior Center. And the employees of the Senior Center do some volunteer work for them.

Mike Mahaffey will cut a fresh tree from a local mountainside. Others have donated money and holiday decorations.

Mary Lou handpainted her cherubs. Kent Schaffer, an artist, will adorn it. Kent explained that although the theme was top secret until this week, it is “department store quality like something you would see at Macy’s.” He has been very persnickety about what decorations he will allow on the tree and promises a show stopper.

Kent’s Christmas wish is that people bid each other up high enough to reach a $500 mark to assist our people with obtaining eyeglasses, dental work and prescriptions. I wish that my people didn’t need any help at all. However, since they do, I will be in the gym Dec. 3 bidding people up on ASI’s stunning Christmas Tree.

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.

Thanks

Thank you, Kim Vernon from the CSU Extension Office, for the awesome “Thrifty Christmas Crafts” class. I hope you can come back and do “Crafternoons with Kim.” I didn’t know you could do that with a Mason jar.

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.

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.

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

Weekly activities

Friday, Dec. 3 — 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.

Monday, Dec. 6 — Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Canasta 1 p.m.; Cupcake decorating with Alinea, signups required 1 p.m.

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

Wednesday, Dec. 8 — Dance for Health 10 a.m.; Holiday music by Beverly Arrendel 12:30 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 9 — Administrative day.

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

ASI memberships

Is it time for you renew or buy your 2010 ASI membership? You can purchase memberships at The Silver Foxes Den on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Folks 55 and older will benefit with discounts from many local businesses, including the local hot springs. This is one of the best deals in Pagosa Springs.

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. 3 — Barbecue chicken breast, corn on the cob, poppy seed coleslaw, roll, fresh fruit cup.

Monday, Dec. 6 — Hamburger on a whole wheat bun, lettuce and tomato, oven cooked potato wedges, baked beans.

Tuesday, Dec. 7 — Spinach lasagna, Italian vegetables, tossed salad, garlic bread, strawberry fruit whip.

Wednesday, Dec. 8 — Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, cream gravy, green beans, whole wheat roll, tossed salad, fresh fruit.

Thursday, Dec. 9 — Administrative day.

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