Does it feel like the Grinch is trying to steal Thanksgiving as well as Christmas? As many predicted, during these indoor winter months the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening, and it has been found that small family gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. Consequently, Governor Brown and Governor Inslee have ordered new restrictions including limiting social gatherings to try to stop the spread of the virus. 

I listened to an epidemiologist from OHSU acknowledging the fear/fatigue cycle: Afraid of the virus, then tiring of the restrictions and becoming complacent; afraid then complacent again and continually repeating the cycle.

I don’t know about you, but this winter I’m back in the fear mode and since almost eight out of 10 COVID-19 deaths are 65 and older, I think I have ample reason to be fearful.

So my wife and I are going to avoid social gatherings, stay home more (the house is going to be spotless!), connect virtually with our children and whistle a happy tune.

But it’s tough. During the pandemic we are asked to “Be Safe and Be Strong.”

I think “Be Safe” is the easier part: Wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance. The hard part is “Be Strong”: Keeping a positive attitude and seeing our blessings, which during this pandemic can be as hard as finding your hearing aid under the couch.

Sometimes we may tell others we are doing fine (we don’t want to be a burden, right?) when we really aren’t. Or we may not even be aware of how this self-imposed isolation affects us. Why am I so tired and lack interest in doing things I used to enjoy?

If you feel alone or anxious during this pandemic, you are not alone. Fortunately, if you are looking for support for yourself or someone else, there are several options available.

You can call the Oregon Warmline at 1-800-698-2392 available seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., where you can speak with a friendly trained peer. Or you can call your primary care provider, who may have suggestions to help.

If you know of an isolated older person who will benefit from a Holiday Connection Call, the Oregon Senior Peer Outreach (OSPO) is now accepting referrals. A trained Senior Peer Support Specialists provides weekly befriending phone calls to improve the emotional and physical well-being of Oregonians (55 and older) who may be experiencing isolation, loneliness, depression or grief.

Referrals can be made by filling out the referral request form online at communitycounselingsolutions.org/senior-outreach-referral/ or by calling OSPO at 1-833-736-4676 (1-833-SeniorOutreach).

Even though we are staying home, we can still be safe, strong, and positive during this Thanksgiving — while looking forward to when we can celebrate together once again.

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A reminder for those living in The Dalles area: The Annual FREE Community Thanksgiving Meal sponsored by the Salvation Army will be “Drive Through Take Out” and “Delivery“ only. And most importantly you MUST pre-order your meal before Nov. 23 by calling Kris at 541-296-6417. You can pick up your meals from noon to 3 p.m. at St. Mary’s Academy.

If you would like to volunteer, you can sign up at thedalles.salvationarmy.org or call 541-296-6417.

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From last week, the name of the patrol torpedo boat commanded by John F. Kennedy during World War II was PT-109. I received correct answers from Cheri Brent, who remembered the song PT-109 sung be Jimmy Dean, Judy Hanson, Kim Birge, Jeanne Pesicka, Dave Lutgens, Rhonda Spies, Barbara Cadwell, Lana Tepfer, Jim Ayers, and this week’s winner, Lee Kaseberg from Sherman County.

And from the previous week I receive correct answers from Cheri Brent, Rhonda Spies, Jess Birge, Barbara Cadwell, and Keith Clymer, winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

There are many hilarious Thanksgiving television episodes from a soused Bob Newhart ordering Moo Goo Gai Pan to this 1978 episode involving a bored station manager and an ill-conceived promotion involving the dropping of 20 live turkeys from a helicopter, figuring the turkeys would gently float down to the ground and give Cincinnati a pleasant Thanksgiving surprise. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the call letters for this radio station? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of receptionist Jennifer Marlowe played by Loni Anderson.

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Well, it’s been another week trying to keep my guard up. Until we meet again, if you can’t find ways to challenge yourself, life will.

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“Never think you’ve seen the last of anything.”

— Eudora Welty, writer

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The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels daily menus. If you would like to pick up a meal at noon, call 541-298-8333 before 10:30 a.m.

Menu

Thursday (19): Ham

Friday (20): Hamburger

Monday (23): Stroganoff

Tuesday (24): Turkey with Dressing and Gravy

Wednesday (25): Meatloaf with Gravy and Mashed Potatoes