I guess I was too optimistic last week thinking the smoke would fade away by then. But this Saturday morning, I can see the Klickitats out my office window dressed in its velvety shades of brown instead of straining to see their faint gray outline. And now I can put away my KN95 mask (you know it’s unhealthy when you feel you need to wear a mask inside your house!), return to my cloth mask and start walking again.

But during those hazardous air quality days (the second time in three years!), I was glad I signed up for the Emergency Notification System in Wasco County to receive the air quality alerts and notice of the free distribution of KN95 masks in Wasco County by the North Central Public Health District. If you haven’t already, you should consider going online and signing up for your county’s Emergency Notification System: Citizens Alert in Wasco and Hood River Counties, Frontier Regional Alert in Sherman County and Code Red in Klickitat County.

Signing up enables the Emergency Response Agencies to quickly provide you with critical information for a variety of situations such as severe weather, wildfires, floods, evacuations and other important community messages.

When a message is issued about a potential safety hazard or concern, messages will be sent to all standard voice and text communication devices that you have registered including landline phones, cell phones and more. If you don’t confirm receipt of the message, the system will try to reach your second contact number or email. The system will continue trying to contact you until it receives a confirmation from you.

If you have a traditional landline, you have automatically been included in the system, but there are several reasons why you should still register. By registering, you can list other devices such as your cell phone; update your personal information; how you want to be notified, such as by text or email; and identify any special needs you may have, including whether you are hearing or visually impaired, diabetic, use a wheelchair or oxygen tank, or are power-dependent. All information you provide will not be shared with any vendor or other organizations and will be used for emergency purposes only.

Finally, if you can’t go online or need assistance, you can call one of the following agencies depending on where you live: Wasco County Communications Manager at 541-506-2760, Klickitat County Emergency Management at 509-773-0582, or the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office at 541-386-2098 — and I don’t know for sure who to call in Sherman County, but if you live there, you probably do.

•••

Since I have space for only a few more words, I thought I would add one short joke as we enter the flu and cold season.

”It’s just a cold,” the doctor said. “And as you know there’s no cure for that. You’ll just have to wait it out for a few days.”

“But it’s making me miserable. There must be something I can do.”

“Well, you could go home and take a hot bath. Then open all the windows and stand for a while in the cold air.”

“But wouldn’t I get pneumonia?

“You might. But for that we have a cure.”

•••

In Welcome Back, Kotter (1975-1979) Vinnie Barbarino’s favorite insult was “Up your nose with a rubber hose!” I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Barbara Cadwell, Tina Castañares and Lana Tepfer this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

•••

On a Zoom video conference call (which are popular these days), when someone joins the call you see their face pop up with the other participants arranged in a grid, which reminds me of the opening credits for this television show that aired from Sept. 26, 1969, to March 8, 1974, on ABC. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the sitcom that revolves around a large, blended family with six children and considered one of the last of the old-style family sitcoms? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a recording of the theme song sung by the Peppermint Trolley Company.

•••

Well, it’s been another week, trying to be real about what I can and can’t do. Until we meet again, take a moment to wonder, “What can I learn today?”

•••

“Optimist: Someone who isn’t sure whether life is a tragedy or a comedy but is tickled silly just to be in the play.” — Robert Brault

•••

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 (24): Sloppy Joes

Friday (25): Meatloaf with Macaroni and Cheese

Monday (28): Stroganoff over Rice

Tuesday (29): Hungarian Goulash

Wednesday: (30) Roast Beef with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

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