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River Creek & Lansdowne
I Belong: Age commands respect, brings rewards
The writer, Joe Motheral

Now that I’ve been living life as a ‘senior’ for some time, I have some things to report for those who have that to look forward to. For one, there are many others in the same age group giving us a shared purpose to life. No one worries about being young anymore. In fact, no one wants to endure the trials of youth.

We’ve all heard about how people our age are getting forgetful. It’s true, but it’s stuff that you don’t need to remember anyway. Things like your Social Security number, the grandkids' names and birthdays, your pin number and where you left the keys to your car, your anniversary and 911. You have people around you who assist in helping you remember these things. Taking Gingko Biloba has served as a filter, helping me only to remember the important things, such as the phone number I had 43 years ago; or the name of that great movie we saw on a warm night on June 22,1953, down at the drive-in theatre.

The same concept applies to hearing, which is far more selective than it’s ever been before. A typical conversation in our household might be:

Wife: “Have you seen my purse?”
Me: “Seen what?”
Wife: “Oh, here it is.”
Me: “Here what is?”

Exercise is most important for seniors. Seniors who exercise may not live longer, but they can give more attention to heavy breathing, sore joints and aching muscles, thus taking their minds off the economy, financial and family problems. First, it was running; then jogging; and now it’s shuffling, which is actually preferred as I no longer have to worry about slowing down in a school zone. And I can enjoy the scenery far more than I used to. For example, that beautiful old oak tree down by the corner stays fixed in my vision for several minutes now and I get a good look from all angles. Another advantage is that dogs don’t like to chase me anymore as they almost have to walk backward to keep up with me.

Playing golf gives me an opportunity to vent frustration caused by playing golf. The competition becomes extra fierce on Geezer Day when four-person teams vie for the coveted prize of being listed as the winners for that week. Everyone makes a commitment as a team member unless one of us forgets to show up.

A favorite restaurant for seniors, including me, is Cracker Barrel – an upscale restaurant that can be described in one word: elegance. It has tables and chairs, a menu, servers, rusty signs on the walls and rocking chairs out front. The gift shop caters only to customers with special tastes. Mama's pancakes have been voted by Gourmet magazine as the best in the country. Granted, they are a bit expensive at $9 but well worth it.

The change in manual dexterity has been remarkable. For instance, I think I could enter the Senior Olympics in the bottle-cap-flipping event. Before, when I screwed off a bottle cap, it simply dropped into my hand. Now it drops or sails to the floor. The other day, one took off and flew clear across the bathroom, probably some kind of distance record. The key is for the lid to land on its edge so it can roll.

Everyone, or most everyone after reaching the age of 40, must be fitted for a pair of glasses, if not before then. I find that printers and publishers keep reducing the size of print, prompting me to have to secure more magnification. Bifocals are just the ticket, although sometimes looking down, especially when climbing or descending stairs, can cause you to easily get mixed up on which step is which.

The medical profession has immeasurably benefited from the aging population as has the pharmaceutical industry that has given me a daily pill popping regimen. I ingest upwards of 20 pills each day. I recently counted and discovered that I have eight doctors that I see regularly. Best thing is that they call you a day or two before to remind you of your appointment.

Age commands respect. Everyone, mostly younger, which is almost everyone, calls me ‘sir.’ I used to be resentful, not wanting to be known as a senior citizen. Then, one day, we went to the movies and stood behind a senior citizen waiting to buy tickets. I noticed they charged him only 60 percent of the full price of the ticket. I couldn’t wait to designate myself as senior citizen, pay my 60 percent and graciously accept the use of the word ‘sir.’

"I Belong" features stories of cultural identity from the community. Stories and essays should be submitted to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
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River Creek and Lansdowne Blog: Color Run at Riverside High School
New tennis pro at River Creek

Tennis professional Sean Moran will begin his role as the teaching pro at River Creek this week. His lessons will be given on weekends until the beginning of the summer then from June 21 to Aug. 26 he will be available during the week. According to his bio, he has been a tennis player all of his life and will be playing on the George Mason University tennis team beginning this fall. Meanwhile, he has been teaching tennis for two years and “has a wide range of teaching experience, including kids and adults of all ages and levels.”

Color Run at Riverside High School

On Saturday, May 21, Riverside High School in Lansdowne will be sponsoring 5K and 10K runs on behalf of two charities: Wounded Warriors Project and L.E.A.P. for Ghana. There will also be a “fun run one-miler.” The costs to enter vary depending on the date of purchase: up until May 20 the one-miler is $20, on race day $25; the 5K $32 and $35; the 10K, $35 and $37. Go to riversidehscolorrun5k.itsyourrace.com to purchase tickets in advance. Those entering any of the races are encouraged to wear colorful outfits.

All of the money collected will be split between the aforementioned two nonprofits. Wounded Warriors Project assists military families, helping with finances and emergency needs.

L.E.A.P. for Ghana has multiple roles – supporting education and health in Ghana. Kwame Alexander, whose book “The Crossover” earned him The Newberry Award, will be on hand to sell and sign this book in addition to another one entitled “Acoustic Rooster.” Alexander's publisher, according to a librarian at Riverside High School, has donated 1,000 books to be sold at $25 each, all of which will be donated to L.E.A.P. as part of the school’s Global Education Program.

Real Geniuses

On Saturday, May 29, the Potomac Club in Lansdowne will engage the band Real Geniuses from 7 to 11 p.m., free for residents. The band was formed in 2000 and has played at weddings and other special events in the Baltimore area. They feature songs from the 50s and 60s into the 70s and 80s. According to testimonials and their experience, they can appeal to all ages.
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River Creek and Lansdowne Blog: Operation Homefront golf outing and a testament to Mother’s Day
Cutline: Retired Gen. John Pray, CEO of Operation Homefront giving his talk at the organization's golf outing at River Creek. Photo Courtesy/Operation Homefront
Last week nature appeared to be swayed by the presence of Operation Homefront (OH) at the River Creek Golf Club. The weather was ideal for golf and from all indications the tournament went well with participation by military folks, past and present, sponsors, individual contributors and a host of community volunteers along with the OH staff to help run the tournament. The purpose of the outing, in addition to having fun, was to raise money for OH. As the organization's ninth annual event, it was highly successful in that regard.

Making the rounds during the tournament, we met a foursome from the major sponsor Booz Allen, and, according to one of the golfers from that company, one-third of their staff are former military. A representative of LMO, another sponsor, said simply: “We like to give back to the community.” Another foursome included two gentlemen who were medics during the first Gulf War. They now are hospital nurses.

The featured speaker at the dinner following the golf outing was Dillon Behr, who served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, where he suffered wounds and earned the Silver Star for valor in addition to the Purple Heart. He grew up in a town near Rock Island, Ill. and told me he “floundered” around in colleges for four years. He subsequently went into the military, entered special forces and became a Green Beret. After Afghanistan, he returned to the states and spent a year and a half in Homefront Village undergoing physical therapy. He later earned a master’s degree in security studies at Georgetown University and he works for a cybersecurity firm.

John Pray, the new national CEO of Operation Homefront attended the event and spoke briefly at the dinner. Pray comes to his job with impressive credentials: former Air Force general, an official in the USO and policy formulation for the president and White House officials. His talk centered on military families, particularly what the wives of servicemen must go through when their husbands are in combat.

He cited as an example his father, who had endured the Bataan Death March in World War II, and ended up for three-and-a-half-years in a Japanese prison camp. Meanwhile, Pray’s mother went through mental and emotional anguish not knowing whether her husband was alive or dead at that time. He said that his father recognized that his wife had suffered more than he had during that ordeal -- a testament to Mother's Day.

Operation Homefront has 120 staff and 3,200 volunteers nationwide for the express purpose of providing emergency aid to military families.
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