55Plus CNY 89 October/November 20

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Financial Help for Retirees Affected by COVID-19


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Radio Celebrates its Centennial

Issue 89 – October-November 2020

For Active Adults in the Central New York Area


Roger Burdick Driver’s Village founder and president talks about his faith, philanthropy and how he built one of the largest auto dealerships in NYS

n Presidential Elections

Trump, 74, vs. Biden, 77 Is age a problem? n Traveling

Bargains abound for those willing to travel

More People Going Gray, Thanks to the Pandemic

Had a Stroke. Back on Stage.


Central New York music legend Todd Hobin knew nothing about stroke — but he does now. That’s why he’s raising awareness about stroke risk factors and its signs and symptoms.



A. S.



Fact: Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the U.S. Important to know: Stroke can happen to both men and women — at any age. Good news: Stroke is preventable by managing medical risk factors and healthy lifestyle choices. What to do: Time lost is brain lost. So it’s vital to know the signs of a stroke — F.A.S.T. Four words to live by: Call 911 and say, “Take me to Crouse.“ When it comes to stroke, every moment matters. As one of just 10 hospitals in New York State tohave earned Comprehensive Stroke Center status, and with the region’s newest ER and hybrid ORs, Crouse offers the most advanced technology for rapid stroke diagnosis and treatment

Read Todd’s story and learn more: crouse.org/toddhobin.



If safety is your concern, we’ve got you covered.

Top 5% in the nation for patient safety! At Oswego Health, safety is our priority, and we recognize and can appreciate everyone’s concerns today when it comes to healthcare. For the second year in a row, we have been named one of the top 5 % in the country for patient safety by Healthgrades! So why travel for your medical needs, when the safest care is right at home!

Learn more about our services in the community at oswegohealth.org October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS



Financial Help for Retirees Affected by COVID-19



October / November 2020

please share


Radio Celebrates its Centennial

Issue 89 – October-November 2020

For Active Adults in the Central New York Area


Story ideas? Information about advertising? Email editor@cny55.com or call 315-342-1182

Roger Burdick


Driver’s Village founder and president talks about his faith, philanthropy and how he built one of the largest auto dealerships in NYS

■ Presidential Elections


Trump, 74, vs. Biden, 77 Is age a problem? ■ Traveling

Bargains abound for those willing to travel

Like us on facebook

More People Going Gray, Thanks to the Pandemic




Savvy Senior 6 12 ELECTION Gardening 8 • Trump, 74, vs. Biden, 77. Is age a problem? Dining Out 10 My Turn 18 16 TRENDS • The pandemic has changed how we Golden Years 31 work, shop and live — and how we view Aging 37 our hair Life After 55 42 21 PERFORMANCE Druger’s Zoo 44 • Meet the members of Sisterhood of the Legal 46 Traveling Broom


Bea González, 65, retired earlier this summer from Syracuse University after a 36-year career that saw her rise through the ranks. 4

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55 PLUS 34 32 RACE • Road to better race relations: Community leaders express thoughts on Black Lives Matter movement

34 ADVENTURE • A 14-day hike through the Finger Lakes trails with our pets: Good weather, great views … and an injured knee

40 TRAILS • Exploring New York’s food and beverage trails

• Agents: now it’s a good (and safe) time to travel providing you select the right area




• Roger Burdick: the force behind Driver’s Village


• Leaf peeping trips to enjoy around the region • Discover the birthplace of the American vacation, the destination that started it all: the Adirondack Mountains,

It’s no wonder, then, that Dr. Victoria Meguid – who has been a powerful force for pediatric care at Upstate Medical University since 1992 – has made the Upstate Foundation a beneficiary of her retirement plan. A retired pediatrician, Dr. Meguid continues to instruct medical students and informally mentor women faculty members. “I am grateful to have worked with so many wonderful doctors, nurses, clinicians and other staff here at Upstate. I know firsthand the care and compassion they bring to our work with children and families in the community.

“I want to invest in the lives and health of children.”

“This gift allows me to build on my legacy at Upstate of positively impacting the lives of children and families in Central New York,” she said. “There’s so much more to do!” Creating a legacy like Dr. Meguid’s is easier than you think! Contact our planned giving professionals at 315-464-4416 or Fdn@upstate.edu.

Where your gift impacts the health of the entire region.

You can also learn more about Dr. Meguid at www.upstatefoundation.org/legacy.

Our mission: Impacting patient care, education, research, and community health and well-being through charitable giving.

October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


savvy senior By Jim Miller


Financial Help for Retirees Affected by COVID-19

n addition to the $1,200 federal coronavirus stimulus check that was distributed in April and May, there are many other financialassistance programs (both public and private) that can help struggling retirees, as well as give relief to family members who help provide financial support for their loved ones. To f i n d o u t w h a t t y p e s o f assistance you may be eligible for, just go to BenefitsCheckUp.org, a free, confidential web tool designed for adults 55 and older and their families. It will help you locate federal, state and private benefits programs that can assist with paying for food, medications, utilities, health care, housing and other needs. This site — created by the National Council on Aging — contains more than 2,500 programs across the country. To identify benefits, you’ll first need to fill out an online questionnaire that asks a series of questions like your date of birth, ZIP code, expenses, income, assets, veteran status, the medications you take and a few other factors. It takes about 15 minutes. Once completed, you’ll get a report detailing all the programs and services you may qualify for, along with detailed information on how to apply. Some programs can be applied for online; some have downloadable application forms that you can print and mail in; and some require that you contact the program’s administrative office directly (they provide the necessary contact information). If you don’t have internet access, you can also get help in person at any of the 84 benefit enrollment centers located throughout the U.S. Call 888-268-6706 or visit NCOA.org/ centerforbenefits/becs to locate a center in your area. Some centers also


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offer assistance over the phone. Depending on your income level and where you live, here are some benefits you may be eligible for: • Food assistance: Programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help pay for groceries. The average SNAP benefit for 60-and-older households is around $125 per month. Other programs that may be available include the Emergency Food Assistance Program, Commodity Supplemental Food Program, and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. • Healthcare: Medicaid and Medicare savings programs can help or completely pay for out-of-pocket health care costs. And, there are special Medicaid waiver programs that provide in-home care and assistance too. • Prescription drugs: There are hundreds of programs offered through pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and charitable organizations that help lower or eliminate prescription drug costs, including the federal low-income subsidy known as “Extra Help” that pays premiums, deductibles and prescription copayments for Medicare Part D beneficiaries. • Utility assistance: There’s the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), as well as local utility companies and charitable organizations that provide assistance in lowering home heating and cooling costs. • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Administered by the Social Security Administration, SSI provides monthly payments to very low-income seniors, aged 65 and older, as well as to those who are blind and disabled. In 2020, SSI pays up to $783 per month for a single person and up to $1,175 for couples.

55PLUS cny55.com Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo


Deborah J. Sergeant Mary Beth Roach Margaret McCormick Christopher Malone, Aaron Gifford Ken Sturtz


Bruce Frassinelli Marilyn Pinsky, Harold Miller Jim Sollecito, Marvin Druger Michele Reed, Sandra Scott Eva Briggs (M.D.)


Amy Gagliano Cassandra Lawson

Office Manager Nancy Nitz


Dylon Clew-Thomas

Cover Photo

Chuck Wainwright 55 PLUS –A Magazine for Active Adults in Central New York is published six times a year by Local News, Inc., which also publishes In Good Health–CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper. Published at 185 E. Seneca St. PO Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126. Subscription: $21 a year; $35 for two years © 2020 by 55 PLUS – A Magazine for Active Adults in Upstate New York.

No material may be reproduced in whole or in part from this publication without the express written permission of the publisher.

How to Reach Us P.O. Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126 Phone: 315-342-1182 Fax: 315-342-7776 Email: editor@CNYhealth.com Editor@cnyhealth.com


We are growing and have exciting career opportunities in the health care industry. To join our talented, professional team, please visit one of our care facilities career pages for available positions.

Become a part of Our Family!

Life in balance.

A company philosophy that speaks to a continual process of individual and collective development to improve our well-being, quality of life and personal relationships.

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Our Mission.

To provide people in our community with healthcare, customer services, support & employment to achieve their individual best quality of life.

Our Vision.


To redefine skilled nursing care through successful team development, use of technology, progressive service and being a strong community partner.

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Rehabilitation and Nursing Center

100 St. Camillus Way, Fairport, NY 14450 585-377-4000 | www.AaronManor.com October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


gardening By Jim Sollecito


Comfort and Invigoration: We Need Both

n my work I get to see lots of properties and catch glimpses of how people live. We t a l k . We s h a r e l i f e experiences. We discuss positive expectations and what the future might hold. This year’s different pace allows us to observe, contemplate and enjoy elements that we previously would rush right by. Similar to slipping out of our cars and onto a bicycle: the ride is so much more interactive and invokes our senses. To plant a colorful landscape, work up the heart rate and admire the wonderful final product will be good for your heart and your soul. It improves your outlook as well as your view. I have personally found that hard work gives clarity to my mind. Sweat washes away worries. I once read that 40% of things we worry about never happen. Probably an arbitrary number but I believe there’s truth that we just waste a lot of effort in unnecessary anguish. It is positively invigorating to select landscape plants in exciting new colors, take them home, put them into the ground with your own two hands, and then marvel at how well they perform. This journey, repeated time and time again in our neighborhoods, yields remarkably positive results. Pinned down to select three of my own rewarding favorites, I choose Panicle Hydrangeas, Double Play Spireas and any variety of Weigelas. Keep in mind that right now is perhaps the easiest time of year to plant in the warm soil. Ample autumn rains do most of the watering. Moderate temperatures are just right for new roots to get established. These hardy flowering shrubs all offer abundant blossoms and hot fall colors that lasts and last. This year I did more outdoor


55 PLUS - October / November 2020

Hydrangea aglow: The angle of autumn’s setting sun casts a brilliant glow among the evolving flowers and changing leaves. grilling than I had in the past five years combined. I found comfort in the ritual of cleaning, igniting and then charring with my Char Broil. As I waited for my specialties to cook, I sat still and took in the scenery. Usually I’d have been a prisoner to my cell phone during the mad dinner scramble. (It’s appropriate that they are called cells.) Anyway, my backyard landscape at dusk is delightful. The angle of autumn’s setting sun casts a brilliant glow among the evolving flowers and changing leaves.

When we plant something in our own yard it gives a boost to our entire neighborhood. An ideal landscape design will enhance your home’s look and your personal outlook. It will enhance your own environment and the natural environment. A new landscape design will be enjoyed from the perspective of the property owner as well as everyone who passes by. It will invigorate and comfort — spiritually and physically. Yin and yang. We need both. Fall is a great time to get going. Can you dig it?

Social Security

Q&A Q: I’m retired and the only income I have is a monthly withdrawal from an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Are the IRA withdrawals considered “earnings?” Could they reduce my monthly Social Security benefits?

A: No. We count only the wages you earn from a job or your net profit if you’re self-employed. Non-work income such as pensions, annuities, investment income, interest, capital gains, and other government benefits are not counted and will not affect your Social Security benefits.

Q: I’m trying to figure out how much I need to save for my retirement. Does the government offer any help with financial education?

A: Yes. For starters, you may want to find out what you can expect from Social Security with a visit to Social Security’s Retirement Estimator at www. socialsecurity.gov/estimator. The Financial Literacy and Education Commission has a website that can help you with the basics of financial education: www.mymoney.gov. Finally, you’ll want to check out the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which offers educational information on a number of financial matters, including mortgages, credit cards, retirement, and other big decisions. Visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at www.consumerfinance.gov.

Room In Your Home? Room In Your Heart?

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Fallis for Planting Fallis for Planting

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Landscaping Nursery

4094 Howlett Hill Rd • Syracuse, NY 13215 • sollecito.com

468-1142 315-468-1142

October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


DiningOut By Christopher Malone



A flight of in-house beers comes with sets of 5 oz pours.

Patrolling Prison City


Auburn’s brew pub stays on the run

uburn is notable for many reasons — a rich history, a city in the Finger Lakes region serving as gateway between the central and western parts of the state, a unique equal rights and heritage center and a notable maximum-security correctional facility, which hosted the first execution by electric chair. For a small city, there is a lot offered, and this includes Prison City Pub & Brewery, which is located at 28 State St. Since the brew pub opened its doors in 2014, up until last year, I lived in the fictitious local novel called “A Tale of Two Brew Pubs.” It’s an interesting story told from a firstperson perspective. The narrator, who is comfortable frequenting his native city of Syracuse’s brew pub, has his integrity and loyalty tested with a new,


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intriguing establishment in Auburn. Things get heated in 2015, when said narrator works and writes in both cities. Since then, due to its hubris, the Empire has fallen. Prison City is growing itself as well, hopefully taking things at a gradual pace. This year, the North Street farm brewery location is set to open. COVID-19 cannot keep progression down, nor in-pub service. My now-wife and I began our meal with flights of the in-house beers. Typically, we’d order a couple flights of a wide variety of beer to share. Prison City only had four in-house brews available, so we got our own sets of 5 oz pours ($8/flight). The very golden flight featured 4 Piece Citra (5.8% American pale), Crispy Boys (4% lager), Elegant Pride (6% American pale), and the collaboration with Middle Ages

Brewing (Syracuse) — now celebrating 25 years — called Riot in the Castle (7.8% NE Hazy IPA). The 4 Piece is a crisp staple. This installment of the Riot series is not only a well-balanced collaboration between local breweries but a hefty hazy. Crispy Boys is a wonderful gateway craft for people who normally enjoy light domestics. The Elegant Pride lives up to its name, brewed with Mosaic hops, lemon zest, and mango herbal tea. The mango tea really stands out but isn’t overwhelming. Brussel sprouts ($12) was the appetizer of choice. Several amplesized sprouts were joined by pieces of crisp pork belly, honey, house beer mustard, and crumbled goat cheese. The sprouts were charred on the outside and soft and green beneath that crunchy shell. With all the ingredients combined, it was a tug-o-

war of flavor but not in the bad sense. With each bite, the components of the dish took their turn and the overall experience felt magical. Who knew with Brussel sprouts? Next, we tried the shrimp lettuce wraps ($15). The wraps are served as a pair, enough for two people. Three large shrimp sit upon two thick strips of bib lettuce. They were accompanied by peppers, onion and scallion, thin strips of carrot, and were dressed in a sesame garlic oil. The flavor did not lack but the biggest challenge was trying to pick up the “wrap” and eat it. Approaches may differ but failure seemed inevitable when trying to sandwich loose ingredients between the strips of lettuce. For a side, we opted for a salad with balsamic dressing. Next came the flank steak ($17) and the pork fried rice ($14) as our entrees or brewhouse plates. Bring on the pork belly! Prison City’s take on the rice dish featured sriracha-glazed pork belly, zucchini, peppers, onion, and (of course) rice. A vibrant sunny side egg sat atop, waiting to get mixed in. Not one part of this dish was bland or dry. It did come by itself, however, which felt more like a shareable small plate. The flank steak, which came out medium rare as requested, was served on three CD-sized discs of homemade garlic naan. Chimichurri and the roasted red peppers piled on the flavorful meat was a great compliment. As a whole, the flavor of the naan, steak, and garnishes were well-balanced. It could have been cut up and eaten like open-faced sandwiches but the naan was strong enough to pick up with the toppings, especially when these were evenly distributed. To accompany the steak, we asked for fries. The house-cut side dish was more of a mound of crispy, lightly salted strips. Prison City’s pub potatoes were a great compliment. The total bill came to just over $82 before tip. Prison City boasts hearty food and a comfortable atmosphere — even during the days of COVID-19 restrictions — to sit, hang out and relax. Enjoy one of their craft beers or one of the many guest beers on tap to sip as you savor one of the many offerings on their menu. Plus, there is a kid’s menu!

The flank steak is served on three CD-sized discs of homemade garlic naan. Chimichurri and the roasted red peppers piled on the flavorful meat.

Shrimp lettuce wraps are served as a pair, enough for two people.

Prison City Pub & Brewery Address 28 State St., Auburn, NY 13021 Phone 315-604-1277 Website/social prisoncitybrewing.com facebook.com/prisoncitypub instagram.com/prisoncitybeer twitter.com/prisoncitybeer

Prison City’s pork fried rice features sriracha-glazed pork belly, zucchini, peppers, onion and rice. A vibrant sunny side egg sat atop.

Current Temporary Hours Sun.: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Mon. – Thurs.: 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Fri. – Sat.: 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


55+ election

Trump, 74, vs. Biden, 77 Is Age a Problem? At an age that most Americans are enjoying retirement, two politicians in their 70s will face off to see who will lead the most powerful country on earth. Are they up to the task? By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


egardless of which of the two presidential candidates is elected this November, a septuagenarian will be commander-in-chief. President Trump is 74; Joe Biden is 77. By the time either would finish a four-year term, he would be close to or slightly over 80 years of age. Are these seniors up for the task? The stressors of the job are many, including the jam-packed schedule brimming with meetings, travel and speeches. A president doesn’t have a lot of down time. While the effects of


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travel are often mitigated by assistance and the use of Air Force One, it still takes a toll. There’s also the stress of acting as a public figure who’s the leader of a world power. The media watches constantly, scrutinizing every word, action and expression. It’s like living under a microscope. That’s a lot of pressure. The president must also bear responsibility for decisions made. How will these choices affect future generations of Americans? How will they affect countless other nations? It’s

really an awe-inspiring concept. Chronic stress can be difficult for a person of any age. It can contribute to a lowered immune system, increased heart rate and blood pressure, digestive problems and muscle tension. Add to this the typical age-related maladies most people experience and it would seem that being president as a septuagenarian would be detrimental to health. Each candidate’s baseline health also makes a difference. The webpage Ranking the Health of U.S. Presidents (https://www4.medicaresupplement.

com/content/healthiest-presidents) places Donald Trump at 26 out of 44 based upon several factors. His score for diet, exercise and sleep are low. He ranks a perfect five in alcohol/tobacco and vision/hearing/dental. His body mass index (BMI) of 29.87 places him in the category of overweight. According to a CNN report, he takes a statin drug for cholesterol. CNN also reported that he scored a perfect score on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. Nearly half of US Presidents were overweight or obese. The site predicted Donald Trump’s lifespan will be 84.2 years, older than predicted for former Presidents Barack Obama (82.7), George H.W. Bush (78.4), Bill Clinton (75.7), and Jimmy Carter (75.4). According to his 2018 physical when he was 72, President Trump’s blood pressure was 122/74, resting heart rate was 68, LDL was 143 and total cholesterol was 223. Each of these numbers is healthy to slightly elevated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In December 2019, Joe Biden received a physical from his physician. Its published results reveal that his BMI is 24.38, his blood pressure was 128/84, pulse is 72, LDL was 69 and total cholesterol was 126. His blood pressure is considered “elevated” by the CDC; however, the rest of his numbers are within the normal range. Although he has experienced an intracranial hemorrhage from an aneurysm in 1988, it was successfully repaired and he has not had any recurrence. CNN reported that he also takes a statin drug to control cholesterol and also takes Eliquis, medication to prevent blood clots. To simply look at age as a disqualifier smacks of ageism. Sharon Brangman believes that the expression “age is just a number” is true. “I think that the candidates should not be considered because of their age alone,” Brangman said. She is a distinguished service professor and chairwoman of geriatrics and department chief of geriatrics at Upstate University Hospital. “It should be based on their policies and opinions,” Brangman added. “A health evaluation should be part of that but if they’re healthy, we should not use age on a limit on what they should be allowed to do.” Self-care plays a large role in

maintaining a healthy life. Phil Berchard, doctor of chiropractic, operates Mount Hope Chiropractic & Wellness in Rochester, which focuses on self-management of health as well as therapy to help clients with their health concerns and prevent health problems. Berchard sees patients of all ages. He said that he has seen plenty of people in their ‘70s and ‘80s “perfectly capable of functioning better than some in their ‘60s who don’t take care of themselves.” He added that it’s not the age but staying in shape

is determined by what people do to stay healthy. He thinks that good stress management can help mitigate the ill effects of stress in the position and that exercise can help people age better. “It’s always been my observation that in general, the position where they’re overworked,” Berchard said. “As far back as I can remember, I think people serving as president are overextended. If there were capability to allow them to have more time for their health, to not be involved for even an hour a day, that would be important.”

Too Old to be President?


By Ken Sturtz

he president’s age had again burst into the spotlight. He was, after all, the oldest president in history and, in a previous debate, under the unforgiving glare of the cameras, he had appeared confused and stumbled over his words. It was October 1984 and President Ronald Reagan was in his second debate with former Vice President Wa l t e r M o n d a l e . A m o d e r a t o r referenced Reagan’s age and pointed out that President Kennedy was forced to go for days on end with little sleep during the Cuban missile crisis. Was there any doubt in Reagan’s mind that he could function under similar

circumstances? “Not at all, Mr. Trewhitt, and I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign,” said Reagan, with a note of sarcasm. “I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” The auditorium erupted into laughter and applause. Even Mondale, in his mid-50s, could not help chuckling. Reagan won reelection in a landslide. As the 2020 presidential election grinds toward a conclusion, age has again become an issue. This time, however, both President Donald October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


Trump and his challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, are well into their ‘70s. Either man would be the oldest president in history and both have made repeated gaffes and verbal slipups that critics pounced on as possible evidence of age-related problems. Whether a president’s age should matter is a difficult question to answer in part because aging is not one size fits all. “It’s a complex combination of gains and losses and things that are stable,” says Jennifer Sasser, a gerontologist who has studied aging for three decades. “It’s not a yes or no question.” As people grow older, their individual differences increase, which helps explain why there are 90-yearolds running marathons and 60-yearolds in poor health. Other factors such as gender, race, class and education also shape our life chances as we age, says Sasser, who teaches at Portland Community College and is the coauthor of a widely used textbook on aging, “Aging: Concepts and Controversies.” While the right 90-year-old might well be physically and mentally fit enough to handle the rigors of the presidency, the process of aging inevitably takes a toll on the body. By the time the average person reaches advanced age, they are likely to have less energy, less reserve capacity, less stamina and possibly be suffering from chronic diseases, Sasser says. “And all of these things just make you more vulnerable,” she says. An obvious benefit to an older president is having decades more life experience to draw upon, Sasser says, but if that experience is not in a relevant area like government, it may not prove helpful. Trump entered office as the first president in history with no significant prior experience in politics or the military. Part of the problem with questions of age and the presidency is that, whatever their legitimate concerns, both major political parties have weaponized age, says S. Jay Olshansky, an aging researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Olshansky wrote a paper in 2011 on presidential lifespans after hearing a physician on television say that typical presidents aged two years for every year in office. Though there has 14

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long been speculation that presidents experience accelerated aging while in office, Olshansky decided to do the research to determine whether or not presidents live longer or shorter than average. The study found no evidence that presidents die sooner, on average, than other men. In fact, 23 of the 34 presidents who died of natural causes lived past the average life expectancy for men of the same age, even if they hypothetically aged at twice the normal rate while in office. The reason for presidential longevity is not a mystery, Olshansky says. “There’s lots of factors that influence projected health and duration of life,” he says. “We know what those are. They’ve been measured definitively for the last 50 years.” Among the factors are education, access to quality healthcare and wealth. All but 10 presidents had considerable wealth, college educations and access to the best medical care of their day, Olshansky says. B u t w h a t a b o u t p re s i d e n t s appearing to age rapidly? Abraham Lincoln looked decades older in 1865 than when he took office. Olshansky says graying hair and wrinkling skin are normal parts of aging and would be obvious in any middle-aged man when comparing portraits taken eight years apart. Smoking or stress can accelerate the appearance of aging. Americans continue to raise questions about age and the presidency in part because more people are living longer, Sasser says. Baby boomers in particular represent a huge swath of the country that is entering later life. Members of that generation have long pondered how they were going to face growing older, she says, which inevitably raises questions about how well an older American can handle the duties of president. While the issue is not new, the intensity of the scrutiny has changed dramatically, says Meena Bose, director of Hofstra University’s Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency. Dwight Eisenhower was the oldest elected president when he took office. But his personal popularity with the American people and his international standing from leading the allies in WW II largely overshadowed questions

about his age. Eisenhower had a heart attack and a stroke and suffered other health problems during his presidency. Reagan faced questions about his age, but largely managed to brush them aside with self-deprecating oneliners and by evoking the image of a cowboy during horse rides on his ranch. Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years after leaving office. “But you didn’t have the constant scrutiny that we have today,” Bose says. “Of course, there have been questions about age raised, but not to the extent that they have been raised in 2020.” With the rise in the 1990s of the 24-hour news cycle and cable news networks, the intensity of media coverage on every minute aspect of presidential candidates’ lives skyrocketed. Eisenhower and Reagan, for example, would almost certainly receive far more scrutiny today regarding their age and health, Bose says. “Age and questions about health are part of that larger assessment of how we evaluate presidential candidates,” she says. “When we look at the qualities that are needed in the presidency in the 21st century for governance — political skill, communication, vision — I think voters need to consider age as they evaluate candidates.” The challenge, Bose and Olshansky concede, is that the Constitution includes just one agerelated requirement for candidates: the president must be at least 35 years old. One of the questions that frequently comes up when discussing presidential candidates is whether or not they should be required to go through a standardized medical exam that includes physical and cognitive functioning tests. The risk of having physical and cognitive problems may be higher later in life, Olshansky says, but the risk is present at every age. “These issues are the same regardless of how old you are,” he says. “If you’re interested in cognitive functioning and physical functioning, the rules should apply equally regardless of how old you are.” Bose says it is highly unlikely that any kind of mental or physical fitness tests will be adopted for presidential

candidates in the foreseeable future in large part because the Constitution leaves the ultimate decision of fitness for office with the voters. Making that decision is no easy task. It takes trained professionals with patient records and the patient to diagnose many physical and mental problems. And while it has increasingly become the norm for candidates to release all or part of their medical records, there is no requirement. Trump repeatedly promised to release his medical records, but never followed through. “The voters are left with making assessments based on the information they have,” Bose says. With both candidates in their 70s, and the pandemic depriving the election of the rigorous in-person campaigning typical of presidential races, voters may be forced to scrutinize the candidates’ every verbal gaffe and physical misstep for clues, Bose says. “When is that something that could happen to anybody and when is it indicative of something more serious?”

President Ronald Reagan in his second debate with former Vice President Walter Mondale in October 1984. The issue of old age was brought up by the moderator.



During This Pandemic at

Loretto’s Assisted Living Communities At Buckley Landing and Sedgwick Heights we continue to actively engage our residents and diligently follow our infection control protocols recognized as the safest in the state. Through creative programming and advanced technology we bring joy to the simplest moments of our residents and their loved ones lives.

Find out why Buckley Landing and Sedgwick Heights are the places to be in Central New York. To learn more or to schedule a tour contact us at 315.446.5718.


Buckley and Sedgwick_55 Plus_7.25x4.75 OCT 2020.indd 4

1:23 PM October / November 2020 - 559/11/20 PLUS 15

55+ trends

Tina Limpert, an assistant professor at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, decided to stop coloring her hair in January, after nearly 20 years doing so. “The gray was happening and I thought, ‘why am I fighting it?” Photo courtesy of Alexandre Leclercq.

More People Going Gray, Thanks to the Pandemic The pandemic has changed how we work, shop and live — and how we view our hair By Margaret McCormick


hen she started to see silvery threads in her dark brown hair, Tina Limpert did what a lot of women do: She started coloring her hair at home. The results weren’t great, she recalls, but as a graduate student in her 40s, she felt it necessary to cover up the gray and maintain a youthful appearance. “Age is such a defining factor in how we judge people,’’ says Limpert, who is an assistant professor at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. “Age is often dismissed as a number, but ageism is so real.’’ She eventually started going to


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a salon for professional color and highlights and has loved the look. Now nearing 60, Limpert has decided to ditch the dye. Inspired by several months of stay-at-home, she is embracing her emerging true color(s). The gray has grown more prevalent, giving her a salt and pepper look. And she sees signs of wider streaks coming in. “I’m going to look like Cruella de Vil,’’ she says with a laugh. Her hairdresser is on board for the transformation and has encouraged Limpert to “work with it.’’ “I was so affirmed by that,’’ Limpert says. Her last color was in January. “The gray was happening and I thought, ‘why am I fighting it? Why am I having this inner dialogue all the

time? I see getting older as liberating in so many ways. I don’t have the same fears of being judged that I once did. I feel more powerful.’’ The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we work, shop and live — and how we view our hair. Some of us have discovered we like our hair longer or opted for a fuss-free short cut. Rather than face months with longer, unkempt hair, some men shaved their heads. Some of us ordered hair color or root touch-ups for home use and searched YouTube for instruction on how to best trim bangs and tresses. Early on in the stay-at-home phase of the pandemic, a joke was shared widely on social media: “We’re about three weeks away from seeing everyone’s true hair color.” It appears many women have come to view the pandemic and lockdown as their “silver lining’’ — and decided to let the gray stay. Mary Ellen Andrews, 71, a retired school administrator and teacher who lives in Skaneateles, has watched the roots of her salon-colored brown hair come in silver and is letting it be. She has been coloring her hair since she was 28, so it’s going to be a major change. “My hairdresser said it’s

going to take the better part of a year or more to grow in and there won’t be anything I like about it until it’s finished,’’ Andrews says. “That’s OK. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and just decided it’s time. I’m lucky my hair grows fast. I may cut it to chin length to help it go faster. I wish I had the nerve to cut it really short.’’ Deciding whether to reveal your true hair color isn’t simple. It means looking in the mirror, acknowledging the realities of age and asking yourself some questions: Do I want to be an artificial blonde, brunette or ginger as the years advance? Or do I want to be authentic? The advantages of saying hooray for gray include extra money in the bank — coloring every four to six weeks costs $50 or more at most salons. You’ll also have extra time to spend on other pursuits, since you’ll be spending far less time in the stylist’s chair. An awkward period of transition — transformation somehow sounds more positive — is inevitable. You may question your own decision and mourn the loss of your colored hair, but those who have gone gray before you say that will pass. Focus on the finish line. Frank Procopio, co-owner of Hair Habitat, a salon in Syracuse’s Franklin Square neighborhood, says that gray hair became trendy several years back when young people started asking for it. Celebrities like Jane Fonda and Sharon Osbourne, who have gone gray via a salon process involving bleach and highlights, have generated buzz and helped to make it more acceptable for women of a certain age to “own” their gray. Still, there is a double-standard when it comes to gray hair, Procopio says. Our society views men with gray hair as dashing “silver foxes’’ — think actors George Clooney, Richard Gere and Ted Danson. Women with gray hair are perceived as aged, faded and not well kept — “old crones,’’ as Tina Limpert puts it. “Typically, it has been said that men with gray hair look more distinguished and women with gray hair look like they’re not taking care of themselves or letting themselves go,’’ Procopio says. “It’s very rare in marketing and advertising that you see gray-haired women models, but you will see gray-haired men. There is a stigma.’’

Tami Conroy, of Manlius, is of the “gray hair and I don’t care’’ mindset. After more than 40 years of coloring, her hair is now an attention-getting silvery-white, with just a few traces of blonde remaining. At 45, she says, her hair was coming in a “mousy gray” at the roots. As she approached 60, she noticed that her gray had turned more platinum-white. Her hairdresser, Frank Procopio, adjusted her salon color to allow for a more seamless transition to her natural color. Almost a year later, she’s thrilled with the

end result. She recently got a fresh, shorter cut — a sleek bob similar to that favored by Lady Mary on the popular PBS series “Downton Abbey.’’ “Being blonde and young is awesome,’’ Conroy says, “but I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I can tell you since doing this I have never received more compliments on the color of my hair. It’s very liberating. It’s extremely freeing to not be looking at your roots and coloring every four to five weeks. Not having to deal with any of that is great.’’

‘Silver Sisters’ Unite on Social Media

Some women questioning whether to go gray or continue coloring their hair find sisterhood — and solidarity — on social media platforms. The Going Grey (sic) Gracefully group on Facebook, for example, has more than 30,000 members who “have decided to stop spending money and stop being married to the time restraints that coloring their hair every few weeks puts on them.’’ Members share their trials and tribulations, milestones, success stories and before and after photos. “Three years in,’’ a woman with a gorgeous head of salt-and-pepper hair posted recently. “Best decision ever.’’ Members also ask questions: How

On My Way To Gray Like many women today (and some of the women I interviewed for this story), I had been thinking about ditching the dye for a while before the coronavirus pandemic gave me the push to transition to gray. My natural hair color is brown, but I’ve been coloring it blonde for half my life. It’s part of my identity.

can I hide this “skunk line?’’ Should I use purple shampoo? (Users say purple shampoo neutralizes brassiness in blonde hair and makes gray hair look more vibrant.) Should I get a pixie cut to speed the graying process? My grandson says I look old. How do I respond? Find the group here: www.facebook. com/groups/620789137997967/ O n I n s t a g r a m a n d Tw i t t e r, type in the hashtags #ditchthedye #silversisters and #greyhairdontcare (among others) and you’ll discover a celebration of women in various states of graying — some natural and some with salon assistance. But when I turned 60 last fall, I started thinking it was time to get real. “I don’t want to be doing this at 70 or 80,’’ I thought to myself. I asked my hairdresser to let some of the gray show through the blonde. If you looked closely, it already was. Blondes have an advantage when they begin the process of going gray. Because their hair is light, the dreaded “skunk line” or “line of demarcation’’ that shows up as the gray comes in is less noticeable. That makes the process easier. It has been almost six months since my last salon color. My hair looks and feels healthier. It’s silverwhite at the top and gold at the bottom — an awkward two-tone look that’s hopefully more noticeable to me than anyone else. By this time next year, my transformation to “silver sister” should be complete. By Margaret McCormick October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


my turn By Bruce Frassinelli Email: bfrassinelli@ptd.net


Radio Celebrates its Centennial

his year marks the 100th anniversary of the first radio broadcast in the United States. KDKA in Pittsburgh went on the air on Nov. 2, 1920, and broadcast the results of the Harding-Cox presidential election. In the era before television, before the proliferation of social media and smartphones, radio was an upstart medium that eventually would challenge the dominance of the print industry. KDKA broadcast the first major league baseball game in 1921 between cross-state rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Within about a 60-mile radius of Syracuse, there are 72 public and commercial FM stations and 40 AM stations. WSYR (570 AM) is one of the oldest radio stations in the state. First broadcasting on Sept. 15, 1922, as WMAC in Cazenovia, it moved to Syracuse in 1928 and changed its call letters to WSYR. The station is known for broadcasting local news and talk shows. WSYR is not among the 10 oldest stations in the United States, but nine other New York stations are. Beginning with the oldest, they are: WABC (770 AM) New York City, which went on the air in 1921, and these eight all of which went on the air in 1922: WGY (810 AM) Schenectady, WOR (710 AM) New York City, WGR (550 AM) Buffalo, WEPN (1050 AM) New York City, WBBR (1130 AM) New York City, WFAN (660 AM), New York City, WHCU (870 AM), Ithaca, and WHAZ (1330 AM) Troy. Born in the pre-television era, I realize that the radio of my youth died young. This show business giant should have been at the peak of its creativity, yet, at only 30 years of age, the golden age of radio was already declining. Any American born before or


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‘Radio’s surge in popularity during the 1930s and 1940s was brief. After World War II, television began to take center stage, and, bit by bit, the radio that we knew and revered as kids morphed into the much blander and less imaginative radio of today.’

during World War II remembers how great radio used to be — before the allmusic niche formats, the endless talk by commentators on the left but mostly on the right or by sports hosts taking call-in views from listeners. Radio and its wide range of live music, comedy, variety shows and dramatic programming served as a welcome escape from the troubled times during the Depression and World War II. In fact, many called it “escapism,” but radio news gave us a strong dose of reality, too. My contemporaries and I grew up with Jack Armstrong, the Lone Ranger, the Shadow and Uncle Don. Younger audiences believed soap operas began with television, but we knew better. “Ma Perkins,” “Stella Dallas,” “Just Plain Bill,” “Pepper Young’s Family” and “Backstage Wife” were just some of the soap operas which attracted millions of afternoon radio listeners, mostly housewives.

I can hear the sounds of the radio of my youth until this day. Dramatized radio programs were very important to me. How many times did I gulp down my supper so I could sprint to the living room to listen to the next episode of The Shadow, Gangbusters or the super scary Inner Sanctum and its opening sequence of a squeaky door that scared me half to death. There were quiz shows, such as “Queen for A Day,” “Dr. IQ, the Mental Banker,” “Stop the Music and many others.” Many legendary entertainers made it big on radio before transitioning to TV and motion pictures. Included were Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, George Burns and Gracie Allen and Raymond Burr (of Perry Mason and Godzilla fame). If it sounds as if I had a love affair with radio, you’re right. The radio I loved is gone, but the memory lingers on. When we were kids, we talked incessantly about radio — not only about the programs, but we also played games emulating our heroes. For example, my favorite cowboy was Roy Rogers; my best friend’s favorite was Gene Autry. We went crazy over the premiums being offered. With just a cereal boxtop, we could have the Little Orphan Annie decoder ring, so we could unlock the message at the end of each program. I would drink gallons of Ovaltine so I could accumulate three inner seals of the drink to send away for the Captain Midnight Secret Squadron decoder badge. By the way, I drank my Ovaltine from a Roy Rogers mug which was shaped in the likeness of the King of the Cowboys. We had things our way when we listened to radio. No one could tell me that the monster on “Lights Out” was too gruesome, because I could make it as scary as I liked. No one could suggest that Buck Rogers’ girlfriend, Wilma Deering, wore a spacesuit that fitted too snugly for a boy my age to look at. The best part was that I didn’t have to be reprimanded by mom for having impure thoughts. Until this very day, I entertain my grandchildren by pretending that I am the radio announcer on The Adventures of Superman. “Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings

at a single bound. Look, up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s SUPERMAN. Yes, Superman, strange visitor from another planet, who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way.” Then there was the opening signature for the Henry Aldrich program — “Hen-reee, Henry Aldrich!” “Coming, mother.” (I would try to mimic Mrs. Aldrich, who sounded a lot like my mother calling me for dinner.) Today’s listeners, who often use FM radio largely as background noise, can’t comprehend how radio could have held a listener ’s interest for several hours at a time. Simple: imagination. In fact, when some of the radio programs made the transition to TV, audiences were disappointed, because the images they had conjured in their minds couldn’t measure up to what they were now seeing on the small screen. One enormously popular program, “Amos ‘n’ Andy,” had to change the stars of the show when it went to TV because Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, the originators of the program who also played the title roles, were white men playing Black characters Some historians say that radio helped create a sense of national belonging in what had previously been a disorganized group of regional identities. Others point out that the pros and cons about the promises and dangers of today’s internet are very much like the arguments that accompanied the debate when radio had begun to become popular and pervasive. Some were enthused that radio would be a powerful force for spreading knowledge to a large population that had previously been separated by geography and income. Others, though, feared that the propriety and taste of radio programs could defile the sanctity of the home. They also were concerned that if families stayed home to listen to the radio, it would limit civic and social participation and also cut into church attendance. Radio’s surge in popularity during the 1930s and 1940s was brief. After World War II, television began to take center stage, and, bit by bit, the radio that we knew and revered as kids morphed into the much blander and less imaginative radio of today.

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Carlton and Shirley West sit in the living room of their home.

Kappa Alpha Psi Scholarship recipient and member, Keyshawn Blakes, stands with fellow members of the Kappa Alpha Psi Syracuse Alumni chapter. FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Donnell Bacon, Joseph Wilson, Marion Ervin (holding cap honoring the memory of Gilbert Kirkland, “godfather” of the fraternity), Keyshawn Blakes and Roosevelt Baums.

From the beginning, our fraternity always supported our members through whatever means we had. Many of our brothers grew up in families where helping people was a natural thing. You just did it. Since the establishment of our chapter in 1973, we’ve thrived on our fraternity’s shared vision of brotherhood, scholarship, community service and achievement for African American men. Our local chapter established the Kappa Alpha Psi Scholarship Fund at the Community Foundation, which awards scholarships to young men that embody our core values. When we put money into our endowed fund, it’s managed and invested for us, gaining interest and increasing its value over time. This has ensured that our scholarship will continue to support the men that are working to better themselves and our community.


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Read more of the Kappa Alpha Psi story at cnycf.org/Kappa

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55+ performance

MemberS of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Broom. The group performed at 30 gigs at parades, festivals, galas, ladies’ luncheons, nursing homes and senior living centers.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Broom By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


ajorette, ballet dancer, d a n c e t e a c h e r, c i v i l engineer, mom, Zumba instructor: Diane Morabito has worn a lot of hats throughout her 68 years — including a tall, black, pointed one. She leads the Sisterhood of the Traveling Broom, a witch-inspired dance troupe that performs locally. Dance has always been part of the Auburn native’s life. She twirled a baton as a majorette in school, spun a rifle with the Purple Lancer Drum Corps in Auburn as a teen and young adult, and has studied ballet in New York City, which has allowed her opportunities such as dancing with the Syracuse City Ballet. Dance has shaped her life in many ways. She met John, her husband of 45

years, while with the Purple Lancers. He played the mellophone, a brass instrument. “We were one of the top 10 drum and bugle corps in 1974,” Morabito said. Dance has also provided a creative outlet and physical activity to keep her fit as she studied at Cayuga Community College to earn a business degree and study engineering. She remained in that profession for her entire career, all the while performing and teaching dance, and raising the couple’s son, Mark. Once she retired from her day job as a civil engineer with the New York State Department of Transportation in 2009, she found herself bored after lazing at home for a year. She stumbled upon Zumba to stay fit since she felt

bored with walking and running. Eventually, she earned certifications in Zumba, Zumba Gold, Aqua Zumba, Zumba Kids and Zumba Kids Jr. Several years ago, she heard about wolfshagen hexenbrut, or German witch dances, from one of her Zumba students, who brought a video of an event to class. “I was mesmerized,” Morabito said. “It’s done in Germany every year on April 30 like a Mayday festival to say goodbye to winter and hello to spring. They dress up as witches and have bonfires and have music, food and dance.” Morabito thought the celebration looked like fun and developed her own witch dancing group, borrowing choreography from the group in the video. She said that is commonplace October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


Darlene Morabito, the founder of Sisterhood of the Traveling Broom. in the dance world. “I sent them a message and they’re thrilled,” Morabito said. “My troupe is one of a thousand over the world that does this.” In subsequent years, she has flexed her choreography skills to develop her own routines for Sisterhood of the Traveling Broom, which is open to women of any age. The women dance to what she describes as German

reggae pop, along with other types of music. Last year, the group performed at 30 gigs at parades, festivals, galas, ladies’ luncheons, nursing homes and senior living centers. She hands out maracas so the senior audience can join in the music making. “They love it and can’t wait for us to come back,” she said. The troupe performs to recorded music. Some of their husbands — their “warlocks” — join them in Grim Reaper-style garb. They do not dance but help set up and break down the sound system at each venue and make sure the ladies have cold drinks to stay hydrated. “My husband does so much,” Morabito said. “One of the other warlocks, his wife is very into Halloween. They have a hearse called Toe Tagger, and it’s used in parades in good weather. It’s custom-painted purple and black and he’s part of the act in the summer. He’s always a hit.” Morabito said the troupe of about 20 represents a mix of experienced dancers and others with little public dancing experience. “As a theatrical performance group, you get your witch costume on and it’s an alter ego,” she said. “It’s about making a character, a persona. And it’s a whole lot of fun.” Although the pandemic has limited the troupe’s ability to perform this summer, they did have a gig in

Darlene Morabito leading aqua Zumba class. 22

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June at Boyle Center in Auburn by performing dances at a safe distance from residents. The women meet at a public park for rehearsals. Morabito describes their dance style as “a mix of ballet, jazz and ethnic type of steps used in Latin dance. We all have brooms and they’re part of the act. It’s very much theatrical dancing, like musical theater. The ladies all do their own costuming.” Initially, the women come in the expected all-black dress of witches and have a black hat and broom. “As you get into it, you go out to Halloween stores to make your costume look gypsy-ish,” Morabito said. Strung coins along a skirt hemline add their own jingle to the rhythm as the women step and spin in unison, twirling around with their brooms. Morabito said that it seems that many Zumba classes feature younger women who want to perform moves at a high intensity, making it not as suitable to women with worn-out knees and back problems. That has spurred her to investigate starting a class at her rented space at Auburn Public Theater for mature ladies that will offer gentler exercise. “I want to focus on people my age with things that will help with posture and balance,” she said. “I want to teach about rhythm to help their confidence and well-being. I want to make it gentle.”

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55+ travel Is It Safe to Travel? Travel agents: now it’s a good (and safe) time to travel, with tons of bargains available By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


f your travel bug has been biting hard lately, you can feel confident that you still have options for taking a vacation. Although it seems counterintuitive, it’s a good time to travel and, providing you select the right area and follow all the protocols, safe both for your health and your travel plans. Amy Jarvis, owner of The Travel Store in Fayetteville, Liverpool and Sylvan Beach, said that although the travel advisories are subject to change, at present, the Caribbean is her go-to for clients. “Right now, for people who want sun and beach, most of the Caribbean is open,” Jarvis said. Most of the islands maintain a protocol for testing, screening and quarantining. But travelers should be aware that the time length between when they took their COVID-19 test and their arrival varies by island. Though her plans to lead a group on a European trip have been put off until June 2021, Jarvis can still direct travelers to domestic venues. “You can travel to some parts of the U.S., depending on the day of the week that our governor decides to let us go to certain places,” she said wryly. “Every day, it’s something new. We work around it. The airlines are waiving all the change fees. If I book you and they decide you can’t go, I can change 24

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you to a different destination or date and they don’t charge a change fee.” During these turbulent times, travel agents and their clients get creative. In lieu of European river tours, many of Jarvis’ clients opt for U.S. river tours. “They do social distancing and make sure everything is clean and done properly,” she said. “They’re also only doing tours in states where monuments and things are actually open.” While it seems that the pandemic has ruined travel, social distancing can mean a more tranquil, less hurried vacation, as many beaches and resorts have occupancy rates of only 30%. Air travel is less crowded as the airline industry is trying to keep passengers safe, too. Instead of sitting three abreast, the middle seat was vacant, allowing extra room for everyone. Encountering fewer travelers also means less hassle at the airport. Tracy Hogarth, owner of Blue Zaria, a travel agency in Syracuse, said that Iceland is currently open, among other venues, though travelers should expect to pay for testing upon entry to the country and four to six days l a t e r, p l u s a quarantine.

“Most places are asking for that,” she said. “Most are asking for international medical insurance, like Thailand, and requiring you have available ‘x’ number of dollars in case you have to be hospitalized.” Hogarth has delayed her next international trip until April 2021, as her trips are between seven and 10 days. If her group must quarantine for 14 days, there’s little point in going. At this point, she recommends travelers to focus more on staying home and exploring local areas for safety’s sake, especially if they have any risk considerations for coronavirus. Like Hogarth, Richard ONeil, owner of Travel Choice International in Syracuse specializes in travel for older adults. All of his trips planned for this year have been canceled. “If you’re planning day trips or overnight trips for seniors, plan in advance as far as where you want to go,” ONeil said. “Check the websites to see if they’re open and call them. In a lot of cases, things have changed since they posted on their website. It’s important to call ahead.” William Louer, certified travel counselor and owner of Advantage Tr a v e l in Syracuse, encourages a n y o n e attempting travel to “take beyond the normal cautions they need to take based upon where you’re traveling once you leave the 48 states. Check the websites of where you’re going. Look at it five or six more times as things change weekly.” Using a travel agent can make the process easier. Travel agents specialize in knowing just what is open and what the travel protocols travelers need to follow. “We have to know the specifics of the country you’re going to,” Louer said Even with travel in New York, it’s vital to use a travel agent or check with destinations to ensure you understand their COVID-19 policies before planning a trip.

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55+ cover

Roger Burdick The Force Behind Driver’s Village Auto sales mogul creates a family-owned empire, envisions retiring in three years By Aaron Gifford


ay before the massive auto mall with 16 brands featured under one roof, it was all about finding the right fit at Roger’s Slacks Shack. The owner carried Wranglers, but not Jeeps. He also had Levis, Lees and corduroys. The pants shop was located in North Syracuse from 1971 until 1974. It evolved into one of the largest and most unique business ventures Central New York has ever seen. “I loved selling jeans,” Roger Burdick recalled, “and we did well. But no, at that point I didn’t imagine any of this.” The 72-year-old president of Driver ’s Village in Cicero recently talked about his Central New York upbringing, the events leading to his success, and his desires to give back to the community that has been so kind to him. Burdick’s grandfather, Grant Burdick, ran a service station in the 1930s. His dad, Glenn, started selling


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cars in the 1940s. Beyond his fondness for the garage, Roger Burdick did not develop an early passion for the front end of the automobile business. But the idea grew on him. With money from the pants store, he was able fix up a few used cars and resell them in front of his shop. In 1980, Burdick tore down the slacks shack building to make room for his first dealership. He and his wife, Shirley, lived in a mobile home at the time. Forty years later, Burdick is g r a d u a l l y h a n d i n g o v e r m o re responsibilities to his son, Bryan, as he takes more time off to hunt, travel and entertain his grandchildren. He envisions retiring within three years. “I’m not anxious to retire, but I know I can’t stop time,” he said. Still, the automobile giant and devout evangelical Christian remains ambitious yet humble, noting that, “you cannot out-give God.” He plans to continue his philanthropy and help fulfill the needs of the Syracuse community through his continued

work with the Burdick Foundation and other initiatives. Outside of school and church, Roger, a 1966 graduate of North Syracuse High School, spent his time building and flying model airplanes. He moved on to go-karts and then automobiles. His first car was a rebuilt 1956 Chevy. “I was everybody’s friend in high school,” Burdick said, “because I could fix their cars.” In the late 1970s, Honda, Toyota and Datsun were still considered upstarts. Burdick said Mazdas were considered “pocket rockets” compared to the economy types of their fellow Japanese rivals. When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency publicized that Mazdas got only 13 miles to the gallon, sales took a nosedive, prompting the Romano dealership to dump its Syracuse Mazda franchise. Burdick, eager to take chances, welcomed the brand to his North Syracuse lot and opened his first new

Roger Burdick at his office at Driver’s Village in Cicero on July 6. Photo by Chuck Wainwright. October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


Driver’s Village in Cicero: 16 dealerships selling on average about 500 vehicles a month. Photo courtesy of Driver’s Village car dealership. “What looked bleak turned out very strong,” he said. “I guessed I’m wired that way. I’m not necessarily proud to call myself a risk-taker, but I can say that at least these were careful decisions and calculated risks.” Mazda introduced the GLC, a compact automobile with a fourcylinder engine that could compete with Honda and Toyotas in price, efficiency and performance. Sales at Burdick Mazda were very strong and led to continued expansion despite the erosion of U.S. automobile sales. In 2001, Burdick bought the Penn Can Mall and converted the property into a massive indoor mega auto center. “I bought it very inexpensively,” he recalled. “I knew that by consolidating, it would save money over time. It was a stronger marketing equation and a different experience for consumers.”

Family ties Burdick’s brothers David and 28

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Jonathan played major roles in the growing enterprise and have owned and run dealerships on the 92-acre property, along with Roger’s nephew Kevin Burdick and niece Kelly Burdick Pelcher. Today, the Driver’s Village Auto Mall is the only business of its kind in New York state. The mega center has dealerships for Audi, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Mazda, Porsche, Lincoln, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Dodge/Ram, Chrysler, Jeep, GMC, Buick, Chevrolet, Kia and Fiat. It’s unique in that the salespersons are authorized to work with customers at any and all of the dealerships in that building. “They can follow you from brand to brand if you want them to,” Burdick said. The BMW, Toyota, Scion and Lexus are located in a smaller building behind the mall, and there is also a Burdick Ford dealership up the road in Central Square. These are owned by the family of Roger’s brother, David. Burdick said his sales people and product specialists do not work on

commission. Rather, they are paid a weekly salary and are evaluated each quarter for bonuses. He calls this system a needs-based organization where the customers are comfortable and don’t feel pressured. He believes this will eventually became the standard way of compensating auto salespeople, as opposed to the commission-based approach. “We’ve always been that way,” Burdick said. “People need to know that they are going to have a pay check every week. This takes anxiety out of their lives.” The most staggering changes in the automobile industry in the past half-century has been the improved technology and efficiency. Burdick says today’s vehicles, no matter what brand, are too sophisticated for him to tinker with. “It electronic diagnostics for all of them,” he said, adding that he personally test-drives every make and model that his dealer will sell. “I can’t fix the cars that I drive today. In the old days, it was just a carburetor, the

Roger Burdick and his leadership team during the grand opening of the renovated Reconditioning Center. Photo provided.

Burdick accepting the award for “Best Places to Work.” Photo provided. distributor and coils. So much content has been added to the vehicles. That justified the price increase.” The nature of the business has changed as well, Burdick explained. These days, manufacturers have strict requirements for the dealerships’ showrooms and facilities, and there are more training requirements for salespeople. Profit margins, meanwhile, have shrunk dramatically. Only the dealers with a very strong base of repeat customers survive. Burdick dealerships service about 500 vehicles per day and sell an average of 500 vehicles per month. Returning customers who shop at the auto mall for their third or fourth cars are what helped the enterprise to grow, but it’s the reputable service business that helped Burdick stay afloat during the leaner times, such as the Great Recession and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic. Burdick says the best part of his job is interacting with people – employees, customers and other business people. The worst part, he added, “is when

Roger Burdick Talks Cars Q.: What are you currently driving? A.: A Volkswagen Atlas. It’s got the extra seating for my grandkids, and plenty of room for my hunting gear. It’s been a great vehicle.

son and I restored a Pontiac GTO when he was in high school. They are a lot of fun, but the downside is they need constant TLC. If you don’t tinker with them all the time, they start having problems.

Q.: You drive every make and model that you sell. What is your favorite vehicle of all time? A.: That’s a hard question. My dad’s advice was, “Don’t fall in love with a car, because you’ve got to sell it! I can tell you that I’ve always been very impressed by the Corvette. General Motors has been able to provide an exotic car but not at an exotic price.”

Q.: In your opinion, what was the worst car ever made? A: The Yugo. They were built in Yugoslavia and sold a lot in Eastern Europe, and somehow some of them made it into the States. They were built with outdated technology, were unreliable and unsafe. It was based on a Russian model that was a very poor design.

Q.: Were you a fan of the American-made muscle cars in the 1960s and 1970s? A: A fan yes, but I couldn’t afford them at the time. Much later on, my

Q.: What have been your hottest sellers lately? A.: Trucks have taken off as the hottest item. These days, a pickup truck is like a luxury car with a box on the back. October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


people disappear.” “I find it very difficult to part ways, but sometimes we have to,” he said. “Even if we have to let someone go, I still worry about them.” Burdick said his enterprise still has room to acquire more franchises and brands, and he gets excited about the possibilities, but he cautions that he does not imagine he would ever take on something as extravagant as a Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bentley or Rolls Royce dealership. “I can’t envision selling those in Central New York,” he said.

Disciplined lifestyle To stay fit — mentally, physically and spiritually — Burdick starts out every morning with a cup of coffee, stretches and does 15 to 20 minutes of Bible study before he heads out the door. He also exercises at the YMCA. When he’s not working, Burdick enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors. He has a vacation home in the Thousand Islands and owns hunting land in Nelson, Madison County. He has also hunted in Montana, Texas, New Mexico and the Carolinas. He considers himself a traditional meat and potatoes guy, though since he got into hunting as an older adult, he has really taken a liking to eating some of the wild game he shoots, especially elk. Burdick and his wife live in Brewerton. They have two grown children, Bryan and Erin (Bartleman), and eight grandchildren. For missionary work, Burdick has made trips to Costa Rica, Senegal and the Dominican Republic, where he helped build churches and install water purification systems. He recalls one heart-breaking episode in the Dominican Republic when a group of young children carrying jars asked Burdick and his colleagues for the water in their coolers that they would have otherwise dumped out at the end of the day. “You help the ones you can, but you come back and wish that you could have helped so many more,” he said. “When we learned that the Dominican Republic had some of the worst water quality in the world, we decided that it was important to get these purification systems in as many villages as we could.” 30

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Roger Burdick hosting the annual National Day of Prayer service in Center Court of Driver’s Village. Photo provided In Central New York, Burdick’s body of philanthropic work includes helping refugees from Nepal and Bhutan and establishing a charitable foundation. Since 1986, the Burdick Foundation has distributed more than $100,000 annually to area nonprofit agencies. He has lent some of his indoor space to help civic community organizations like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Special Olympics, the Red Cross and several others hold fundraisers and public events. He is the founding member of New Hope Crisis Pregnancy center. He has donated cars for nonprofit driver’s education programs, Syracuse University’s Courtesy Car Program, and Students Against Drunk Driving. He established and previously headed the Auto Show Charity Preview, which has donated more than $4 million to Syracuse area charities. “We still have work to do,” he said. “The monetary aspect is certainly an important part, but the root issue is lack of faith.” Burdick has known his closest friend, Lou Bregou, for over 50 years

now. When they met, Bregou’s future father-in-law, Paul Bowker, and Burdick were building a stock car in a one-car garage. “I had a Corvette at the time,” Bregou said, “but I thought what they were building was more impressive. And Roger was the one that raced it.” Burdick hired Bregou to sell cars in 1983. Bregou stuck with the growing business, eventually getting promoted to operations director and working as Roger’s right-hand man. Bregou, 70, plans to retire later this year. They joke about how, at expos and manufacturers meetings, automobile industry big wigs who have not met Burdick before assume Bregou is the business owner because Roger is a little quieter and prefers to listen instead of talking. “When his business took off, he never changed. He’s one of the most humble persons I’ve known. He’s fair and honest, and he never brags,” Bregou said. “But don’t let him fool you: He’s still the guy who can fix anything.”

golden years By Harold Miller

Email: hmiller@mcsmms.com

A New Era of Global Competition


s we 55-plussers sit comfortably in our La-ZBoy chairs reading this magazine, the world around us is exploding with technology that will substantially change our lives within our lifetime. Virtually all this technology has been developed since the turn of the century and not all these developments are necessarily good news for our country. America is slipping in its position as the world’s largest economy and strongest military. Economists at World Bank have upgraded their forecast for China, the only major economy expected to grow this year. Despite a raging trade war and a softer economy, China’s corporate giants are getting bigger, richer and more competitive. China already leads in 5G broadband networks, building three times as many work towers as the U.S. on a per capita basis. We tend to think of broadband as a consumer technology and 5G as a faster way of downloading videos. On the other hand, China views 5G as an enabler of a fourth industrial revolution (the second industrial revolution was electricity and the third was computing). 5G is a game-changing computer technology enabling self-programming industrial robots, remote robotic surgery, autonomous vehicles (cars that drive themselves) and smartphones that do medical diagnostics and upload data to the cloud in real time. Beyond this are the 5G-powered deadly drones and other military equipment that can win battles with the push of a button. China has become the world’s leader in artificial intelligence (AI) – not because its computer scientists are smarter than Microsoft’s, but because they have a huge advantage in data (the fuel that powers the AI engine). Fortunately, America still leads the world in medical technology, which

will probably become the biggest growth industry of the 21st century and will require a vast database of digitalized patient medical histories and DNA. China will soon have realtime readings of the vital signs of hundreds of millions of its own people, and if China’s Huawei Corporation plans mature, hundreds of millions of people outside of China as well. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) celebrated its 93rd anniversary Aug. 1 with a speech by Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jingping. He called for transforming the PLA into a world-class military, one that can further the party’s agenda far beyond China’s shore. The PLA declared its intentions to complete military modernization by 2035 and become a world-class military force by 2049. We should all take a deep breath as Xi Jingping throws the gauntlet down and declares that we have entered a new era of global competition between our free and open international order (democracy) and an authoritarian system (communism) fostered by Beijing. Our Cold War with China has begun. Its actions have spurred the U.S. Department of Defense to respond. First and foremost, long-term competition with China demands that we have a force that can compete, deter and win across all domains, air, land, sea, space and cyberspace. To support this

effort the Pentagon is investing in both advanced conventional capabilities and game-changing technologies, such as hypersonic weapons 5G communications, integrated air and missile defense, and artificial intelligence (AI) Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell advised China’s ambassador that its Houston consulate must be closed and its military researchers in our country must be deported; this being a culmination of months of concern by our government of China’s intelligence-gathering operation aided by Chinese diplomats collecting scientific research from American universities. Meanwhile, Mark Esper, U.S. defense secretary, is globe-hopping among free and open Indo-Pacific nations who value freedom to stand together in order to counter the coercive actions of the Chinese communist’s aggressive attempts to undermine the sovereignty of these nations and our nation. America has always had to fight against those who covet the American Dream but do not want to invest the hard work necessary to achieve it. With all the political jargon we hear (particularly at election time) I have yet to hear that achieving the American Dream requires dedication, education and hard work. America only provides the opportunity! October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


55+ race Road to Better Race Relations Community leaders express thoughts on Black Lives Matter movement By Mary Beth Roach


hile the recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the country have centered on law enforcement reform, they have also served to refocus the nation’s attention on race relations. We recently talked with four community leaders — all people of color — who shared their viewpoints on the protests and on the best ways to move Central New York ahead in a positive direction.

Sharon Owens

‘I’ve been deputy mayor [in Syracuse] for 2-1/2 years; I’ve been black my entire life’ As deputy mayor for the city of Syracuse, Sharon Owens, who turned 57 in September, can offer a unique viewpoint. She is a black woman, she holds a highranking post in W a l s h ’ s administration, and she has spent most of her career working in nonprofit agencies and in the public service sector. “My perspective as deputy mayor is that I’ve been deputy mayor for 2-1/2 years; I’ve been black my entire life,” she said. As a person of color, a woman, a wife and the mother of a child with special needs, she can’t separate any of that from who she is as deputy mayor. “They very much influence, as they should, what I do and what I 32

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attempt to do in this position,” she said. After attending a rally at Forman Park in early June with Walsh, she was introduced to some of the individuals from Last Chance for Change. She joined with the marchers through the city, believing that this would give her an opportunity to walk with them and give them some clarity on some of the issues they were concerned about. At one point along the way, she was invited to talk to the crowd, “to give them some information, to make sure they had correct information, and give them information about the topics they were concerned about,” she said. “It was a good opportunity for me to get to know some of them and for them to know me at that moment. It was a moment to be able to connect at some level,” she added. A while later, she attended a rally held at City Hall, but in an observation mode. “It’s important for me not to inject myself. That’s the role that I feel is appropriate for me,” she said. City leaders are hearing the demands of various groups and having conversations with them in various

ways, she said. “The efforts that are under way now of police reform are efforts that the community needs to know from my perspective, from the mayor ’s perspective, and from the chief ’s [police chief Kenneth Buckner] perspective. We agree upon much more than we disagree on. The issue is how do we get there and how do we get to the same end road,” Owens said. The death of George Floyd in May has shone the light on the need for police reform, she noted, but reforms are needed across the board, particularly with educational and housing systems, key economic drivers in the community. “Really, it’s coming to a reckoning of who we are as a nation, the very big mistakes we made as a country, even in the tenets of the constitution that didn’t consider an individual like me. First of all, it didn’t even mention women and it didn’t mention people who were black as human beings. First thing, coming to grips with that and how that intrinsic foundational tenet of who we were as a country and how we were formed shape how we continue to grow as a nation,” she said.

H. Bernard Alex

George Kilpatrick

H. Bernard Alex, 58, estimated that he walked between 40 and 55 miles during the recent 40day peaceful protest in Syracuse. As bishopsenior pastor of the Victory T e m p l e Fellowship Church, he said his congregation was the first African-American faith community here to protest, and as they were marching from their church on East Willow Street to the Public Safety Building, some of the members of Last Chance for Change joined them. The group was formed following the death of George Floyd in an effort to end racism and police brutality, and they marched through the streets of the area for 40 days. He said if they could support his church, then he could support them. While he believes in the necessity of having law enforcement, he wants it be more reflective of the community. He was involved in creating the Syracuse Citizen Review Board in 1993, in which citizens assess complaints brought against members of the Syracuse Police Department. He also serves on the Town of Dewitt Police Commission, and is a member of the Columbus Circle Action Group, formed in late June by Mayor Ben Walsh to help the city revamp downtown Syracuse’s Columbus Circle into a year-round educational and learning site. The Christopher Columbus statue there is drawing controversy, since there are differing views on the explorer. “I am the most pro-police guy. I want policing to be done with equitable service and for it to be done correctly. I can’t imagine living in society where there is no system of civil order, but I do want police to reflect their community” while focusing on receiving diversity and sensitivity training,” he said. “The department must look like the community it serves,” he said. He said the groups involved in these recent protests have devised a plan that is doable and feasible, which is critical if it’s to succeed.

George Kilpatrick, the men’s outreach coordinator at Vera House and host of the radio program “Inspiration for the Nation,” has taken part in at least two of the local marches and attended the demonstration held at City Hall. This latter event was held in June, and local media estimated that it drew approximately 2,000 people. “We just want to be treated equitably by law enforcement,” Kilpatrick said. “That’s what this is all about, because it’s not working for all the citizens of the community.” The protests are about how black and brown individuals are treated differently in different instances, he said. “The world is saying enough is enough. That’s why you see the ‘Black Lives Matter’ that’s moving beyond black communities, where you have people from all parts of the community — white, black, brown, Asian, you name it — being all part of the movement to end systemic oppression and to make law enforcement accountable and equitable,” said the 61 year old. While the protests have demanded police reform, Kilpatrick said they also raise awareness to issues that people of color have always faced. “In the past, we would give lip service to these concerns. We would have diversity statements; we believe that all people deserve opportunity. And that might be true, but is that the actual practice? Now, this movement has brought forth more than just lip service and diversity statements, and ‘we believe’ statements that have no substance. Now companies and organizations are looking at ways to actually do the work, and this means confronting the issue of race and racism in this country.” In wrapping up his thoughts, Kilpatrick said, “We have a tremendous opportunity to remake our nation into the promise of what we want it to be.”

Calvin Corriders Calvin Corriders, 57, said while the protests are important, the protestors can’t do it all. It takes people from various walks of life to bring their expertise to work on the issues and change policies, such as improving educational systems, job opportunities, and housing. “We’re not going to be able to take a bite of the elephant in one sitting. It’s going to take a bite at a time,” he said. While he serves as the regional president for the Syracuse market for Pathfinder Bank, Corriders has also been involved in communityb a s e d organizations to affect change and has served on the board of education for the Syracuse City School District from 2000 to 2014. Currently, Corriders serves as the vice president of Blueprint 15, an initiative started last year that would re-imagine the area near East Adams Street near Route 81, once known as the 15th Ward. The plan would include renovating a large portion of the Syracuse Housing Authority’s properties, offering a mix of subsidized and market-rate housing, a neighborhood school and health and wellness components. He supports the idea of a community school, which would help to level the playing field for the youth, he said. He also put forth the idea that private sector companies pledge to have a certain percentage of their work be dedicated to people of color. “That would be a way in helping to improve the employment that affects minority communities, particularly black and brown. It would be a way to help start up minority-owned businesses that would be able to sustain themselves, and that would affect housing because now people would have the ability to have a living wage, but they’d be able to own a home,” he said.

October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


55+ adventure

Conquering the Finger Lakes Trail A 14-day hike through the Finger Lakes trails with our pets: Good weather, great views … and an injured knee By Eva Briggs, MD


Eva Briggs and her dogs, Boomer (center) and Reilly, during her hike through the Finger Lakes trails in June. Photo was taken at an area known as Little Rock City. 34

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’ve been working on completing the Appalachian Trail. Trail and hostel closures due to COVID-19 meant no AT hiking this year. Instead, my friend and I decided to spend June on a less strenuous backpacking trip along the Finger Lakes Trail. Before I departed, I decided to write about that adventure upon my return. The Finger Lakes main trail starts just over the state line in Pennsylvania in Allegany State Park. It runs east for 575 miles to the Catskill Forest Preserve. An additional six side trails, plus 29 spur and loop trails, bring the total distance to about 1,000 miles. The trail crosses a mixture of state and private lands with landowner permission. It’s maintained entirely by volunteers. My friend Nadine and I, her golden doodle Yankee, and my dogs Boomer and Reilly met the morning of June 1 to start our trek in Allegany State Park. Our cars were stuffed full with a month supply of backpacking food, our hiking gear, plus luxury items (folding chairs, large portable battery recharger, etc.) for use when camping near our cars. We planned to leap frog our cars every one to three days in order to minimize our pack weights. The weather was perfect: sunny, cool and breezy. Our first stretch was three days covering 21 miles, or map M01. The Finger Lakes Trail Conference sells maps, and we purchased the set of main trail maps, numbered M01-M34. Day 1 we saw exactly four people on the trail, the most we saw hiking on any one day. We spent the night in our tents at Willis Creek lean-to, mile 7.2. Right on schedule, we completed M01 in three days. The only rain was two brief thunderstorms during the second night and third morning. Despite a lot of lightning and thunder, there was not much rain or wind. The trail through M01 was well-marked. During the remainder of our trip, many of the trails were overgrown (trail maintenance was on hold due to COVID-19) or poorly marked. Luckily, I had purchased both the paper and digital trail maps. An app called Gaia GPS, plus my

compass, let me use my phone’s GPS to figure out the tricky spots.

Hiking strategy We also learned to check the Finger Lakes Trail Council website for the most upto-date information about trail closures and detours due to logging, landowner request, or other issues. We once were delayed 45 minutes when a logging truck was being loaded. We made the executive decision to skip over long or busy road walks. Our dogs didn’t care for them, and neither did we. After all, there was no way we’d finish the entire main trail in 30 days, so we stuck to the places we would enjoy. Alas, our hike lasted only 14 days because I injured my knee. I have arthritis of my knees, and dislocated my kneecap in such a way that it totally locked my knee. Ouch! Even after I got my kneecap into place, the pain and swelling, despite a day of total rest followed by low mileage days carrying just a daypack, were too much. The knee was going to be replaced July 20. The visual highlight of the trip was Little Rock City in Rock City State Forest in Salamanca. Giant chunks of conglomerate rock form the “buildings” and “roads.” These boulders are pieces of conglomerate rock that have broken off over thousands of years and been carried by slow soil creep. Here we saw many people bouldering, a form of rock climbing performed on small rock formations without ropes or harnesses. Most used big mats to prevent injuries from falls. Shortly after Rock City is Camp Seneca, site of a former Civilian Conservation Corps camp. There is a large picnic pavilion and surrounding grassy area. We spent the night there. Alas, there was a major party going on at the pavilion, with about 50 people without masks or social distancing. We kept our distance after returning some unsupervised barefoot, lost children we found on the trail about a mile before we reached the party. Their families had not even noticed them missing. We constantly had to shoo away additional unsupervised children. I told them that our dogs were tired and needed to take naps, and that worked. We ultimately traversed 94 miles, finishing in Portageville Map M06, just south of Letchworth State Park. Hopefully next year my knee will be better, we’ll have a COVID-19 vaccine, and Nadine and I can complete the Appalachian Trail.

The Finger Lakes main trail starts just over the state line in Pennsylvania in Allegany State Park. It runs east for 575 miles to the Catskill Forest Preserve.

Eva Brigg’s trail companion, Nadine, and her golden doodle Yankee. October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


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aging By Marilyn L. Pinsky


3 Well Known Volunteer Cooks and Their Best Recipes

any religious organizations have gatherings that revolve around food. Whether breaking bread together for a sense of community, holiday celebrations, bringing food to the sick or grieving, or well-known festivals that raise money for their mission, they are dependent on talented and skilled volunteer cooks to make it happen. In alphabetical order, readers will meet three dedicated people and learn a little bit about their involvement. But best of all, they provide us their winning recipes.

Though he could cater on a larger scale, he keeps it low-key to not get swamped. “I do donate my cooking services to Bethany Baptist Church, where I’ve belonged all my life.” What is the dish he is most known for? “It depends on who you talk to,: he said. “I love making cheesecakes of all varieties, but I also enjoy cooking savory dishes, like chicken marsala. I look back at my cooking in terms of years. I’ve had my cookie years, my candy years, my cake years where, as my family will tell you, I’ve made every variety imaginable within those groups.” “I also work on perfecting my entrees and feel it is essential to use the best ingredients you can afford; it makes a real difference in the outcome of the dish. I am very persnickety about presentation, whatever the dish.” Does he watch cooking shows? “I don’t. I find it frustrating, as I keep wanting to make changes to the recipes they’re cooking.” • Tip: when rolling out dough, first ice the granite, or whatever surface that you are using, to chill it, and then roll the dough out.

Gerald (Garry) Woods Bethany Baptist Church, Syracuse

Syracuse native Gerald (Garry) Woods returned home to care for his mom, a retired registered nurse. A gymnast and accomplished student in high school who had his choice of colleges, he was recruited into the General Motors Institute, known for its academic excellence. He then went on to have a 37-year career with GM. “Cooking has always been my passion,” said Woods. “Starting at the age of 7, I learned everything from my wonderful grandmother, who lived to be 102.5.” I always catered all our family events — weddings, graduations, retirements, and have loved doing it.”

Best recipe

Fruited, citrus infused take on the classic New York style cheesecake. The crust: 1 1/4 cups Graham cracker crumbs 1 1/4 cups vanilla wafer crumbs 1/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup melted butter Filling: 5 packages. (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened 1 1/2 cups sugar 5 large eggs plus 2 yolks, room temperature 3 tablespoons flour 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream Baked Topping: 2 cups sour cream 1/3 cup sugar 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Fruit Topping: Whatever fresh /or canned pie filling. To make crust: combine all ingredients for the crust. Mix well and using a 10-inch spring form pan, press crumb mixture into bottom and about an inch up the sides of pan. Bake in 350 F oven for 5 minutes. Cool completely. For the filling: beat cream cheese, sugar and flour until light and fluffy (about four minutes). Stop, scrape bowl. Continue beating cream cheese mixture on low speed. Now add zests and vanilla extract and beat about 30 seconds. Add eggs and egg yolks one at a time beating about 30 seconds each. Stop mixer and scrape down bowl. Add 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream and gently fold in with spatula. Pour batter into prepared crust, even out with spatula. Bake in a 450 F preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 250 F and bake for one hour. Cheesecake should be pale in color and just set in center. Remove from oven and raise oven temperature to 350 F. October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


Mix sour cream, sugar and vanilla extract thoroughly and spread evenly over still warm cheesecake. Return to 350 F oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and gently run a knife around the edge of pan, just to loosen baked topping. Cool on a wire rack completely. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. • Fruit Topping: remove ring from spring form pan. Garnish with fresh seasonal fruits and berries of your choice or canned cherry or any other flavor of pie filling. I love fresh sliced kiwi, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries along with a bit of a good cherry pie filling. Play around with the presentation to make it your own. Bon appetit!

Norma Feldman Beth Sholom Chevra Shas, Jamesville

the recipe for her congregation’s events and found a twist to make it even better. The recipe originally called for using a cinnamon and sugar mixture on the inside of the dough, but she found that if she sprinkled the mixture directly on the pastry board instead of rolling the dough out on flour, that not only could you use less flour, but it also kept the dough from sticking and gave the outside more color when baked.” Which does she enjoy more, cooking or baking? “I enjoy baking more. I have some unusual recipes for baked goods, and when I bring something baked, for example, to Everson docent meetings, I get good feedback. Regarding cooking, I like fairly simple recipes and though I don’t think of myself as a good cook, I have some tried-and-trues, like my red cabbage recipe. But overall, I enjoy baking more. • Tip: my mother ’s advice, “if there is an ingredient you don’t like in the recipe and you can’t substitute, then don’t make it.”

Mix until a ball begins to form in the food processor. Place in a bowl. Melt two teaspoons. butter and pour over dough mixture. Cover bowl with wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Final steps: Assembly: this is easier if you divide the sugar mixture into 3 individual paper cups or little bowls so each batch comes out evenly. Do the same with the pecans. Mix ¾ cup of sugar with one teaspoon of cinnamon. (Do not use pre-mixed brand). Melt the remaining 1 stick of butter. Stir up the egg white. Cut dough into 3 parts. Work with 1 part at a time. Keep other parts refrigerated until ready. Sprinkle working surface with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Roll dough into a pie shape at 12 inches in diameter. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle/press in pecans. Cut into 16 wedges. (A pizza cutter is useful.) Roll from the outside in, forming a crescent. Brush with egg white. Bake 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Makes 48. Can be frozen when cool. Reheat at 350 F for 5 minutes.

Tino Porrino Our Lady of Pompei, Syracuse

Norma Feldman is the past president of Beth Sholom Chevra Shas, a congregation known for its volunteer cooks, who for years have provided meals for both religious and celebratory events at the temple, as well as for families in mourning. She was the former assistant director for the Center for Court Innovation and prior to that, the director of development at the Syracuse University College of Law. Feldman is known for her rugelach (pronounced ROO-ga-la) recipe, which is a delicious pastry with many filling variations, let alone spellings. For those of us who still have notes of recipes passed down from our mothers, you’ll enjoy the story behind Feldman’s version of rugelach. “My mother’s neighbor in Florida gave my mother, Pearl, the recipe and she gave it to me and my sister. I still have the card she wrote it on, which I treasure. My sister Sybil started baking 38

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Rugelach recipe Ingredients: ½ lb. unsalted butter (two sticks) at room temperature plus 2 teaspoons. melted butter ¾ cup + 1 ½ Tablespoons. sugar ½ cup sour cream ½ teaspoons. white vinegar 1 egg (separated — reserve white to brush Rugelach) 1 package. dry yeast 1 ½ cups of flour 1 teaspoon cinnamon ¾ cup chopped pecans Heat oven to 375 F. Prepare baking sheets with parchment Dough preparation: this is best done in a food processor, if possible. Cream one stick of butter with 1 ½ tablespoons. of sugar. Mix vinegar into sour cream. Add it and egg yolk, yeast and flour to the food processor.

An accountant for Syracuse University, Tino Porrino learned how to cook a little from his grandmother and a little from his mother. Though I got his name from a friend who said he is a stalwart volunteer at Our Lady of Pompei’s famous spaghetti events, Porrino said, “it’s really a group effort,” and from the size of the crowds they get, it has to be. This recipe differs from the others in this article in that it yields 20 gallon batches of spaghetti sauce, which feeds several hundred people!

“My wife complains that I never cook one darn thing at home,” said Porrino. Being an accountant, I guess he can’t use the excuse of not being able to figure out how to cut down the recipe. How did he get involved in cooking? “I’ve been a lifelong parishioner at Our Lady of Pompei Church. Back in 1994 our oldest daughter started school there and I wanted to help out. My first year I just did cleanup. Then my dear friend, Joe Losurdo, took over running the kitchen and got me more involved. All the credit goes to him.” What is the dish you are known for? “Spaghetti and meatballs. Using meatball mix from a local supplier, a group of volunteers hand rolls 6,000 meatballs. Though we have added ingredients and changed it slightly, we have basically used the same sauce recipe since 1949.” “The secret to the sauce is to use lots of fresh ingredients, including the garlic powder, black pepper, dry and fresh basil. The meatballs get cooked in two stages — first the tomato products and herbs and then the meat is added.

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Spaghetti sauce — (recipe for 20 gallons) In a 20 gallon vat add: 8 no. 10 institutional cans of crushed tomatoes 4 no. 10 cans of tomato puree 2 no. 10 cans tomato paste 8 no. 10 cans of water 4 handfuls of dried basil 2 handfuls of garlic powder 1 handful of finely ground black pepper 1 cup of sugar Cook for an hour to bring to a boil. Take the sauce out of the vat and put into pots to cook on the stove. It will be about five 4-gallon pots. Then add around 6–7 leaves of fresh basil to each pot. Now add the meatballs, sausage and some chunks of pork butt for flavor and cook for another hour and it’s done. Porrino and I concluded our conversation by realizing we both still have and use “Nick Pirro for County Executive” pot holders, but don’t worry — they’re not essential for the success of the recipe.

5885 East Circle Drive, Cicero NY 13039


October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


55+ trails

Tasting room at Tug Hill Winery in Lowville. One of many places in Upstate to samples local wines.

Happy Trails Exploring New York’s food and beverage trails By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


hat pairs well with crisp fall air and beautiful foliage? A tasty meal and delicious beverage. The craft food and craft beverage industries are strong in Central New York, fostering the many food and beverage trails available to tourists both from home and far away. Each Finger Lake — plus lakes Ontario and Erie — boasts a wine trail. In addition, there are also the Finger Lakes Beer Trail, Rochester/ Finger Lakes Craft Beverage Trail, Cazenovia Beverage Trail, Central New York Food and Beverage Trail, Heart of New York Craft Beverage Trail (Utica), 1000 Islands Craft Beverage Trail, Cooperstown Beverage Trail, Adirondack Craft Beverage Trail, and more. Owing to the nature of the trails, many tour companies provide transportation for these trails so patrons can imbibe safely. N e w Yo r k i s a l s o h o m e t o numerous specialty foods on their own food trails, including the Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trail (Cayuga County), Finger Lakes Cheese Trail (Interlaken), and Finger Lakes Ice Cream Trail (Ithaca), among others. If you’re on a weekend trip


55 PLUS - October / November 2020

elsewhere in the state, follow the local food or beverage trail to see what’s available. You may find a new favorite you never expected. Or, you could plan your weekend trip around a trail so that you will have time to explore each stop. All self-guided tours — unless you’re a part of a transportationprovided tour where it’s a premade route — the various trails help visitors connect venues of similar interest and maybe discover a place they haven’t tried before. But if driving an entire tour in one day isn’t your style, it’s OK to do half a trail one day and do more another. Or skip a few places that don’t appeal to you. But if you’re ready for a day-long outing, following a guide can also help you get out and enjoy the good weather while we still have it. If you plan your own tour, look for other things to do in the area to enhance the trip and make a full day of exploration. Richard ONeil, owner of Travel Choice International in Syracuse, recommends both the Cayuga and Seneca wine trails. “Both of those have a lot of activities other than just wineries,” ONeil said. “Seneca Falls have a number of things you can do. Sauder’s

is a Mennonite market where you can buy a lot of interesting goods. Plus, there’s the Women’s Rights National Historical Park open Tuesday and Thursday, Women’s Hall of Fame and there are a lot of good restaurants.” The other Finger Lakes wine trails — Keuka Lake Wine Trail and the Canandaigua Wine Trail — are also just a short day trip away: Cayuga’s Sweet Treat Trail features 15 stops where tourists can buy and sample the local delicacies and farm goodies, like honey, jam, cookies, syrup, ice cream and more. The Seneca Lake Wine Trail, off Route 90, near Geneva, “is another wonderful area where there are lots of great wineries,” said Tracy Hogarth, owner of Blue Zaria, a travel business in Syracuse. “F.L.X. Table in Geneva is a fantastic restaurant, though you’ll need reservations. They have a nice waterfront where you can go for a walk along Seneca Lake.” USA Today named F.L.X. Table as the Best New Restaurant in spring 2017. The entire Seneca Lake trail includes more than 50 wineries, but several are clustered around the lake’s north end near Geneva. ONeil recommends perusing food and beverage trails Monday through Friday. “You’ll have less crowds,” he said. “If you have internet access, look them up before you go to see if they’re open. It’s going to be a different type of trip than what you’ve done before and no one will know what it will be 30 days from now.” Venues’ social media pages will likely display more up-to-date information than websites. Most of the stops along the trails offer more than a unique shop, but also tastings, samples, scenic vistas and more reasons to linger a little longer. It’s about more than just shopping, so slow down and savor the journey. For a complete map of New York’s food and beverage trails, visit https://taste.ny.gov/system/ files/documents/2019/06/ TasteNYTrail%20Map6.19.pdf. Check each site’s COVID-19 guidelines before making plans.

55+ foliage

Taughannock Falls in Tompkins County. The falls carve a 400-foot deep gorge through layers of sandstone, shale and limestone that were once the bed of an ancient sea.

Leaf Peeping Trips to Enjoy By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


f you’ve been looking forward to a leaf peeping trip this fall, you still have options, despite the coronavirus pandemic. Amy Jarvis, president of The Travel Store in Fayetteville, said that some domestic foliage tours still operate in the Northeast, where the foliage and historical points of interest can make a long weekend getaway particularly inviting. “Some of them go to Block Island, Rhode Island, so you can get some coastal and leafing,” she said. “It depends upon what you’re interested in. Vermont is always beautiful, but it depends if you want to do your own travel. “The Essex hotel has a beautiful golf course,” Jarvis said. “It’s not that far, maybe 3.5 hours.”

The Essex is in Essex Junction, Vermont. “Or you can go to Bolton’s Landing, which is lovely, just outside of Lake George,” Jarvis said. “It’s the island the Sagamore is on.” In Western New York, slow your pace on the Amish Trail, between Cattaraugus and Cherry Creek on Route 353. Look for shops selling handmade goods, quilts and home furnishings to pick up a memento of your trip. The route also boasts many buffets. If a day trip is more your style, New York has plenty of terrific leaf peeping drives. Tracy Hogarth, owner of Blue Zaria, a travel business in Syracuse, said that Route 20 through Cazenovia is a very scenic route. “Cazenovia is a

great little town and it’s a delightful spot in the fall. You could make it a day.” If you’re heading east, she recommends a small shop called 20East, which features local artists, baked goods, produce and farmstead products. “The Toast is a nice place to stop for breakfast and lunch in Cazenovia,” Hogarth said. A bakery and lunch and breakfast spot, The Toast was previously in Canastota. To enjoy the day in the region, she also recommends Lorenzo State Historic Park and Stone Quarry Hill Art Park. Known for its “gorges” scenery, the Ithaca area provides many picturesque spots to view leaves, like Taughannock Falls State Park, Allan H. Treman State Park, Buttermilk Falls State Park, and Robert H. Treman State Park. “There’s a fantastic Thai restaurant on Ithaca Commons, Taste of Thai,” Hogarth added. She also recommends driving north on Route 81 going into the Thousand Islands to view foliage. “The leaves are always gorgeous,” Hogarth said. Richard ONeil, owner of Travel Choice in Syracuse, recommends the Adirondacks for foliage tours. “Check in advance to see where the foliage is,” he advised. “Is it 20% or 50% turned? That can vary based on the weather and elevation.” Drive any part of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway to view beautiful autumn leaves. The 518mile trail stretches the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, the Niagara River, and Lake Erie, with Alexandria Bay at the northernmost portion, all the way to the New York/Pennsylvania border. As you take your leaf peeping trip, patronize a unique market, restaurant or shop along the way. These little stops make a trip more memorable, along with supporting a family-owned business that’s likely been hit hard by the pandemic. As you make travel plans check with the venue to ensure you can comply with any COVID-19 restrictions and that the leaves will be at peak when you travel. October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


life after 55 By Michele Reed bazanreed@hotmail.com


The French Love Affair … with Dogs!

e chien — the dog. There’s nothing the French like better — except for the baguette and wine, of course. Dogs accompany their owners everywhere, including restaurants and cafes. In the U.S. you might expect a restaurateur to quickly escort a dog owner out the door, if nothing else for the health code violations a canine diner would mean. In France, they are welcomed as a part of the family. Dogs, for their part, lie quietly beside the table or under it, hoping for a bit of croissant or maybe a pomme frite (French fry). And that’s a good thing for us, now, too. With worldwide travel upended by the pandemic, we’re not going anywhere soon, especially given Europe’s ban (at this writing) on American visitors. So we decided to take this opportunity to welcome a new traveling companion into our adventures. Meet Benoit Bonhomme, French for Benny Goodman, or Benny, as he is known to his friends. His name also echoes the quality of bonhomie, an easy-going, friendly nature, that typifies his breed. Benny is a Lakeland Terrier and his weight should top out at about 17 pounds, within airline guidelines. This brave, tenacious little breed is perfect for adventure. As soon as we can travel again to our home in France, Benny, whose name also means “blessing,” in French, will be part of the entourage. On our frequent train trips in Europe, we see that dogs are welcome travelers. There are the little pocket dogs, who ride in their ladies’ purses and the bigger dogs, who hang out in the larger spaces at the end of cars. On our way to Spain one time, a young man entered the train and immediatelyspread a soft blanket between the cars for his two German Shepherd dogs. He wore outdoor gear and boots, and carried a pack with


Photos by Bill Reed

55 PLUS - October / November 2020

Our new little addition, Benny, the Lakeland Terrier, is ready for adventure. what looked like walking sticks, so since we were close to the Pyrenees, we assumed he was a hiker. He plopped down onto the blankets with his dogs and gave them constant attention — petting them, kissing noses, wiping eyes, inspecting ears and cleaning the pads of their feet. It was only when he went to get off the train, that Bill, my husband, noticed that his pack was not holding walking sticks but shovels. He was a truffle hunter and these dogs were probably his prize truffle-finders, given that the town where he boarded the train was named after a mushroom. In our own town of Beziérs, we see the dogs riding buses, visiting stores and enjoying leisurely afternoons at the café. We frequent an arts supply store,

where the owner’s golden retriever, Nala, accompanies him to work daily. One day, not seeing here in her usual post, I asked where she was, and he told me, “Le chien est en vacance. (The dog is on vacation.)” She was probably off at the beach with the rest of the family. Every day, he promptly closes the shop at 12:30 p.m. and heads to our favorite café, whereNala is welcomed inside, accepting the pats of her many admirers — and a pomme frite or two – while her boss enjoys the plat du jour. Then they head back to the art store. It is true that dogs and baguettes are omnipresent. We saw evidence of it one day. A stray dog started bothering a child riding his bike. The father, wanting to protect his child but

Wealthy landowners commissioned statues of their pets to guard their grand homes. I found his example in a Beziérs museum. (File photo, 2015) having nothing to use as a deterrent, brandished the baguette out of his shopping bag and the dog ran away. No mention of the French love affair with pooches would be complete without at least one negative. In many places, people do not pooper-scoop their dog’s leavings. So a walker must be constantly vigilant to avoid stepping in a mess. The mayor of Beziers was so upset by the continuing problem, he put into effect a regulation where owners must have their dogs’ DNA registered with the city or face a fine. Then, when unscooped emissions du chien are found, they can be traced back to the lazy owner, who faces an even stiffer fine. We’ve been doing our research and learned that dogs are welcome to travel throughout Europe and you can get a “pet passport” for them to cross borders. At this writing all that is required is a vet statement of up-todate vaccinations and a Euro-friendly microchip. We are hoping that the world gets back to normal soon, and Monsieur Benoit Bonhomme, aka Benny, will be at our side as we return to our French village once again.

Ancient French sites are visited by people and dogs, as this pup enjoys a game of fetch at a hilltop chateau in Nice. (File photo, 2016)

At one restaurant in Collioure, the owner’s dog, Stitch, begged for my baguette. Spoiler alert: He got it! (File photo, 2014) October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


druger’s zoo

By Marvin Druger Email: mdruger@syr.edu

How to Find a New Companion


f you read my articles in 55 PLUS, you probably know that my dear wife, Pat, died in 2014, after a relationship of 60 years. The loss was more than devastating. We loved, laughed, worked, traveled and parented together and had a warm, wonderful relationship. We had agreed that, if one of us died, the survivor should go on living life to the fullest. I never thought she would actually die, but she did. I was at a loss as to what to do with my life. My granddaughter enrolled me in an online dating service, and I ended up dating seven women at the same time. All of them were nice, but lonely and seeking companionship. Eventually, I did accidentally meet a woman who seemed compatible with me. I met her in Wegmans supermarket in Dewitt. She was standing in front of me at the check-out, buying stuff that I would never eat. I started a brief conversation with her. Victoria turned out to be an attractive, warm, intelligent, talented audiologist with a good sense of humor who laughed at my jokes. We have shared life’s adventures for more than five years now. She is much younger than me, but she likes older men and who knows what will happen tomorrow. Usually, I would tell the story of how we met in the hope that it would stimulate others to relive their own romantic rendezvous. However, Victoria beat me to the punch. Below is her account of our meeting.

if my life would ever include even one more man. I was at Wegmans and intended to experiment with life; maybe try some new foods. So, I put lamb chops in my cart, sushi, mango, pomegranates and other items. At check-out, I placed the items on the belt and saw there a smorgasbord of new experiences. “But I have no idea

of how to cook lamb chops,” I thought. Apparently, the customer behind me had taken note of the jumble, because he commented as much. I agreed, taking note that he had a bag of lettuce and bottle of ketchup — not very appetizing and unrelated. Then he spread his arms wide. With his disproportionate features —

Victoria’s Version I was well into my second year of my fast from men. There had been one too many attempts at men gone foul and I was taking time to regroup, reframe, restore, wondering 44

55 PLUS - October / November 2020

Victoria in Venice, during one of trips abroad with writer Marvin Druger.

prominent eyebrows, small blue eyes, long chin and large nose, smile as wide as his outstretched arms, he resembled a bird. “I’m famous!” he exclaimed. “Well, that’s nice, but it was rather unusual to advertise oneself to a complete stranger,” I thought. He continued, “My wife died last year. I’m alone.” Then, he handed me his card, which was not paper, but a magnifier with a caricature of himself on it. I replied, “I am sorry for your loss.” Then, I reached into my wallet and pulled out one of my cards and gave it to him, saying, “I’m alone too.” “Why the heck did I do that?” I wondered, and went about my business. A few days later I received an email from the bird man: “Perhaps your life is complicated, but if it’s not, I would like to take you to lunch.” I did not respond, but took the matter under advisement. Later that week, at my ceramics class, I put the whole interaction out for discussion. “This complete stranger came up to me at Wegmans, gave me his card, and said, ‘I’m famous.’ He wants to take me to lunch. What do you think?” “Who is he?” “His name is Marvin Druger, He’s a professor emeritus from SU, quite a bit older.” “He is famous.” said Dianna. “He has a radio program and he has a nice voice.” A quiet, gentle, former colleague of Marvin’s who was molding his clay, added, “He will not be at a loss for talking.” Donna chimed in: “If he’s older and lost his wife, he’s hunting for a strong female and is thumping his chest to attract you.” I widened my inquiry to some friends of my sisters, a member of the S.U. biology department and his wife. “Oh, he is a legend in his own mind, but he’s a nice guy and he was very good to his wife… and he has a lake house.” I continued to mull over whether or not to break my fast from men by going to lunch with the famous professor, “Why not?” Jane said. “He might be interesting and turn out to be a good friend.” Well, OK. So, I sent a reply to his email. “My life is not complicated, and I have done a bit of research, finding out that you are, indeed, famous, and I would like to go to lunch with you.” We set a date for lunch at Phoebes, a popular spot on East Genesee Street, across from Syracuse Stage. Before the

‘A few days later I received an email from [Marvin Druger], “Perhaps your life is complicated, but if it’s not, I would like to take you to lunch.” I did not respond, but took the matter under advisement. Later that week, at my ceramics class, I put the whole interaction out for discussion.’ date, I prepared and again took up the discussion with my ceramics class as to what to wear, eat and talk about. “Don’t talk about other men,” Karen said, “Men don’t like that.” “Don’t eat salad,” Donna added. “It might get stuck in your teeth. Order quiche, and don’t have dessert — you don’t want him to spend too much money on the first date.” “Let me show you something,” Karen interjected, “At the end of the date, if you know that he’s just not the one, hold out your hand to shake his and say, ‘I’m sorry, but this just isn’t going to work out.” We practiced the handshake. On the day of the date, I was running late, as usual, and I pulled into the nearly full parking lot. I saw him, pulling in ahead of me, a little late himself. He parked his car crookedly in front of the attendant’s shed and got his OK to park free, owing to his elevated emeritus status. I had to park in the nearby garage, which made me even later. Hurriedly, I walked into Phoebe’s and spotted Marvin at a table for two facing away from me. Funny, for a man of such intelligence, he has a rather small head, and I sat down across from him explaining, “I would never stand you up Marvin.” I said. Taking the menu, I thought, “Don’t get a salad. Get the quiche or soup.” The waiter came and began his speech, “We are out of quiche.” Crap. I hardly recall what we talked about, but my sense was that this was a very compelling, intelligent man. I picked at my openfaced sandwich, carefully avoiding all lettuce. Looking at him from across the table, I noted that he tends to hold his head down at an angle, so that one can barely see his small blue eyes below his thick eyebrows. He barely looked me in the eye. But he sparkled, was

quite funny, intelligent and, yes, he was quite taken with his achievements, having taught 50,000 students, won many prestigious awards, authored several books of poetry and articles. He was interested in my past — the divorces, but I didn’t really want to go into it. By the end of our first date, I’d say the ratio of on-air talk time Marvin to Victoria talk was 80 to 20. A few weeks later, we had another lunch date at Phoebe’s. This time, he picked me up at my house to drive me there. The 80-to-20 Marvin-to-Victoria talk ratio continued, but I enjoyed his company. After lunch, he got into his car, waved goodbye and drove out of the parking lot, leaving me standing alone. Where was he going? In a few minutes, he returned to the lot. He had forgotten that he drove me to Phoebe’s in his car. I thought, “What am I getting myself into with this guy?”

Marvin’s Response and Advice I hope that you enjoyed reading Victoria’s version of this encounter and that it might help you inquire about the perspective of your own spouse or significant other. I heard that if you want to meet someone new, just go to Wegmans on Thursday night and wheel around an empty cart. That means you are available. A friend of mine told me that he did this and nothing happened. I told him, “It depends on how you wheel the cart, and you have to be lucky.” I was lucky. So, good luck to all of you who seek a new companion. October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


legal By Jan Lane

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way to Make a Difference


hen the filmed version of “Hamilton” debuted on Disney Plus recently, it reignited interest in the widely acclaimed Broadway play about America’s “ten-dollar founding father.” Along with its resurgence in the public consciousness came a fresh set of questions about the work’s portrayal of American history and Hamilton’s legacy. It is this idea of legacy — and more specifically who defines it — that closes out the show with the finale performance of “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?” It calls back to lyrics from an earlier song during which George Washington tells Hamilton, “You can’t control who lives, who dies, who tells your story.” These themes of control and legacy are not confined to the broader context of American history, but also apply on a personal basis to each and every one of us. On an individual level, there are plenty of things that seem beyond our control, especially as we navigate life in a time of viral and systemic pandemics. However, there are tangible steps we can all take to protect our loved ones, provide for the future and preserve our legacies. It is commonplace for many of us to avoid estate planning for a whole host of reasons, including avoidance

Jan Lane is development officer at the Central New York Community Foundation. In her role, she supports charitable planning for individuals, families and companies and facilitates for the foundation’s legacy planning program. To learn more about options for preserving your charitable legacy, contact her at jlane@cnycf.org or visit 5forCNY.org. 46

55 PLUS - October / November 2020

or procrastination, the belief that it is strictly for older adults or those with lots of money or property, or simply because we don’t know where to start. We can start by writing a will. It is never too early to start thinking about estate and legacy planning. While it is just one of several legal documents you might consider, a will is the centerpiece of any estate plan. Anyone who has personal property should have a will. There are many online resources for writing a will and estate planning attorneys are increasingly offering remote will drafting services that make the process quicker and more convenient. By making a will, you can:

Say who will oversee the execution of your estate plan. It is important to appoint an execut(or/rix) — and ideally a back-up — whom you trust to carry out your wishes. Communicating your decision before you finalize any documents will help you to gauge whether an individual is prepared to take on such a role.

or blood relatives can automatically inherit if there is no will. Through your will, you can provide an inheritance not only to immediate family but to stepchildren and other dependents, your partner if unmarried and “chosen” family and friends. Articulating your final wishes through your will can also spare your loved ones from having to fill in the blanks during a time of grieving when you are gone.

• Support your favorite charities. You can use your will to direct bequest gifts to your favorite charitable causes. You have the option to specify a fixed amount, percentage or asset to transfer to charity upon your death. It is also common to name charities as residuary beneficiaries (to receive remaining assets after all others are divided up among primary beneficiaries) or contingent beneficiaries. Giving through your will is also a simple and straightforward way to define your charitable legacy and make a lasting difference for future generations.

• Support your community.

• Name guardians for your children A growing number of community — and pets. members are recognizing the For children or dependents under 18, you can appoint legal guardians. You can also use your will to have a say in who will look after your furry friends if they outlive you.

• Provide for your loved ones. Making a will allows you to define how your assets will be distributed — and to whom — upon your death. It is especially important to consider that the law states that only spouses

importance of keeping their charitable dollars in Central New York as wealth transfer projections predict unprecedented levels of wealth passing from one generation to the next, much of it leaving the community to heirs living out of town. A study commissioned by the Central New York Community Foundation estimated that if a 5% portion of those assets transferring between generations were donated to endowment funds, more than $55 million in grants would be available annually to support our

region’s nonprofit organizations. This kind of boost could provide a permanent source of funding for local organizations and causes that will greatly improve the lives of our friends and neighbors. Estate planning is essential for a very specific reason: without it, decisions about your medical care, property and final arrangements will be made without your input. The same is true of legacy planning. If “estate” is used to describe all of our tangible possessions, then “legacy” describes all the intangibles we can choose to pass down or pay forward. Everyone leaves a legacy and, in truth, our legacies are defined by how we live. What we do today will impact how we are remembered in the future. We may not be able to control who lives or dies, but we can control who tells our story. We can tell our own story and even help write the epilogue — by passing down our values to children and grandchildren, by sharing our personal and family histories and life lessons, and by leaving meaningful and lasting gifts to loved ones, community and charity.

Bennett Manor Apartments

Stoneleigh Apartments 400 Lamb Ave, Canastota • 697-2847

Senior Housing (Elderly and/or Disabled)

Where your neighbors are like family!

In Residential Section. E. Irving and Dausman Sts East Syracuse

Inviting one bedroom apartments close to essential services and stores, as well as emergency and health services for Seniors (over 62) or receiving SS with a permanent mobility impairment within income guidelines

Rent Based on Income Many Outstanding Features

• On Bus Line • All One Bedroom Units • 24 Hour Maintenance • Secure Building • Wall to Wall Carpeting • One Pet Welcome • Total Electric w/ Individual Controls


100 Bennett Manor Drive, E. Syracuse Mon-Fri 7:30–3:30




Apply Rental Office

The Rome Rescue Mission has provided over 30,000 meals to more than 400 families during the pandemic and you can help! Just $10 provides a weekly food box for a family in need. Donate today! Romemission.org facebook.com/RomeRescueMission or mail to: to P.O. Box 133 Rome, NY 13440 Donations are tax deductable.


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October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


55+ visits

Warren County The Gateway to the Adirondacks By Sandra Scott


iscover the birthplace of the American vacation! The destination that started it all, the Adirondack Mountains, was first made famous in James Fenimore Cooper’s “Leatherstocking Tales.” Warren County is the gateway to this wonderland. The area still draws visitors year round to enjoy nature, adventure and to relax.


History: Warren County was on the New York-Montreal military route that was used during the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. At the southern end of Lake George the reconstructed Fort William Henry was significant during the French and Indian Wars. The siege of Fort William Henry by the French under Montcalm is accurately portrayed in the book and the movie, “The Last of the Mohicans,” including the participation by the Iroquois nation. It was successfully attacked by General Montcalm. The fort was destroyed. Nearby is “Bloody Pond” where hundreds of dead French and Indian soldiers were dumped during the Battle of Lake George. In Lake George, the historical society has displays on local history. The Warrensburg Museum has exhibits for all ages, chronicling the town’s history from prehistoric times to the present. In Glens Falls pick up a self-guided walking tour of the historic parts of the village. Chestertown and Bolton Landing also have historical museums. C o o p e r ’s C a v e : Under t h e b r i d g e t h a t c ro s s e s the Hudson River in the village of



55 PLUS - October / November 2020

Glens Falls there is a cave that gave inspiration to James Fenimore Cooper when he was writing about the French and Indian War in his book “The Last of the Mohicans.” Cooper’s Cave is where Col. Duncan Heyward safely secreted two sisters from the enemy while on their way to their father, Lieutenant-Colonel George Munro, who was a commander at Fort William Henry in Lake George. There is a handicapped-accessible view platform with several story boards. Wa t e r f u n : T h e w a t e r activities are everywhere, including swimming on the Million Dollar Beach, but the must-do is a boat ride on the lake. Don’t have your own boat — no worry. The Lake George Steamboat Company has been steaming about the lake since 1817. They offer one- and two-hour cruises. The Minne-Ha-Ha is one of the last steam paddle wheel ships in America. You can rent a boat or go slow water tubing. The lakes abound in fish. Foodies: Every region has a foodie favorite. In Warren County it is what the locals call “dirty John’s hot dogs” at New Way lunch.



It has been around since 1919. The “World Famous” hot dog is a custommade pork and beef hot dog served on a steamed bun with mustard, onion, and New Way’s homemade meat sauce. Being a year-round resort there are plenty of good restaurants in all price categories but there are also some locally made food products such as goat cheese, maple syrup, wine, and olive oil. In the unique category check out the floating 12-passenger Tiki Bar. Art: The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls may be small but its collection is exceptional, including European and American art that compares favorably to major metropolitan museums. The collection includes European works by Botticelli, Rembrandt, Rubens, Degas along with American artists Winslow Homer and James McNeill Whistler. The museum also features national and international exhibitions along with an historical house. Check out the historic mural at the Warrensburg Historical Society. Thrilling: Thrill seekers will marvel at the views from their parasailing adventure. Scenic flights of the area are available from Floyd



Bennett Memorial Airport in Glens Falls. Hold your breath or let out a scream on Six Flags Great Escape and Hurricane Harbor’s roller coasters and water slides. If you have never been white water rafting don’t wait — it is exhilarating. Consider the unique adventure from the Revolution Rail Co, and head through the mountains on a pedal-powered railbik. Farms and Ranches: Nettle Meadow is a sanctuary farm and cheese company caring for goats and creating unique blends of cheeses. Nearby there are several maple sugar farms to visit. The Wild West is alive and well in Warren County. There are several dude ranches with a western ambiance where one can go trail riding. There are even exciting rodeos. Nature: Nature is everywhere. For a panoramic view take the trail or drive to the top of Prospect Mountain. The area abounds in nature trails perfect for hiking, trail biking or cross-country skiing. Up Yonda Farm offers 73 acres with a spectacular view overlooking Lake George. Public nature programs on a variety of topics are presented year round. There are natural history exhibits featuring a diorama with native mammals and birds are housed in the museum. Unique: The Mystery Spot defies the laws of acoustics. Face the lake and shout or sing and your echo will come back to you. Only you will hear it and only on this precise spot. There hasn’t been any definitive answer as to why it happens so the Native American legend may be the most interesting answer. They say an ancient god appeared on this spot and shared his wisdom. There is no sign for the Mystery Spot but it is easy to find. It is behind the Lake George Visitor Center. Look for a cement place with a swath of blue paint with two intersecting metal lines and stand where they meet and sing. Events: For every season there is a reason for an event. Start the year with the winter carnivals, welcome spring with activities with a focus on maple syrup, summer brings music festivals, and fall is time for Oktoberfests. The most colorful event is the Adirondack Balloon Festival featuring over 100 hot air balloons. The event has been canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus.



Historic mural at the Warrensburg Historical Society in Warrensburg.


The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls may be small but its collection is exceptional, including European and American art that compares favorably to major metropolitan museums.


Million Dollar Beach is a great place to swim in Lake George.

Steam paddle wheel ship,The Minne-Ha-Ha. October / November 2020 - 55 PLUS


last page Bea González, 65 By Mary Beth Roach


ethaida (Bea) González retired earlier this summer from Syracuse University after a 36-year career that saw her rise through the ranks at University College to become dean, before being appointed SU’s vice president of community engagement. She came to Syracuse from Puerto Rico at age 3, and she has been active in her adopted hometown for decades, having served on the Syracuse City School Board, Common Council and numerous other boards. Q: Now that you’ve retired, do you have a bucket list? A: I do have a bucket list. list?

Q: And what might be on that bucket

A: My husband, Michael Leonard, and I planned to travel, see as much of the country as we could from the waterways. With COVID-19, we can’t get out of here. I want to continue learning how to be a boater. I want to write a book about Latinos in Onondaga County. I’m really excited about my board work at the Community Foundation. I stayed on four boards — Syracuse Stage, Blueprint 15, Community Foundation and the Onondaga Historical Association. Those are my local boards. I’m also on the State of New York Mortgage Authority. Q: You spent much of your career at Syracuse University, at University College (UC], eventually becoming the dean. What do you consider your greatest accomplishments at University College? A: That is so hard to answer. There are so many great accomplishments. Mostly it was the success I had helping students to achieve their own goals, their educational goals. We did some amazing programming work at University College. UC and the School of Education were part of really building the on-campus program for students with intellectual disabilities, which has now turned into a major 50

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program at the university. We were instrumental in making sure that the higher education opportunity program [HEOP] for part-time students was not defunded by the state of New York, and I have the distinction of having the only surviving part-time HEOP program in the state system. I made it all the way to president of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association [UPCEA], which represents the top research universities in the country that do continuing ed and online study, and just this summer, they named a diversity scholarship for me as part of their professional association. [She served as president of the UPCEA from 2014-15, and the award is called the Bethaida “Bea” González Diversity in Leadership Scholars program.] Q: You became SU’s vice president of community engagement in 2017. What did that mean to you in terms of your career? A: I thought that it was the perfect way for me to end my career because I already knew I was going to retire. It brought together all of my experience — my government experience, my community experience, my university experience. It brought all of that together in a way that allowed me to really champion the “building local” strategy that I think is another one of my legacies. Syracuse University makes a commitment to buy local, hire local and to use local companies to build. We really made a commitment to inclusion and diversity at all of its levels at the university. We had our first procurement fair last year, as well, to really introduce small and local-owned business to the SU buyers to get SU folks to spend more of their dollars purchasing from our local economy because we wanted to leverage as much of our buying power as we could to support the local economy. Q: What are you going to miss most about the university? A: Oh, gosh, the people. Some of the students — the students are still

reaching out, and they want me to take on a role as their madrina, which means godmother. Q: You’re the first Latina elected to the Syracuse Common Council in 2001. What did it mean for the Latino community in Syracuse to have you on the Common Council? A: It meant they had somebody they could call, that they knew would understand them, whether it was to understand them because we had a similar cultural background, or understand them because I spoke the language. It opened up city hall and city government to a group of people who didn’t feel they were welcome there. Q: You’ve been so involved in the community. Why has that always been so important to you? A: Lots of reasons. I have to take responsibility for ensuring that my community is the best community possible. I learned that from my parents. If there’s an opportunity for me, through my volunteer work, through my experience, etc., to really move our community forward, then I want to be able to do that. As a woman, as a woman of color, it’s really important for me that people see me as a positive role model, as an asset.



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