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ROWAN

Jan McCanless

janmccanless@aol.com

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s an adult and parent, I tried to emulate these celebrations and for the most part, succeeded. Not as many participants as in years gone by, mainly because the cousins have all scattered and now, they too spend time with their families. Now, as grandparents, we go to them and nothing

By Zach Hively

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hen my mother died at the age of eightyfour, my four sisters and I were heartbroken. How could we ever get over the loss of this warm and loving woman, a talented artist who enjoyed life in spite of its challenges and always doted on her husband, daughters and grandchildren? Whatever life threw at us each year, come Christmas our family had one constant

warms my heart more than seeing the smiles on the faces of my adorable grandkids. Nothing. My teen years brought some lean years in our family and we lived far from other relatives, but the one thing I always take away from that time is Christmas came. It always did, silently and beautifully; it arrived. Maybe there weren’t as

tradition: our dog Pepper opened our presents for us. When our beloved Black Lab mix had been a gangly adolescent puppy, we had only given her unbreakable gifts to unwrap—things like pajamas and steering wheel covers. She proved to be so careful that we soon gave her any gift that wasn’t edible. Every time, Pepper found the seam in the wrapping paper with her snout and held the

many gifts under the tree, maybe there was no snow down here in the sunny south, and maybe we missed the giant celebration, but it came. The story of the Grinch is a huge reminder to us of what Christmas is all about. Not really the gifts, the food, or the celebration, but a reminder of that first silent, lonely Christmas. The savior

present down gingerly with her forepaws. Her front teeth pried up the lip of paper with the utmost care. Then she removed every inch of wrapping paper before stepping back to lie in the midst of our gathering. She never bit or scratched the gifts themselves. Friends and relatives who joined our family celebrations never believed Pepper could be so delicate until they witnessed her talents. Watching our

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of the world was born in a humble cave, placed in a lowly feeding trough. While outside, revelers came and went with no notice of the miracle that had just taken place and seemingly, no cares. Oh yes, the angels were there and the Magi showed up 12 days later, but the actual miracle was unattended by all but the Continued on page 10

sweet dog unwrap gifts always warmed the holiday, which was often a little bittersweet because college, studying abroad, or work commitments often kept my two sisters and me away. One year, everyone made it home for a Christmas together. I was back from Ireland, Kaci flew in from Arizona, and Kara visited from college. Mom’s jubilance kept her busy Continued on page 3

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A Little Dose of Humor

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From Our Readers

You Always Stole My Thunder A Mother Was Tired of Her Mother-in-Law Giving Her Kids Candy so She Wrote Her a Letter.....

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ou say ‘no candy’ and yet your kids come home with chocolate on their face. You say ‘no tv’ yet they talk about watching “Golden Girls” with grandma. It seems like every time the kids hit grandma’s, rules just go OUT the window and it can be really frustrating…until I read this. Here’s a mom’s heart-throbbing open letter to the grandma who wouldn’t say ‘no,’ and it may just change your perspective forever: You always stole my thunder. You gave them everything they wanted. You never said no when they asked for anything. A second helping of dessert. Candy before dinner. A few more minutes in the bath. Money for the ice cream truck. How I struggled to show you respect and appreciation while trying to make sure you didn’t spoil my children. I thought you would turn them into “selfish brats” by giving them everything they wanted. I thought they might never learn to wait, to take turns, to share, because you granted their wishes as soon as they opened their mouths and pointed. You held each one of my babies long after they fell asleep. Didn’t you understand that I needed them to learn to fall

asleep on their own? You ran to them as soon as they made the tiniest sound. How would they ever learn to self-soothe? I resented you for buying the best and most expensive gifts on their birthdays and on Christmas. How could I possibly compete with you? How do you think it feels to know that the very best presents, the ones they’ll be the most excited and aglow about, are not from their parents? And how they loved afternoons spent with you. You made their favorite things for dinner – three different meals for three different boys. And you always had a little surprise. A present, candy or a special treat. I didn’t want them to associate you with gifts and sweets. I thought they should love you for you. I tried to tell you this, but you wouldn’t listen. You continued to indulge them in every way possible. I spent a lot of time wondering why you did all these things and how I could get you to ease up. I know grandmothers are supposed to “spoil the kids,” then send them home, but you were… ridiculous. Until you were gone. I had to hold my boys and tell them that their grandma died. It didn’t seem possible. You were supposed to be there for all the other special moments: proms, graduations, weddings. But they lost their

grandma too soon and too suddenly. They were not ready to say goodbye to you. During those years when I wished you’d stop spoiling them, I never thought about how much you loved them, so much that you showed it in every way possible. Your cooking. The gifts. The candy and sweets. Your presence. The way you could recount every detail of a special moment, whether it was a perfect catch in the outfield, or a sweet and slightly off-key note sung at a school concert. Your grandmotherly love for them knew no bounds. Your heart poured love from every place possible — your kitchen, your pocketbook, your words, and your tireless arms. It’s pointless to dwell on regrets, but I often think about how I had it all wrong. I was so wrong in how I perceived your generosity. My kids, now in their teens, miss you dearly. And they don’t miss your gifts or your money. They miss you. They miss running to greet you at the door and hugging you before you could step in. They miss looking up at the bleachers and seeing you, one of their biggest fans, smiling and enthralled to catch their eye. They miss talking to you and hearing your words of wisdom, encouragement and love. If I could speak to you one more time, I would tell you that every time a precious Continued on page 13

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From Our Readers

Pepper’s Last Gift continued from page 1 baking cookies for us all. Our Christmas season should have been perfect. It couldn’t feel perfect, though, because Pepper’s health was deteriorating. Her life had already been longer than we expected—she was fourteen— and yet her mind was still sharp. Her enthusiasm for life made us feel better. But her body could not keep up with her spirit. She’d already shown the usual signs of deafness and stiffness. That year, her hips and back legs started giving out on her. We knew we would soon have to make a difficult decision. It was likely Pepper’s last Christmas, so we decided to make sure she enjoyed it. On Christmas Eve, we gathered around the tree to open an early present. We each took a turn and then called Pepper to open one more. But her tangled legs could not navigate the boxes and shredded wrapping paper on the floor. She stumbled over the obstacles, and soon she disappeared into the next room. She crumpled back to the floor, as out of the way as she could get. We were heartbroken. Could Pepper even participate in her last Christmas? Pepper stayed on the periphery of all our holiday activities. Throughout the day,

we gave gifts but did not feel very giving. We shared stories over cinnamon rolls that tasted bland. We played games by the tree whose twinkles had dimmed. That evening, Kaci said what we’d all been thinking: “I wish Pepper could have helped open presents this year.” We all put down our mugs of spiced tea. “Maybe she still could,” Kara said. “But there’s none left,” Mom reminded her. Kara jumped up and left the room. We heard her opening drawers and cabinets in the kitchen. She returned with a box of dog biscuits, scissors, and a roll of tape. “Hand me that green paper,” Kara told me, pointing at a large sheet at my feet. She cut a small section from the paper and wrapped a single dog treat in it. She held it up as if she had just struck gold. “Now there’s a present for her!” I knelt on the floor next to Kara and wrapped another dog treat. Kaci and Mom joined in, too. Soon, we had four elegantly wrapped dog biscuits in a row on the floor. We cleared the floor of discarded wrapping paper. We tucked our legs under us as

we perched out of the way on the furniture. “Go get Pepper,” we urged Mom. We all bounced like eager children. Mom went into the next room. “You want to open a present, girl?” she coaxed. In a moment, Pepper stuck her head into the room. Her ears were fully perked with anticipation and curiosity. She skidded on stilted legs to the row of presents. She sniffed all four in order, and looked back and forth between them. She’d never had such a wide choice of gifts before. Soon, Pepper selected her first Christmas gift. She nimbly turned the present with her forepaw, just like she was a spry young dog once more. She tugged every last scrap of paper off the dog treat before she chewed it with her customary grace. Our family swelled with glee. Pepper licked the last crumb from the floor. She eyed the remaining three presents, then turned to Mom as if asking, “May I please open another?” “Go ahead, girl!” Mom encouraged. For the next few minutes, Pepper opened each of her Christmas presents. While she did, she reminded us of the

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sheer joy of being together. Our family felt whole—not because we were in the same room, city, or country, but because our love bonded us together. In the new year, Pepper let us know it was time to call the veterinarian. Her passing, while tearful, was peaceful. In its own way, her passing was also a celebration of life, because she gave my family so much love and laughter. Long after I forgot each of my presents, I still cherish Pepper’s final Christmas gift. She taught me that no matter where we each spend the holidays, and no matter what the passing year brings, the smallest act of heartfelt giving can unite our family through our love. For me, that knowledge is the longestlasting gift of all. Feel like a kid again when you read these adorable letters to Santa that will warm your heart. Source: www.rd.com

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From Our Readers

Remember Those Good Old Days By Jerry Genovese Joanandjerry@outlook.com

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his is a little trip down memory lane for all you seniors who remember dealing with the internet when it first started. Oh my God, we thought we would never figure it out, right? What turned out to be the most aggravating thing was this. When you first wanted to get online, you would have to type in a number, then wait for a connection, because if you remember, the internet started out making its connections on the PHONE LINES! So after you typed in that number, you would have to listen to a whole bunch of crazy sounds and squeels, and then if you were lucky, you got through and snagged an open

line, otherwise you would have to try again and again till you got one. Okay, now you finally got one, and you were off to the races to explore the world, it was amazing. UNTIL!! If, someone happened to make a call to you on the phone, it would immediately cut you off from the internet, and there were times you were right in the middle of something, and you wanted to scream the minute you got “bumped off line”. Remember those good old days? Well, I just wanted to remind you of those facts, so when you read the first poem of Christmas 2000, you knew what the heck I was talking about. Now you can read on. Enjoy!

‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS---2000 ‘Twas the night before Christmas, as I sat in my house, eyes on the computer, hand locked on the mouse. I was scanning the world, when what did I see?, but a website for Santa, under “Santa . C “ A smile crossed my face, as I double-clicked on, then watched as the real world, was suddenly “ Gone “! For all of a sudden, I was high in the sky, alongside of Santa, with his twinkling eyes. Soaring the space coast in a 2000 sleigh, dropping off presents along the great way. From the Cape to Daytona, to Satellite Beach, not one single home, was left out of reach. He said not a word, as we flew on our way, except when he yelled,” Ho Ho Ho and away”. “Twas a magical moment, I felt in my heart, such a feeling of love and good cheer from the start. A feeling I wished could be felt, one and all, when out of the blue, came the “Dreaded Phone Call”! I immediately knew, that I’d been bumped off line, and had been returned, to the now “present time”. I sat there in shock, and such disbelief, yet being back home, brought a sense of relief. I looked once again, for the “Santa . C “, but it could not be found, not even by me. I shut down the computer, leaned back in my chair, and wondered if I, had really been there. Then just as the screen, was no longer bright, I heard Santa say, “Merry Christmas, Good Night”!

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Our Health

ALL WE WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS A CURE FOR CANCER By Mary Knapp for Relay For Life of Rowan County

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ver since I lost relatives and friends to cancer, and then was a victim myself, I have tried to be part of the quest to find a cure. Since there are so many forms that affect almost every organ in the body, that search for a cure is elusive. So, many of us volunteer to work with the American Cancer Society to at least research ways to discover options for extending life through methods and drugs. In Rowan County, we are part of the Relay For Life community and raise funds for ACS at a variety of fundraising events, and then our major event in the spring. Of course, that was before COVID-19. This past eight months, we have not been able to earn very much towards the ACS. A good portion of that money that we raise goes to support researchers, along with providing education, and other resources that help those who have cancer, their caregivers, and others who want to avoid cancer in their lives. You can take advantage of some of the resources that the American Cancer Society provides by visiting their website www.cancer.org, or by calling them at 1-800-227-2345. They can provide you with information, or refer you to those who can help you. For example, if you are a

cancer patient, perhaps you have a question about what to eat to keep you going while you are being treated. If you are a caregiver, perhaps you would like suggestions about what kind of diet your patient may need, or how to deal with a side-effect of treatment like radiation or chemotherapy. If you are a patient and need a ride to your treatment, you may be able to secure that through the Road to Recovery service. If you will be hospitalized for a treatment, you may be able to get accommodations for your caregiver through the society. There are so many different services that ACS can refer the patient or caregiver to, that it is difficult to list them all in one article. But the main purpose of my writing this for you is to

not only recommend ACS to you, but to ask you to help ACS to continue in its ability to provide these services. You may not be reading this by December 1, considered Giving Tuesday, but you might want to give on another day in December to assist the ACS in its work for cancer patients and all associated with it. You may give through your local Relay For Life website (ours here in Rowan County is Relay For Life of Rowan County NC www.relayforlife.org/rowannc ) or directly to the American Cancer Society on its website listed above. You may want to make your contribution in honor or in memory of a cancer patient or caregiver. On the Rowan County Relay site, you may give in honor of a team that helped you through your cancer experience. However

you decide to give, know that you will be helping other cancer patients and those who love them. In the meantime, December 7-11 is being called Cancer Screen Week. And so it is up to me to remind you to get those check-ups, if not in December, in the beginning of the new year. The life you save may be your own or the life of a person close to you. Enjoy your December holidays, and we look forward with you to a healthy and happy New Year 2021!

By pre-planning, you spare your family difficult decisions at a difficult time. They will not have to search records, insurance policies, addresses and other important items. You will also eliminate their doubts. Wondering what you would have wanted is an added burden for family members who are already dealing with grief from their loss. Pre-planning can save money. So call or email and we can set up an appointment.

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From Our Readers

The Carolina Thread Trail weaves a path through time and terrain. My friends and I discovered a natural surface trail segment in the Buffalo Creek Preserve. Once a week we hike the path that meanders through restored oak-savanna and farmland along Adams Creek. On every walk we share stories about our past and consider dreams for the future. In late September 2016 we constructed a wooden frame shelter to house print versions of those stories; we called them Trail Tales. The modest enclosure is located at the head of the preserve. We plan to make those stories available to readers of Senior Savvy on a monthly basis, no hiking gear required.

James Polk James Polk is a long-time contributor to Trail Tales. James shares the third segment of a five-part story. This segment reflects on a Christmas season when our country was divided. Current political strife pales by comparison. If you’d like to share your story in this column, text or call 980-621-0398. Instruction on how to obtain a free electronic version of this story is posted on the blog hosted at www.hiddentreasurenovels.com. Enjoy this installment.

The Wartime Journals of Levi and Adaline Keller

© 2020 by James Polk

Preface This is a story, told in diary entries, of a husband and wife, my great/great grandparents, who were separated by the Civil War. Levi knew that Adaline had always kept a diary. She said it would be something that she and their four children, Jennie, Lucius, Dorea, and Bina, would have as a remembrance of this time in their lives. What Adaline didn’t know was that Levi had started a journal as well, once he decided to enlist.

head off a chicken for supper because they won’t eat a bite if they see it. I don’t want to risk them seeing us kill our old hog. They named him General Custer. I will have the work cut out for me now, making sausage, liver mush, and curing hams and side meat. Maybe it will take my mind off everything. But I feel guilty then, because I want to keep thinking and praying for Levi.

The Journal Entries: 3 of 5

(Adaline Keller) 25 November 1864 The young uns and me had a Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. Chicken, sweet taters, kraut, and pumpkin pie. We have been celebrating this long before there was a Confederacy, and I ain’t seeing no reason to stop. The little ones enjoyed it and sure wished that their papa was here.

(Adaline Keller) 15 November 1864 Some of the neighbors got together today to kill hogs and get the meat cured for winter. We sent the young uns up to Mary Ritchie’s house to play with her young uns. They killed a pig a week ago and will be helping all of us who are left here trying to manage. The young uns make pets out of everything we have and I have to sneak and chop the

(Levi Keller) 15 December 1864 It is getting cold here. The land is flat and the wind just cuts right through you. A right smart of these kid soldiers didn’t bring coats with them, and they are really cold. The old men have coats, but I look for the kids to take them away from them, if they get a chance. Officers probably won’t do a thing about it.

(Continued from Nov SS)

(Adaline Keller) 19 December 1864 It is getting close to Christmas and the children are excited but sad because their papa ain’t here with them. He always had fun this time of year. He would get a tree and we would decorate it. Most important, he would slip out to the barn whenever he had a chance and work to make some toys for them to have under the tree on Christmas morning. What will my little ones think when they get up and there’s nothing for them under the tree? I feel like a terrible mother. I know this would make Levi sad, because these young uns are the apples of his eye. Tonight as I prayed, I told the Lord that if I could talk to Levi, I would tell him that I am so sorry for not being as good a mother as he is a father to our little brood. (Levi Keller) 21 December 1864 I just about froze to death last night. But I still fared better than some here. Two of the old men did freeze. We buried them as best we could. A good number of the boys run off last night. They are now deserters, but who in the world is going out to catch them and bring them back. This is getting real bad. We are in trouble.

(Adaline Keller) 23 December 1864 I was about to give up hope for Christmas gifts when Joe Ritchie came by and asked me how we were doing for Christmas. I told him about the situation and just about cried in front of him. He sat there and studied a minute. He said that Archie Johnson’s old hound dog had pups back in October and they still have one and want to get shut of him. He wondered if the children having a puppy at Christmas would be good. I thought a minute and asked him how can I feed a dog when I am having a time just feeding 4 young uns? He seemed to feel there is always a way and a hound will eat just about anything you can eat, even kraut. I gave in to the idea because I couldn’t think of a better one. He said he will get the pup and bring it by on Christmas Eve and tie him in the barn. As long as he don’t start howling I can slip out after they are asleep and bring him in. (Levi Keller) 24 December 1864 We just walked into the fort. Not what I had thought a fort would be with wood walls and places for Dan’l Boone to Continued on page 15

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Our Health

A Little Girl’s Christmas Wish

Margaret ThompsonShumate maggedy43@gmail.com

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dearly love ugly! As far back as I can remember I have always had a special place in my heart that applauded and doted on the unusual, odd-ball characteristics of just about anything imaginable. My best friend, Patsy, and I like to frequent local thrift shops to search for personal treasures. Although we have a close relationship, we normally head in different directions once inside the door. Being artistic and sentimental, she seeks antiquated, warm and fuzzy items. My radar constantly emits waves hoping to detect anything curiously shaped, sporting wild colors or with any type of irregular features. You might say I

conduct “ugly” safaris. It’s not unusual for Patsy to yell across the aisles, “Margaret, come quick! I’ve found something really ugly that I know you will love.” The first 12 years of my life my family lived on East Fisher Street, just one block from the wonderful downtown of Salisbury. My maternal grandmother had come from Georgia to live with us after my grandfather died in 1944. When I became school age, she loved to take my older sister and me shopping on Saturday mornings (to give my mother a well-deserved rest, I suppose). We visited all the five and dime stores. I liked them all, but Kress’s and Woolworth’s were my two favorites. Woolworth’s had a lunch counter with really good food and Kress’s had a glorious candy and nut section in the front part of the store. Grandma (or Nannie, as we called her) would let us select our favorite candies and purchase about a dime’s worth of each. The clerk

would weigh the purchases and place them in little white bags. My sister always chose something sensible. But, of course, I had to have the block chocolate, which had been broken up in various sizes and shapes. I guess you might say that this was the beginning of my leaning toward and favoring the abnormal.. I just really thought everyone knew that chocolate tasted better when it was chunky, right? Please fast forward now to 1953. I am 10 years old and now shopping with my mother, Grace. My four siblings are at home in Nannie’s care. Mother had me with her as I could often be a little rowdy and hard to manage. Imagine that! It was early in the Christmas season and all the downtown stores were dressed with beautiful holiday lights and decorations. I was too young to realize that mother was conducting a search for affordable gifts that she could suggest for Santa to bring us children. I was eating from my chocolate bag at Kress’s when my mouth suddenly stopped chewing and

my eyes lit up like Christmas tree bulbs. At the top of a shelf was the most gorgeous doll I had ever seen! I pulled on mother’s arm and pointed out my great discovery. Please tell Santa I want her for Christmas, I pleaded loudly as I jumped up and down with joy. My spirit was immediately crushed when she tried to explain that the doll cost too much, that Santa couldn’t afford it. She also reminded me that I didn’t even like dolls and had no interest at all in playing with them. Big tears were now pouring from my little eyes as I continued to insist that I must Continued on page 15

Christmas Season Search

BELLS CANDLES CANDY CANES CAROLS DECORATIONS EGGNOG FAMILY

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FRIENDS FRUITCAKE GIFTS HOLLY LIGHTS MISTLETOE ORNAMENTS POINSETTIA

SINGING SKATES SLEIGH SNOWFLAKES SNOWMAN SONGS TREE WREATH

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Our Health

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Leisure

Christmas Egg Puff Ingredients:

Christmas Wreaths Ingredients:

¼ cup butter or margarine

½ cup butter

12 eggs

30 large marshmallows

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons green

1 teaspoon baking powder

food coloring

2 cups cottage cheese 4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

4 cups cornflakes cereal

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place the butter in a 9x13 inch baking dish and put the dish in the oven while it preheats. 2. In the container of a blender, combine the eggs, flour and baking powder. Cover and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour into a large bowl and fold in the cottage cheese and Monterey Jack cheese. Pour over the melted butter in the dish. 3. Bake in the preheated oven until firm in the center, about 30 minutes. A knife inserted into the center should come out clean.

2 tablespoons cinnamon red hot candies

Best Spinach Dip Ingredients:

1 cup mayonnaise 1 (16 oz) container sour cream 1 (1.8 oz) package dry leek soup mix 1 (4 oz) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped ½ (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained 1 (1 pound) loaf round sourdough bread

Directions: 1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows, and cook until melted, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in the food coloring, vanilla, and cornflakes. 2. Quickly drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto waxed paper, and form into a wreath shape with lightly greased fingers. Immediately decorate with red hot candies. Allow to cool to room temperature before removing from waxed paper, and storing in an airtight container.

Luscious Slush Punch Ingredients: 2 ½ cups white sugar 6 cups water 2 (3 oz) packages strawberry flavored Jell-O® mix 1 (46 fl oz) can

Directions: 1. In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, dry leek soup mix, water chestnuts and chopped spinach. Chill in the refrigerator 6 hours, or overnight. 2. Remove top and interior of sourdough bread. Fill with mayonnaise mixture. Tear removed bread chunks into pieces for dipping.

Christmas Snack Mix

Ingredients:

1 (16 oz) jar dry roasted peanuts 2 (14 oz) packages red and green candy-coated chocolate 1 (14 oz) package chocolate covered peanuts 1 (7 oz) jar wheat nuts

pineapple juice 2/3 cup lemon juice 1 quart orange juice2 (2 liter) bottles lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage

Directions: 1. Bring the sugar, water, and strawberry flavored gelatin to a boil in a large saucepan; boil for 3 minutes. Stir in the pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice. Divide mixture into 2 separate containers and freeze. 2. Combine the contents of 1 container with 1 bottle of the lemonlime flavored carbonated beverage in a punch bowl; stir until slushy. Repeat with remaining portions as needed.

Directions: 1. Mix together the peanuts, red and green candy-coated chocolate pieces, red and green candy-coated chocolate covered peanuts, chocolate covered peanuts and wheat germ nut snacks. 2. Serve in a large bowl or place in decorative glass jars and give as gifts.

SHARE YOUR RECIPES

Do you have a favorite recipe that you’d like to share with our readers? If so, we’d love to have recipes that are easy, healthy and are smaller in proportion – just right for someone cooking for one or two. Please send your recipes to cindy@gapub.com OR drop them off at the front desk of Rufty Holmes Senior Center to Cindy Nimmer. Thanks and we look forward to seeing what you’ve got cooking!

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Our Community

Christmas will come... continued from page 1 3 principles. Mary, Joseph, and the babe. No brightly wrapped gifts, no huge holiday meal, no music, laughter, or feeling of closeness with others. Just 3 people, alone in a cave that served as a stable. This pandemic has taken a lot from us, but one thing is for certain, Christmas will come. It will arrive on some starry night, silent and still. Reminding us that even though we are not celebrating as we used to do, it is still here, as it was 2,000 years ago. A small babe was born in humble surroundings to two very ordinary people, so that we might have peace among men and

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life everlasting. We need to remember that peace among men thing, it’s not here yet, but I keep hoping and praying that it will come too. The corona virus may take away our freedom of movement, may take away the frivolous gatherings, and maybe even take away our friends, but Christmas will come. Yes, it will. It will also never destroy the fact we have a savior, one who came down to earth eons ago just to save us and be there with us through things like corona. As my wise, old Mother used to tell me This too will pass. May you have a blessed, peaceful, and serene Christmas.

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Our Health

HAVE YOU HEARD?

Lorin S. Oden

Au.D., FAAA Doctor of Audiology

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eedless to say 2020 has been an interesting year. As we celebrate this holiday season we need to remember how much we truly have to be thankful for. The dinnertime tradition in my home is for each of us to say what we are thankful for on that particular day. Daily, we are thankful for our health but additionally we may be thankful for spending time outside, traveling safely in our vehicles, seeing a fish jump in the lake or an eagle flying by. In particular, as the year comes to a close, I am thankful for my friends (otherwise known as my staff) who I spend my days with. We had to close the office for six weeks when Governor Cooper enforced Stage 1 at the initial outbreak of Covid-19. Even though we were consider “essential” medical providers we did not feel safe seeing patients in the office…for their safety as well as ours. During the six weeks the four of us were able to complete several projects. Jane spent hours on the phone calling everyone that we could not reach by email informing them that the office was closed, but if they needed anything to call and leave a message. Beth monitored the phone messages,

returned phone calls, troubleshot potential issues and handled the mail that was forward to her home. Jamie, after school lessons with her son, called all the local medical clinics re-establishing connections, ensuring we had their correct contact information and providers on staff. On several occasions, Jane and I went into the office so patients could pick up supplies, have their hearing devices cleaned or repaired. Even though we were “closed” we worked the entire six weeks. I am thankful for the support of my wonderful staff and know they care as much as I do for the people that entrust their hearing healthcare to us. Additionally I am thankful to you for taking the time to read this column I have been able to write for the past 9 years. I am thankful for everyone that calls our office with a question or to schedule an appointment. I am thankful to everyone who comes through our door for care. I am thankful to everyone who has allowed us to test their hearing. I am thankful to everyone who has trusted and chose us to be part of their hearing journey, as we do everything we can to improve their hearing ability. I am especially thankful to those who have taken the time to share their experience with others, by completing a website or Facebook review. And I am truly thankful to those who have referred their friends and family to us. To show my appreciation, I have a special gift for you. As you know we have had to

cancel our 4U2Hear group classes. Despite the incredible advancements in hearing aid technology, the fact remains that hearing aids are only one piece of the communication puzzle. These classes helped our patients take their hearing rehabilitation to the next level. As a patient of our clinic or reader of my Senior Savvy articles, I am proud to introduce you to an excellent new program called 5 Keys Communication. It is designed to help you overcome frustrations associated with hearing difficulties and has produced positive results for tens of thousands of people. Think of it as physical therapy for your auditory system. If you are experiencing hearing challenges (with or without hearing aids) or would like to improve your communication ability, this program is for you. Through a series of weekly emails, you will learn the 5 Keys to Communication Success. These quick and fun eLessons will teach you how to apply the 5 Keys to your most difficult listening situations. Each tip will also include helpful information about the care and use of your hearing aids as well as other important resources. The greatest part about these weekly eLessons is that you can share them with your family

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members and friends, who might also benefit from the information. In fact, half of the lessons are written for the people in your life who need to do their part in communicating clearly, so that you can better understand them. So we encourage you to share them with everyone who talks to you on a regular basis! This awesome new resource is now available to you and all of our patients. In order to claim your complimentary subscription to the 5 Keys Online Communication Training Program, please fill out the contact form found on the home page of our website: www. hearingsolutionsofnc.com. Hears to 2021. Jane, Beth, Jamie and I wish you a Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas and a happy HEALTHY New Year. We look forward to seeing you soon. For more information or to schedule a hearing evaluation, contact Dr. Lorin S. Oden at Hearing Solutions of North Carolina, 464 Jake Alexander Blvd. W., Salisbury, NC 28147 704-633-0023 www.hearingsolutionsofnc.com

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Leisure

A Little Dose of Humor

Here’s to all of us born before 1979! First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/ or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn’t get tested for diabetes.Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads. As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes. Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat, We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this. We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren’t overweight.. WHY? Because we were always outside playing...that’s why! We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.. No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were OKAY. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We did not have Play Stations, Nintendo’s and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD’s, no surround-sound or CD’s, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms. WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them! We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping pong paddles, or just a bare hand and no one would call child services to report abuse. We ate worm and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not poke out very many eyes. We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them. Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that! The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law! These generations have produced some of the best risktakers, problem solvers and inventors ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

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We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all. If YOU are one of them, CONGRATULATIONS! You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good. Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn’t it?

Old Wisdom After working his farm every day, an old farmer rarely had time to enjoy the large pond in the back that he had fixed up years earlier with picnic tables, horseshoe courts, and benches. So one evening he decided to go down and see how things were holding up. Much to his surprise, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee. As he came closer he saw it was a group of young women skinny dipping in his pond. He made the women aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end. One of the women shouted to him, “We’re not coming out until you leave.” The old farmer replied, “I didn’t come down here to watch you ladies swim or make you get out of the pond naked. I only came down to feed the alligator.” Moral: Old age and treachery will always triumph over youth and skill.

Three Elderly Sisters Three sisters, ages 92, 94, and 96, live in a house together. One night the 96-year-old draws a bath. She puts one foot in a pauses. She yells down the stairs, “Was I getting in or out of the bath?” The 94-year-old yells back, “I don’t know. I’ll come up and see.” She starts up the stairs and pauses. Then she yells out, “Was I going up the stairs or down?” The 92-year-old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea and listening to her sisters. She shakes her head and says, “I sure hope I never get that forgetful.” She knocks on wood for good measure. She then replies, “I’ll come up and help both of you as soon as I see who’s at the door.”

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Our COmmunity

Girl Scouts Help Meals on Wheels Submitted By Cindy Fink with Meals on Wheels Rowan

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irl Scouts from Middle Schools and High Schools across Rowan County gathered to pack “Winter Weather Totes” for each Meals on Wheels participant. The totes include canned soup, Brunswick stew, microwaveable vegetables, breakfast bars, fruit cups, applesauce, and pudding. Participants should reserve the shelf-stable foods for inclement

weather days. Sandy Combs, Program Director, said, “When winter weather brings snow or icy conditions, Meals on Wheels may cancel a meal delivery. If cancellation is necessary, we want to make sure that our participants have something in their pantry to eat. Shelfstable foods can be eaten when a meal delivery is canceled. The girls and their adult leaders

You Always Stole My Thunder

were divided into two groups to follow appropriate COVID-19 protocols. The groups took turns packing shelf-stable foods into totes and making Giving Tree ornaments. Six adult leaders assisted the eighteen Girl Scouts with both the crafting and packing processes. The Girl Scouts packed the equivalent of 900 meals and made over 400 ornaments. Meals on Wheels volunteers will deliver the Winter Weather Totes to participants during the first week of December.

Girl Scout Volunteer/ Troop Leader Jody McManus coordinates the Girl Scout group. Participating groups were from Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Concordia Lutheran Church, and China Grove United Methodist Church. Meals on Wheels Rowan is very grateful to the Girl Scouts for volunteering their time to support homebound seniors in Rowan County.

continued from page 6 moment steals my heart, every time I watch them arrive at a new milestone, and every time they amaze me with their perseverance, talents or triumphs, I think of you. And I wish that they could have you back. Come back and love them one last time, like no one else in the world but a grandmother could. Bring your sweets and surprises. Reward them with gifts for the smallest accomplishments. Painstakingly prepare their favorite meals. Take them anywhere they want to go. All and only because you love them. Oh, how I wish with my whole heart that you could come back. Sit for endless hours in the bleachers with me. Come back and watch his determined stance, his all-out effort, and his anxious rituals. We could study my boy’s face, and both know without a doubt if he’s confident, intimidated, thirsty or bored. Come back and listen to the sound of his saxophone, and watch his face with me. We both know which songs are his favorite just by studying his eyes while he plays. Watch him with me as he shifts in his seat, makes eye contact with friends and sighs with relief after the end of each song. Come back and hear his voice as the bellowing bass in the high school choir. Delight in how he sings with his whole heart and soul. His green eyes bright with passion, then gently closed for the longer notes. I could glance your way and know that no one adores him quite like you or me. Come back and watch him walk in his cap and gown. Watch the wind blow his hair away from his face, and be awestruck with

In Memory of

Kathryn Van Voorhis Mother of 6, Grandmother of 13, Great Grandmother of 26, and Great-Great Grandmother of 1

December Crossword

April 16. 1021 - November 16. 2020

me as we glimpse the man he is becoming. Stand with me as we, without a word exchanged, simultaneously wonder how the years tumbled by so fast. The more I long for you to come back, the more I realize that in a way, you never left. I understand now. I know you loved them in every way you could. I know that being their grandma gave you joy and purpose. And of course I know that you can’t come back, but I do know that your love for them will always remain. Your love built them and sheltered them in ways that cannot be described. Your love is a big part of who they are and what they will become as they grow. For this, and for every treat and gift, and every time you held them too long or consoled them too much, or let them stay up too late, I will always thank you. And I will wish a million times that you could do it all again. Source: faithit.com

Down

Across

1. Mentally prepare 6. Whimper 10. Snip 14. Hello or goodbye 15. Chocolate cookie 16. Hindu princess 17. Finger or toe 18. Website addresses 19. Frosts 20. An orbiting vehicle 22. Past tense of Leap 23. An Italian woman of rank 24. Spiteful 25. Jump up and down 29. Withdraw 31. A connector between devices 33. Indigenous

37. A type of fabric 38. Manly 39. Coach 41. Any amazing occurrence 42. Bullfighter 44. Not more 45. Path 48. Animal toxin 50. Skirt lines 51. Very small 56. Module 57. Part of a plant 58. Equestrian 59. Wise men 60. Countertenor 61. Leg joints 62. Coalition 63. Layer 64. It makes dough rise

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1. Cushions or mats 2. Faux pas 3. Eastern discipline 4. Fashionable 5. Despised 6. Griever 7. Straying 8. Financial aid 9. Misplaced 10. Involving three parties 11. Contests of speed 12. Bumbling 13. Foggy 21. Diadem 24. Point of greatest despair 25. Agreement 26. Smell

27. Nurse shark 28. Expecting the best 30. Hem in 32. Anagram of “Talon” 34. Rodents 35. Ailments 36. C C C C 40. A pasta dish 41. Watch closely 43. Reduce in rank 45. One on each hand 46. Kidney-related 47. Chum 49. Turbid 51. “Darn!” 52. Prong 53. Notion 54. V V V V 55. At one time (archaic)

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Our Faith

Sharing a Legacy of Love By Kathy Melia Levine

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hen my mother died at the age of eightyfour, my four sisters and I were heartbroken. How could we ever get over the loss of this warm and loving woman, a talented artist who enjoyed life in spite of its challenges and always doted on her husband, daughters and grandchildren? For weeks after, my sisters and I would meet for dinner, laughing and crying over old memories. When it came time to sell the home my mother loved, we spent many days in disbelief, clearing out her belongings. I remembered reading an Ann Landers column years earlier that discussed how many siblings fight bitterly over the possessions left by their deceased parents. I thought, “How lucky we are that will never happen to us.” Somehow, we easily and peacefully divided Mom’s belongings—furniture, jewelry, and household items—among ourselves and a few charities. Although I expected there might be a tug of war over her paintings, that never happened. Pretty good considering there were five daughters and four grandchildren. No conflicts, squabbles or disputes at all. Until we discovered the old nativity set in a box in Mom’s closet. I remembered Mom telling the story of how she acquired the manger. An old friend who did carpentry work gave it to my mom and dad as a Christmas gift when they were first married. My sister, Eileen, however, remembers it differently. Mom told her she found the crèche in a garbage can belonging to Mrs. Bingham, the elderly lady who lived across the street from us. Unlike some of the ornate versions found in today’s stores, this manger was crafted from dark wood and completely unadorned—just a roof, a floor and a railing surrounding it. Though beautifully crafted, there was one flaw: one side of

the double gate in front was lopsided. Mom filled it with three figurines to start—Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus. For many years after, she continued to add others— the Wise Men, shepherds, angels, and animals. As kids, we loved the annual rites of the Christmas season, especially taking the nativity set and decorations down from the attic and carefully putting them in place. When the sisters all married and grandchildren came along, they added new characters of their own to the stable, including a set of the three little pigs. After Mom’s death, when the nativity set emerged, no one was prepared for the battle that would follow. My sister Joanne was the first to claim the manger, insisting it was the only one of Mom’s possessions that she really wanted. Her wish was granted. But when my niece Mandy found out, she called from her apartment in California to voice her objection. She was clearly emotional as she repeated a decades-old promise made to her by my mother: “Nanny promised me that I could have the nativity set when she was gone,” she cried. “The nativity set belongs to me.” Joanne felt strongly that as Mom’s daughter, she had first dibs. Neither she nor Mandy would budge. When the disagreement showed signs of becoming a full-blown family feud, we realized something had to be done. Enter the family arbitrator, my sister Eileen, who somehow saw through the fog. But as Mandy’s mother and Joanne’s sister, could Eileen handle this dilemma fairly? Temporarily, she set aside the emotion of the dispute, and thought logically. The nativity set was just a wooden stable, not an irreplaceable masterpiece

of art. The beauty was in the eye of the beholders, the perception of two people who coveted a simple item owned by someone they loved. Couldn’t a copy be created? Of course! She would order the wood from the lumberyard and get someone to build a second manger. The following day, Eileen went to Centre Millwork and stood in line behind several contractors ordering lumber from a young man with a crewcut. He was wearing a tag with his name, Brett, written in green magic marker. When Eileen’s turn came, she had to shout over the sound of buzzing saws. She pointed to the nativity set in her arms and told him the story, explaining that it was causing a major rift between her sister Joanne and her daughter Mandy. Brett took the stable from her, held it up with one hand and laughed, “They’re fighting over this?” “Yes,” Eileen explained. “I know it seems crazy, but it was my mother’s and they both loved her very much. Is there any way you could measure and cut some wood so we could have a duplicate built? Brett said, “Leave it here. I’ll see what I can do.” Eileen left, hoping he could come up with a minor miracle. That’s what it would take to satisfy the two women in her life that were squabbling. A few days later, she received a phone message saying that her order was ready. When Eileen arrived at the hardware store to pick

up the wood, she couldn’t believe what she saw — two identical stables sitting side by side. Brett had not only cut and measured the wood, he had built a second manger. “I know you wanted them to look the same, so I added a couple of dings and flaws that were in the original. Hope that’s okay.” Sure enough, the new stable had the same lopsided front gate. “Okay?” Eileen said in tears. “You have no idea what this will mean to my sister and my daughter. To the entire family. I don’t care what this costs. Your work has saved the day.” “That will be $3.75 for the materials,” Brett said. When Eileen insisted on paying him more, he said, “I didn’t do it on company time. I built it at home so I won’t charge you for the labor.” He pointed to the new manger. “I hope this helps your family have a merrier Christmas.” Eileen left Brett with a large tip and a big hug of thanks. When she got home and called Joanne and Mandy about her creative solution, they were very happy and extremely relieved that the problem was resolved. One phone call later, Joanne and Mandy had agreed that Joanne would take possession of the new stable as well as some of the old figurines—including Mary, Joseph and the infant. Mandy would get to keep the original—just as Nanny promised. Reference: www.rd.com

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From Our Readers

A Little Girl’s Christmas Wish continued from page 7 have that doll. Why? Because she had curly, bright blue hair! She was the only thing I really wanted for Christmas – ever! On Christmas morning, my sisters, brothers and I anxiously hurried to our designated individual chairs we had tagged the night before. We all found stockings (our mother’s old nylons) filled with fruit, nuts, hard candy and maybe a little box of raisins. Everyone opened their gifts which included skates, paper dolls, trains, story books, etc. Then it was Margaret’s turn (I waited until last purposely). And there it was – a matching set of mittens, scarf and a hat. No doll. No doll with blue hair. My heart was broken. The five of us were summoned

to the kitchen for a hot breakfast before we could play with our new toys. What about me? How was I supposed to play with mittens, a hat and scarf? Mother and Nannie produced wide warm smiles as I pulled out my chair – only to find it already occupied. There sat the beautiful blue-haired doll I had discovered at Kress’s five and ten store and had dreamed about being the mother of one day. Most little girls may have laughed and called her “ugly” because of her hair, but I didn’t care. She was very special to me and I knew Santa had worked extra hard to see that my dream came true. So, if you ever see me clutching something in my arms and headed to the thrift store check-out counter,

you can believe it is something “ugly” that not just anyone would even think of buying. But it will be very special to me – with or without blue hair. After all, isn’t there a saying about beauty being only skin deep, while ugly goes to the bone? This Christmas of 2020, my greatest “ big girl” wish is for world peace, love and good

health for all my loved ones and for everyone to know in their hearts that Jesus truly is the reason for this season and for all seasons to come. Please remember to keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas and in everything you say and do. I also sincerely wish that all Senior Savvy writers, readers and staff have a very wonderful, safe and blessed Christmas!!

The Wartime Journals of Levi and Adaline Keller continued from page 6 shoot from. This was tall piles of sand, more sand than I ever seen in my life. They was lying about the food here. We got a bowl of cornmeal mush for a meal. They say they are going to move us up the beach to protect it if the Yankees come in from that way. Lord they are putting a lot of stock in this bunch. I wouldn’t depend on us to protect a henhouse from a fox. (Adaline Keller) 24 December 1864 Me and the young-uns went to church tonight

like we always did when Levi was here. It was so peaceful there with everyone singing carols and praying for their loved ones who are off at war. But I’m very worried tonight. Something’s wrong. About James Polk: James Polk is a distant relative to the eleventh President of the United States. James is a prolific writer. This story reveals the heartbreak and tragedy of a soldier in the war, and the trials of the family left at home. Send a note to James at P.O. Box 1857, Concord, NC 28026

Puzzle Answers

Su d o k u

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Our Community

SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS INCREASE IN 2021 By Lisa Wallace

ocial Security Public Affairs Specialist in Charlotte, NC

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early 70 million Americans will see a 1.3 percent increase in their Social Security benefits and SSI payments in 2021. Federal benefit rates increase when the cost-of-living rises, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index (CPI-W). The CPI-W rises when inflation increases, leading to a higher cost-of-living. This change means prices for goods and services, on average, are a little more expensive, so the COLA helps to offset these costs.

January 2021 marks other changes that will happen based on the increase in the national average wage index. For example, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security payroll tax in 2021 will be higher. The retirement earnings test exempt amount will also change in 2021. You can read our press release for more information at www.ssa.gov/news/press/ factsheets/colafacts2021.pdf. We will mail COLA notices throughout the month of December to retirement, survivors, and disability beneficiaries, SSI recipients,

and representative payees. Want to know your new benefit amount sooner? You can securely view and save the Social Security COLA notice online via the Message Center inside my Social Security in early December without waiting for the mailed notice. If you don’t have an account yet, you will have to create your account by November 18, 2020 to receive the COLA notice online this year. my Social Security account holders can opt out of receiving a mailed COLA notice and other paper

notices that are available online. You can choose text or email alerts when there is a notice in Message Center by updating your Preferences at www.ssa. gov/myaccount/opt-out.html so you always know when we have something important for you. Be the first to know! Sign up for or log in to your personal account today at www.ssa.gov/ myaccount. Choose email or text under “Message Center Preferences” to receive courtesy notifications. This way you won’t miss your online COLA notice! You can find more information about the 2021 COLA at www. ssa.gov/cola.

GET YOUR NEW STANDARDIZED BENEFIT VERIFICATION LETTER ONLINE By Lisa Wallace

ocial Security Public Affairs Specialist in Charlotte, NC

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f you receive a Benefit Verification letter, sometimes called a “budget letter,” a “benefits letter,” a “proof of income letter,” or a “proof of award letter,” we have good news for you! A new standardized Benefit Verification

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letter is now available when you need proof of Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, or Medicare. In addition to name, date of birth, and the benefits received, the new Benefit Verification letter includes other identifiers to prevent

misuse and fraud. This is an added benefit to you as proof of income for loans, housing assistance, mortgage, and other verification purposes. The same standardized letter is also available if you need proof that you do not receive benefits, or proof that benefits are pending. If you

are an individual representative payee, you can use the my Social Security Representative Payee portal to access the same standardized Benefit Verification letter online for your beneficiaries. This new standardized Benefit Verification letter is another example of our commitment to improve our service to you. No matter how you request your letter, whether calling our National 800 Number, your local office, the Interactive Voice Response system, or online with your personal my Social Security account at www.ssa.gov/ myaccount, the Benefit Verification letter now contains a seamless look.

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Rowan Senior Savvy December 2020  

Celebrating Life After 55

Rowan Senior Savvy December 2020  

Celebrating Life After 55

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