F R E E SPRING
Staying Heart Healthy
Also in this issue:
Heart attack survivor, Terry Johnson and his students love to stay healthy
Cine Grand Theatre, a new movie experience
Lake Crystal Rec Center Senior Series growing
Joe Tougas: Play Wright
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MATURE LIFEST YLE • SPRING 2015 • VOLUME 7, ISSUE 2
FEATURES 6 Staying heart healthy Terry Johnson, heart attack survivor, and his students from Waterville-Elysian-Morristown are heart healthy.
12 Luxury theater, cheap tickets Located in Mankato Place, the new Cine Grand lives up to its name.
14 Supporting seniors Senior Series offers education, fitness, entertainment activities monthly.
16 ‘It’s only music’ Musician, Joe Tougas receives grants to take it to the stage with his first play, “That’s all it Took.”
18 Travel 20 Book Reviews 22 Calendar of Events
Mature Lifestyle SPRING 2015 3
Welcome to the spring edition of Mature Lifestyle…
elcome to Mature Lifestyle! I’m plunking out the Pub Notes for this issue and I’m thinking about our cover man, Terry Johnson. In our household, the beginning of the year is set aside for doctors’ appointments. I can proudly say I am totally “into” preventative health. I think it is so important to know your numbers. In my opinion, it establishes a base line for good health. Terry Johnson is a lucky man. In my phone conversation with him, he was certainly excited about doing a heart story. And he was especially excited about his idea of including his children from school. He explained that while in the hospital for his heart attack, all of his students from Waterville-ElysianMorristown wrote him get-well cards. His comment was, “Kelly, do you know that I received over 220 get-well cards from my kids? Isn’t that awesome? Can they be in the picture with me?” Can you guess what my answer was? OF COURSE! I thought it was a great idea...so enjoy this cover as there are many supporters of Terry Johnson and his new plan of having a healthy heart. He has actually inspired me to walk more, or at least wear a pedometer and know how many steps I walk in a day. It’s all in an effort to establish a baseline...10,000 steps is a great daily goal! Move onto the story of the Cine Grand Theatre in downtown Mankato. As a poor starving college student in the 80’s, this was our go-to theatre. I don’t remember much about the experience as a whole, but I do look forward to catching a show now
in the renovated theatre. The chairs alone, look like an experience. Plus, the price is right...$1.50 on Tuesdays. Next, read about Joe Tougas and his new play, “That’s All it Took.” I’m not sure how Joe gets it all done. He is an educator, journalist, (yes, he’s written articles for Mature), a musician, song writer, composer, runs his own marketing company and now add playwright to his list. So in May, watch for details of show times for The Frye and Joe’s play. Joe and Ann will not disappoint you. I’ve always welcomed calls about story ideas for this magazine and that is exactly what happened when Debbie called me and talked about the Lake Crystal Recreation Center Senior Series. She bubbled with enthusiasm for the program and the growing number of participants for their events. Pickle ball, nutrition, water aerobics, Halloween parties, educational speakers... all geared toward seniors. Call for more info and sign up now for their monthly Wednesday event. Lastly, check out the story, “Grown-up Spring Break.” It doesn’t have to be tropical, it can be a quick road-trip to a small town on a Saturday, a local brewery or winery, or a picnic in your backyard. With winter heading down the road, take your tennis shoes and go for a stroll. You’ll exercise your mind and body...perfect way to head into the summer. Enjoy this issue of Mature Lifestyle and we’ll anticipate spring...it’s right around the corner! Kelly Hulke, Publisher
4 SPRING 2015 Mature Lifestyle
Mature Lifestyle is a Quarterly Publication of the Home Magazine, Mankato, MN. A Property of Community First Holdings, Inc.
Publisher Kelly Hulke Sales Manager Mary DeGrood Sales Executives Yvonne Sonnek Kim Allore Deena Briggs Dorothy Meyer Editorial/Photography Amanda Dyslin Gregg Andersen Graphic Designer Deb Granger Production Heather Zilka Sirena Tanke Business Manager Ron Bresnahan Advertising Information: Home Magazine 1400 Madison Ave., Suite 610 Mankato, MN 56001 (507) 387-7953 fax 387-4775 firstname.lastname@example.org
On the cover: Terry Johnson and his students from Waterville-Elysian-Morristown.
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Mature Lifestyle SPRING 2015 5
Johnson’s heart attack was a wake up call for him. He is now dedicated to getting his health on the right path. 6 SPRING 2015 Mature Lifestyle
Staying heart healthy
by Amanda Dyslin
erry Johnson lived 59 years believing that people really only went to see a doctor when they were sick or injured. A couple of months before his 60th birthday, he had no idea what his cholesterol numbers were or whether he had high blood pressure. And he certainly didn’t know he was on the precipice of a heart attack. The warning signs weren’t there, Johnson said. As a physical education teacher at Waterville-Elysian-Morristown High School for 24 years, Johnson thought he had been leading a healthy lifestyle. “The thing I didn’t do, I didn’t have a doctor. I never went to the doctor,” said Johnson, 60, of Janesville. “I didn’t know my numbers.” Sadie Christenson, exercise specialist in cardiac rehabilitation at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, said preventative care has emerged in more recent years as a means of catching health issues before they become big problems. Routinely knowing your cholesterol numbers, blood pressure and various other health factors helps people make decisions that better their health and well-being. However, it’s not uncommon for older generations to be unaware of the importance of preventative care. Johnson is a prime example of the dangers of that mindset. In the fall Johnson had pain on the right side of his chest and assumed it was something he ate. After taking ibuprofen, the pain went away, but it returned a couple
Heart attack survivor: ‘knowing your numbers’ is key to prevention
of days later and he could tell something wasn’t right. “I wasn’t feeling 100 percent, but I couldn’t pinpoint it,” he said. On the Friday of the Homecoming pep rally at school, Johnson came home and started feeling numbness in his body. It was time to see a doctor. Johnson didn’t call 911, which Mayo staff informed him was a bad decision. Even though it might seem like it would take more time for an ambulance to reach his home in Janesville and take him to the emergency room in Mankato, in actuality there was work that needed to be done to prepare for Johnson’s arrival so they could provide treatment immediately. Instead, Johnson’s wife, Linda, drove him to the ER. Upon arrival, an EKG test showed he was having a heart attack. Immediately, he said, 10 people were in the room providing treatment, which resulted in a stint being put into his heart.
Johnson had a 100 percent blockage that had prevented blood flow, and the stint opened up the area again. “I describe it as like a river flowing, and all the silt piles up and stops the water from flowing,” said Johnson, a father of four and grandfather of seven. Johnson still can hardly believe he had a heart attack. “I thought I was healthy,” he said. But despite how hard it has been to let the truth sink in, he’s been dedicated to getting his health on the right path. He’s on cholesterol medication, and he and his wife focus a great deal of effort on eating healthy foods, including more fruits and vegetables. Johnson also recently wrapped up with Mayo’s cardiac rehab program, which monitored his heart activity over time and showed him how to do various exercises that he can do at home. For Christmas Johnson received dumbbells, so he plans to keep up with a weightlifting program. He also joined a gym and incorporates cardio into his daily routine. His daily goal is at least 10,000 steps. He’s so dedicated that one night when he fell short of his goal, he got up and walked around the house until he hit 10,000. One of his most important lifestyle changes has occurred in his mind by fully embracing the importance of preventative care – to know his numbers so he can do something about them before it’s too late. “I’m a firm believer in that now,” Johnson said. Adding to that, Christenson also emphasized the importance of never ignoring (continued on next page) Mature Lifestyle SPRING 2015 7
(continued from previous page)
chest pains, to always get them checked out by a doctor. She also said that symptoms of heart events go far beyond the old adage of numbness in the left arm. Symptoms can include chest pains in various areas; back pains; shortness of breath; fatigue; and numbness, among other things. The students of Waterville-EllysianMorristown but their “hearts” into keeping healthy with their teacher, Terry Johnson. Johnson survived a heart attack and the kids all support his new heart-healthy lifestyle.
Tips for preventing CVD
he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the following tips to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD). ❤ Work with your health care team. Get a checkup at least once each year, even if you feel healthy. A doctor, nurse, or other health care professional can check for conditions that put you at risk for CVD, such as high blood pressure and diabetes – conditions that can go unnoticed for too long.
❤ Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or
❤ Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis.
obese can increase your risk for CVD. ❤ Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood
❤ Get your cholesterol checked. Your health care team
pressure. The Surgeon General recommends that adults
should test your cholesterol levels at least once every
should engage in moderate-intensity activity for at least
150 minutes per week.
❤ Eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthful meal and snack
❤ Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your
options can help you avoid CVD and its complications.
risk for CVD.
Limiting sodium in your diet can lower your blood pressure. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables – adults should have at least five servings each day.
❤ Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can increase your blood pressure. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/. 8 SPRING 2015 Mature Lifestyle
Whole-person care at every stage of life
The year Terry Johnson turned 60 was a milestone. He proudly shows the 220+ get well notes written by his students while he was recovering from heart surgery.
Mayo Clinic Health System offers comprehensive care to patients of all ages, provided by a multidisciplinary team of experts. We treat you as a whole person, caring for emotional, mental and physical needs. And we work to get you healthy today to prevent diseases tomorrow.
To schedule an appointment, call 1-877-412-7575 (toll-free).
mayoclinichealthsystem.org Terry Johnson has been a physical education teacher for the Waterville-Elysian-Morristown school district for over 24 years. After surgery, he returned to his teaching job and encourages others to embrace the importance of preventative care. Symptoms of heart attack go far beyond the old adage of numbness in the left arm.
3.9” x 10.25”
Mature Lifestyle SPRING 2015 9
Mature Magazine (November)
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12 SPRING 2015 Mature Lifestyle
…cheap tickets I
was an 18-year-old living in Fairmont when “The Blair Witch Project” was released in theaters. As the first mock-documentary mystery/ horror movie, the film had a lot of buzz. Nobody had seen anything like it, so it fooled a lot of people into thinking three student filmmakers really had recorded footage of themselves getting lost in the Black Hills and experiencing creepy, supernatural events. Fairmont was one of many theaters across the country that didn’t get the movie. That summer, the only place in the area showing “Blair Witch” was the small movie theater in the Mankato Place Mall. So my friends and I drove up to Mankato just to see it. That was my first movie-going experience at that tiny theater, and it was memorable for a variety of reasons. For one, the movie scared me more than I cared to admit to my friends. The other memorable factors had to do with how shoddy the theater was. There were a handful of theater rooms, and none were very big. The one I was in was one of the smallest, and getting there late meant sitting in the far-right of the front row and craning my neck to the left to see the screen. The screen had some damaged areas that were visible throughout the film. The seats were old. The décor was lackluster. All in all, it was just a long-neglected venue whose only appeal was to show movies people might not get to see otherwise. As most Mankato-area movie-goers know, that little theater has closed and reopened under new ownership several times throughout the years. They’ve all tried to make a go of a second-run theater
that offers cheap tickets with the hopes of capturing an audience that doesn’t race to movie theaters to see films when they’re first released. For whatever reason – including, perhaps, the location in a mall that houses mostly office space – no one has managed to keep the theater going. But I, for one, certainly hope the new company that has moved into the space is successful. Cine Grand, an international company, is the latest to renovate the small theater in Mankato Place. To anyone who has taken in a movie during previous ownership, the theater will be unrecognizable to you now. Cine Grand has kept the attractive concept of cheap tickets ($3.25 normally and $1.50 on Tuesdays) and second-run movies, which typically are films that have been released for a couple of weeks or
Wanna Go? Cine Grand Mankato 4 1640 Mankato Mall Mankato, MN 56001 http://mn.cinegrand.us 507-779-7309
more. But the lobby, concessions area and, most importantly, the theaters have been completely renovated and upgraded. The most attractive element? Oversized, plush recliners. All of the old, small theater seats have been torn out and replaced with giant, comfy, motorized recliners that recline so far back, you can actually lay down and watch the movie if wish. The floors have been tiered and covered in black carpeting, and to make room for all the large new chairs, the aisles are much wider, making climbing over strangers to get to the bathroom a thing of the past. The largest theaters now have about 50 seats apiece, and the smaller ones have about 20, making for an intimate theatergoing experience. After Amy Adams won a Golden Globe recently for her portrayal of famous painter Margaret Keane in “Big Eyes,” I went to see the movie at the new Cine Grand, and it was unlike any movie-going experience I’ve ever had. I put my feet up and didn’t have to uncomfortably adjust my position even once during the duration of the movie. The tiered floor meant I wouldn’t have to lean to see around a tall gentleman seated in front of me; the cup holder in the recliner arm wasn’t shared with the neighboring chair; and the brand new digital projectors made the screen image and sound perfectly clear. It was about halfway through the movie before I realized I was sitting in the exact same theater as I had been 15 years ago for “The Blair Witch Project.” But it couldn’t have been a more different experience. I just hope enough people agree with me and check out the new digs. If you go once, you’ll definitely make plans to go again. Mature Lifestyle SPRING 2015 13
LAKE CRYSTAL REC CENTER
lot of people still think of the Lake Crystal Area Recreation Center as being a new facility in town, but actually this is the 15th year the center has been open and offering numerous fitness, recreation and social activities for people of all ages. Since 2000 seniors have been a large population of folks who have come to the rec center for all kinds of events and activities – swimming and aquatics classes in the 150,000-gallon pool, cardio and strength training in the gym, basketball on the two full-size courts, a brisk walk on the coated walking track, and community gatherings in the meeting and conference rooms, among other things. “It’s more than a rec center; it’s a community center,” said Ryan Yunkers, executive director. Yunkers and the other staff know that seniors are a big part of the loyal community that uses and supports the center, which is why the facility has offered numerous programs for seniors throughout the years. Examples include senior fitness classes and pickleball lessons and activities, which are incredibly popular. “We have always offered things for seniors. But in 2014 we really took a more concerted effort to have a full gamut of offerings for seniors, and to be really intentional about what we offered,” Yunkers said. Out of this effort came the Senior Series, offered at least monthly at the center. The idea was to offer a mix of educational and social opportunities, and the program has been going in earnest since last April.
14 SPRING 2015 Mature Lifestyle
Seniors At least once a month the facility offers an event that includes a specific recreational and physical activity; an educational speaker; a social activity; and a healthy meal. The events have typically been held on Wednesdays, but there is not a specific date identified for each month. The last event included a session of pickleball for beginners, a free-will donation lunch catered by Lakes Sports Bar and Grill, and an educational session on wills and trusts led by Stacey Edwards Jones of Jones and Magnus law firm. Yunkers said attendance at the events has been good, with as many as 56 people
taking part from not just Lake Crystal, but as far as Madelia, Mapleton, and Mankato. They hope more seniors learn about the program and take advantage of the different offerings each month, which have been supported by $13,500 in donations from area businesses and foundations so far. The center is always looking for additional sponsors for future events. Anyone interested in more information about the Senior Series or other rec center opportunities should call 507-726-6730 or visit the facility at 621 W. Nathan St., Lake Crystal.
(left & above, top right) The Jones and Magnus Fall Fest Color Run attracted runners of all ages. (above, top left) During an event for seniors, Ryan Yunkers led the group through a series of different stretches. (above, middle left) The Halloween event at the center brings in hundreds of people, and businesses and volunteers hand out candy to kids as part of the event. (above, middle right) The senior-level water aerobics class, taught by Jennifer Yost (left), is the center’s most popular class. (right) Ryan Yunkers is the executive director of the Lake Crystal Area Recreation Center. Photos courtesy of Lake Crystal Area Recreation Center
Mature Lifestyle SPRING 2015 15
‘It’s only music’ In a unique performance piece, The Frye’s Joe Tougas presents a musical couple hitting a crisis of faith by Amanda Dyslin
Joe Tougas is a longtime Mankato journalist, educator and musician. He received two grants to write his first play, which he hopes to stage in May. Photo courtesy of Claudia Danielson Photography
16 SPRING 2015 Mature Lifestyle
hen the stage lights go up, Hank is the only one in the room who doesn’t know he’s about to lose everything. His marriage, his music – he’s one show away from the end. The audience has already been clued into the fact that a dear John letter written by his wife and longtime musical partner, Rita, is waiting for him back stage to be found after their final show together. And after the comedian who opens the show introduces the couple, joking about their rocky history, it becomes clear to everyone but Hank why he’s being left behind. This is how “That’s All it Took,” an original play by Joe Tougas, begins. Hank and Rita are characters that developed in Tougas’ mind after his singer-songwriter duo The Frye, made up of him and Ann Rosenquist Fee, played a gig at Indian Island Winery about a year and a half ago. They talked about how it would be interesting to some night perform in character as a divorced couple still on the performing circuit. Tougas said his initial thought was that it would be a lighthearted comedy, but found he didn’t want his characters to be ridiculed or their music created as something to lampoon. “It started out as a comedy, but it didn’t seem natural to laugh at them,” said Tougas. “I take music seriously, and I take performing seriously, and I wanted this to be more respectful toward these two people.” Tougas, who owns and operates Joe Tougas Media and Marketing, received two grants to go toward the play, including $10,000 from the Minnesota State Arts Board and a $3,000 McKnight grant through Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council. He’s been writing in earnest both the script and the original songs for the production in order to stage the play for the first time in May. “Usually my lyrics really just need to accomplish one thing, getting one picture or one story across. One scene set,” said Tougas, who has a long history as a journalist, educator and musician in Mankato. “This has been different because the songs have to do a few things at once: express an emotion, do it in a style that fits the time, advance the story line and illuminate what one of these two characters is going through. It’s been more of a self-editing process than I’ve ever gone through before.” The play will be like a two-person show performed in real time by The Frye. Tougas
and Fee will portray the two characters, who are in their 10th or 15th year of playing worse and worse venues. Back in the day, Hank and Rita had a couple of hits in their very promising beginning with music. They devoted their lives to the music and to each other. But there were so many problems over the years – drinking, fighting, breaking up and always ending up back together, mostly because of the music that bonded them. But Rita’s letter makes it clear that the pain of their past, and the frustration over their present, has become too much. “Your insistence on playing the same show in the same kinds of places only makes it worse as we endure quiet, loveless days watching TV at another Days Inn waiting to play an hour for smaller and smaller crowds who really just want to hear one song,” the letter reads. “I feel like we’re just getting older without the fun.” Early in the show, an audience member requests a sweet love song that Rita had written for Hank years before, which Rita is hesitant to perform and clearly shaken by at the end. Afterward, she makes a request of her own, a darker song she wrote during a time she felt lonely and betrayed by Hank. That’s when he begins to get the sense that their relationship might be on shakier ground than he realized. Soon the show goes completely off the setlist as they alternate song choices, each of which makes an emotional argument from each of their perspectives on the relationship. Hank realizes he’s fighting through song for his marriage and his music, while Rita’s choices are explaining what led her to the point where she’s
had enough. As her letter explains, “It’s only music, Hank. It’s only music.” “By the end, Rita has a decision to make,” Tougas said. Thanks to the play, Tougas and Fee will have 10 to 12 brand new songs, written in a stripped-down 1970s style. The songs would fit nicely into The Frye’s repertoire, which is heavy on ’70s covers, but Tougas said the songs will stay with the production and not be part of Frye performances. They will be recorded on a companion piece to the play, a CD tentatively titled “The Best of Hank and Rita.” Tougas said the show will be performed throughout southern Minnesota at clubs, small theaters and other venues. The smaller the venue, the better at getting at where the once nationally popular Hank and Rita find themselves. With a nearly completed draft, Tougas said he’s excited about putting the show in front of an audience. “It’s really focused on their relationship and the role music plays in their lives together, which is of great interest to me because it plays a big role in mine,” he said. For more information on The Frye, visit www.reverbnation.com/fishfrye or search for The Frye on Facebook. Joe Tougas can be reached at joetougas.com. Joe Tougas and Ann Fee make up the duo The Frye. The two will portray the characters Hank and Rita in Tougas’ first play, “That’s All it Took.” Photo courtesy of Mark Spencer
Mature Lifestyle SPRING 2015 17
Grown-up Spring Break W
hen you hear the term “spring break,” what comes
to mind? It’s likely images of party-
ing college students or theme parks packed to the brim with families.
Spring travel isn’t just for rowdy college students
If you’re looking to enjoy a spring break vacation that’s a little more off the beaten path – and a little more appealing for mature lifestyles – consider a destination that proves to be a hidden gem for more mature crowds, whether it be couples looking for romance or empty-nesters desiring a quick getaway. With a few insider tips and tricks, you can indulge your desire to travel by following this advice for planning a grown-up spring break vacation.
Photo courtesy of seniorsholidaytravel.com.au
18 SPRING 2015 Mature Lifestyle
Look for locations on the shoulder season The secret to enjoying a destination with fewer crowds is researching locations that are currently experiencing a shoulder season – times of the year that are adjacent to peak travel periods. One example is Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with a shoulder season in March, April and May, as well as September and October. During this time there are fewer crowds and enjoyable weather, averaging 60 to 70 degrees. Visit www.visitmyrtlebeach.com for more information.
Select off-the-beatenpath accommodations If you want a grown-up take on spring break, skip the mega-resorts and opt for more intimate accommodations. Research different neighborhoods and locally owned boutique hotels. Bed and breakfasts are a great option for a more relaxing and comfortable adult experience. Vacation homes are also ideal for an adult getaway. These homes can also be found in great locations while offering more room and privacy to make guests feel right at home.
Avoid tourist traps and research unique areas to explore Once you select a destination, research areas to explore that are less known to tourists. These places might include local favorites, a hidden beach a short drive up the shore, or a scenic town with loads of charm but not loads of people. No matter where you’re heading, a simple Google search or post
on social media is sure to provide plenty of unique ideas.
Leave time open for relaxation and exploration It’s your spring break, so make it exactly how you want it to be. There is no pressure to have a fully packed itinerary or to stay out late unless you want it that way. Leave time to read a book beachside, get up at dawn to watch the sun rise and hunt for shells, or take a siesta after lunch. You have no one to please but yourself, so leave the checklist of to-do’s at home and get into an adult vacationer’s frame of mind.
Sip and savor until your heart’s content For decades, adults looking to kick back and tempt their palates have visited wineries to pop open local bottles in beautiful surroundings. Today there is a new libation movement that can make for a fun activity on your grown-up spring break: microbrewery tours. Small, locally operated breweries offer an intimate look at the complicated process of beer brewing, including tours and samplings that allows guests to try a few pours.
Look for mature entertainment options Say goodbye to theme parks and splash zones, and say hello to theater, music, history and more when you include alternative entertainment options in your itinerary. Head to a historic locale, or take in a show at a local theater or auditorium. Spring break months are ideal for traveling, and even adults need a getaway from the winter blues. With these tips, you can plan your own grown-up spring break and enjoy the hidden gems of any destination. Source: Brandpoint
Tips for Traveling Abroad
en and women often dream of jetsetting around the world when they retire. Traveling the globe without worrying about timelines or what’s going on back at the office is something many retirees reward themselves with after a life of hard work. As liberating as world travel can be, retirees still must exercise caution when traveling abroad. The following are a few safety tips for retirees who are ready to make their dream retirements a reality by setting off for parts unknown. Stay in touch. Escapism is a big part of the attraction of travel for travelers young and old. But while you may want to avoid contact with the outside world on your travels, it’s still necessary to stay in touch with your loved ones. Retirees who plan to take extended trips overseas should purchase an international mobile phone plan that allows them to use their phones regardless of what country they happen to be in. A quick text message to a son or daughter back home is all it takes to let your family know you are safe and having the time of your life. Work out a communication plan with your loved ones back home before departing, agreeing to contact them via phone call, email or Skype at least once per week for the duration of your trip. Don’t store all of your important documents in one place. Storing all of your sensitive documents or financial items in one place is very risky, as a lost or stolen bag can leave you without identification or access to your funds. When traveling, couples should carry their own passports on their persons and split up credit cards and traveler’s cheques. This way you still have access to your funds, and one of you still has identification should items be lost or stolen. Do your homework. While unplanned day trips can add an element of spontaneity to a trip, they also can be quite dangerous if travelers have not done their
homework on a particular destination. You do not want to end up in a place where tourists are not welcome or frequent targets of criminals. In addition, you don’t want to visit a city or town and know nothing of its customs or etiquette. For example, locals may react negatively to visitors who have ignored accepted local standards for attire. Make sure you gather some background information from the Internet, locals where you are currently staying or the hotel concierge on a given locale and its customs before visiting. Make sure your health will not be compromised. Retirees cannot travel in the same manner they did in the carefree days of their youth. Before traveling abroad, visit your physician and get a full physical. Refill any medications you will need during your trip, and speak with your physician about how to handle any medical emergencies while overseas. Carry your physician’s name and telephone number with you at all times, so local medical professionals can contact him or her should you experience a medical emergency. Travel with friends or family if possible. If you have friends or family who also are retirees with time on their hands, organize a group trip abroad. Groups are less likely to be targeted by criminals than couples, and overseas trips with friends or family members can make trips overseas that much more memorable and enjoyable. Mature Lifestyle SPRING 2015 19
BOOK REVIEW by Terri Schlichenmeyer
All the Wrong Places by Philip Connors c.2015, W.W. Norton $25.95 / $28.95 Canada 256 pages
ou should have gone to bed earlier last night. You shouldn’t have watched TV until so late. You should’ve turned it off, set your alarm and gone to bed on time. Just staying up one night shouldn’t make you so tired. You should know better. Shoulda, coulda, woulda, as they say – missed opportunities, and cause for regret for a day or two, but in All the Wrong Places by Philip Connors, one phone call mighta made a difference. Phillip Connors and his brother, Dan, were as different as night and day. Both were the sons of a southern-Minnesota pig farmer, but that’s about where their similarities ended. They were one year apart, but had diverged in many ways shortly after toddlerhood. They were never really close. There was, therefore, no urgency for Connors the day his mother asked him to call Dan. Months had passed since their last conversation, which wasn’t uncommon. Connors was in the midst of a passionate reunion with a woman he loved, and he was about to start an internship with a Manhattan magazine publisher. A phone call, he reasoned, could wait. The next day, it was Connors who got the call. Dan was dead by his own hand. A year-and-a-half later, encumbered by guilt he couldn’t shake, Connors left New York for Montana. Missoula was “as fine a place as any to hide out” but after a time,
20 SPRING 2015 Mature Lifestyle
“New York beckoned once more.” He took a job at the Wall Street Journal and moved east with guilt in tow. For the next few years, Dan’s suicide was Connors’ constant companion. He imagined it from every angle, thought about Dan’s despair, and he anguished about the phone call never made and what effect it might have had on that day. He wondered if he really ever knew his brother at all. Connors read dark poetry and began to think that everyone he drew close was “doomed.” And then, while on vacation with a friend, Connors took a fact-finding side-trip to talk with Dan’s ex-fiancé. And there, he learned a truth… Oh, my. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book so filled with melancholy and despair than All the Wrong Places. And yet – from the aching repeat of the words, “I never saw him [her] again” to the understandable need to know more about his brother, it’s impossible to look away from the journey author Philip Connors took. The words he used pulled the emotional rug right out from under me, but I couldn’t stop reading or witnessing the edge-of-thecliff behavior he recalls. We know, of course, that he ultimately survives despondency as evidenced by what seems like a cathartic tale; in the meantime, his storytelling is first-class, and gut-punch powerful because he does. This is one of those beautifully-told books that you’ll read, hand-at-mouth. It’s a story of misplaced remorse, and the gap that loss can leave. And if you can handle that, then All the Wrong Places is a book you shouldn’t have any problem loving. Credit Mark Ehling
My Boy, Ben: A Story of Love, Loss and Grace by David Wheaton c.2014, Tristan Publishing $18.99 / $19.95 Canada 264 pages
e was a once-in-a-lifetime dog. From the moment you brought him home until the day he left, you never had a minutes’ problem. He was easy to teach, easy to trust, easy to love and, unfortunately, too easy to lose. You’ll never forget your once-in-a-lifetime dog – nobody does - and in the book My Boy, Ben, David Wheaton tells you about his. Years ago, there was always a dog or two at the Wheaton household. David Wheaton remembers several of them: big dogs, Husky-dogs, always ready to join a Minnesota boy with adventure in his heart. As the youngest of four kids, Wheaton cherished those dogs as his favorite playmates. As an adult and a world-traveling tennis pro, though, Wheaton knew that having a dog would mean asking his parents to help with the care while he was on the road. That was something they weren’t willing to do, so Wheaton continued to dream – until he received a note from his mother that mentioned a dog she happened to notice. The pooch, a Lab from a kennel in Iowa, had an easy-going demeanor and was textbook perfect, with a wedge-shaped head and soft brown eyes. Smitten, she didn’t waste any time in contacting the owner of the kennel and she quickly put down a deposit on a puppy that wasn’t even yet conceived. Wheaton was stunned at her uncharacteristic behavior – and he was overjoyed. A few months later, they picked up Ben. In the upper Midwest, says Wheaton, there are four distinct seasons and each had a memory attached to his years with Ben. In wanting a hunting dog, Wheaton turned to a reference book for guidance; fall, therefore, reminded him of taking Ben afield. Winter was spent skating on a nearby pond, with Ben loping along behind. In the spring, as soon as the ice melted to reveal
one of Minnesota’s lakes, Ben was in it. Summers were spent at the family’s cabin, exploring nearby woods and swimming. But as Ben aged, Wheaton tried to remember one thing: at the beginning of loving a dog, you know there’ll always be an end. His and Ben’s, he hoped, was years away… I liked My Boy, Ben, but there are two big surprises inside this book. I don’t think I’m ruining anything by telling you the first one: unlike other books that finish with the death of a dog, author David Wheaton puts Ben’s demise about halfway through this story. I wasn’t expecting that, and it was a pleasant aspect since it gives readers a leisurely chance to see what happens next. What happens next was the second surprise: this book then takes a heavy Biblical turn. That isn’t bad but, despite a few early-page Bible references, it was unexpected and therefore bears mentioning. Still, how could a dog parent resist a book like this? You can’t, so bring a box of tissues and settle in. For the inveterate Lab fan or anyone who’s every truly loved a dog, My Boy, Ben could be a once-in-a-lifetime book.
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HEADLINE WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE
Joel Moline & Faith Wicklund, “Low Fire Explorations” 2/13-3/15; Arts Center of Saint Peter 507-351-6521 Some Time Away Activity program for adults with memory loss 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every Wednesday Faith United Methodist Church, 801 Fourth Ave. NE, Waseca 507-834-4304 Men’s Event: Eat. Play. Live United. First ever Greater Mankato Area United Way Men’s Event 3/5, 6 p.m.; Kato Ballroom; 507-345-4551 Dan Duffy Band 3/6, WOW! Zone; 507-625-2695 Merely Players: “The Good Doctor” 3/6, 3/7, 3/13 & 3/14, 7:30 p.m.; and 3/8 and 3/15, 2 p.m.; Lincoln Community Center; firstname.lastname@example.org Portrait Painting Workshop with Robert A. Williams 3/6-3/20, 1:30 p.m. weekly every Friday Carnegie Art Center; 507-625-2730 Pops at the Kato, Mankato Symphony Orchestra 3/7, 7 p.m.; Kato Ballroom; 507-625-8880 3rd Annual MVAC Gourmet Soup Dinner 3/7, 5:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Minnesota State University Centennial Student Union Ballroom 507-345-6822 or visit www.mnvac.org MVL Booster Club Pork Chop Dinner 3/8, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School, rural New Ulm; 507-233-8692 Mankato Symphony Orchestra: Mozart and Beethoven – Pure Classical. Pure Joy. 3/8, 3 p.m.; Mankato West High School 507-625-8880 Pie & Coffee 3/10, 3 p.m. Heritage Meadows, 1302 Traverse Road, St. Peter; 507-931-8545
Where To Go & What To Do This Spring! Home Tweet Home Wine and Appetizer Tasting featuring a unique auction of hand painted birdhouses, planters, trellises and other garden accessories. 3/13, 6-9 p.m.; AmericInn, 240 Stadium Road; 507-388-2081 “Angels in America, Part II: Perestroika” 3/13, 7:30 p.m.; Anderson Theatre, Gustavus email@example.com Mary Guentzel, Amy Manette Scruggs & Just Us 3/13, 7:30 p.m.; WOW! Zone; 507-625-2695 Young Historians 3/14, 10 a.m. Blue Earth County Historical Society History Center, 415 Cherry Street, Mankato 507-345-5566 GAC faculty recital: Barbara Leibundguth, flute; Yumiko OshimaRyan, piano 3/14, 1:30 p.m. Bjorling Recital Hall, Gustavus firstname.lastname@example.org Warren Nelson & Rowan 3/14, 3 p.m.; 222 E Blue Earth Ave., Fairmont; 507-235-9262 Soup and Sandwich Seminar: Renewable Energy and Utilities – Friends or Foes? 3/18, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Melva Lind Interpretive Center, Linnaeus Arboretum, Gustavus email@example.com Muffins with the Mayor 3/19, 9 a.m. Good Samaritan Society - Heritage Meadows, 1302 W Traverse Rd, St. Peter 507-931-8545 Surrounded By History, Blue Earth County Historical Society fundraising gala 3/20, 6-9 p.m. Minnesota State University, Mankato Centennial Student Union Ballroom 507-345-5566
Neon Combo 3/20, 7:30 p.m.; WOW! Zone 507-625-2695 The Gustavus and Vasa Wind Orchestras in Concert 3/21, 1:30 p.m. Bjorling Recital Hall, Gustavus firstname.lastname@example.org MVL Auction 3/22, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. MVL Gymnasium, rural New Ulm 507-233-8692 The Gustavus Philharmonic Orchestra Spring Concert 3/22, 1:30 p.m. Bjorling Recital Hall, Gustavus email@example.com An Evening of Jazz Combos 3/22, 7:30 p.m. Bjorling Recital Hall, Gustavus firstname.lastname@example.org “boom” 3/25-28, 7:30 p.m. Andreas Theatre of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, Minnesota State Mankato; 507-389-6661 Nutrition in a Nutshell – Cooking for 1 or 2 3/26, 3 p.m. Good Samaritan Society - Heritage Meadows, 1302 W Traverse Rd, St. Peter 507-931-8545 Bourbon Street Duo 3/27, 7:30 p.m.; WOW! Zone; 507-625-2695 “The Pirates of Penzance” 4/9-11 & 16-18, 7:30 p.m. and 4/18 & 19, 2 p.m. Ted Paul Theatre of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, Minnesota State Mankato; 507-389-6661 The Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus in Concert 4/10, 7:30 p.m. Bjorling Recital Hall, Gustavus email@example.com The Theodicy Collective: Jazz, Justice and the Journey of Tradition 4/11; Christ Chapel & the Schaefer Fine Arts Center; firstname.lastname@example.org
Find more events, and more information, at greatermankatoevents.com. 22 SPRING 2015 Mature Lifestyle
Young Historians 4/11, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Blue Earth County Historical Society History Center, 415 Cherry Street, Mankato; 507-345-5566 The University of Minnesota Trombone Quartet in Concert 4/11, 1:30 p.m. Bjorling Recital Hall, Gustavus email@example.com Theodicy Jazz Collective Jazz Vespers 4/11, 6 p.m.; Christ Chapel firstname.lastname@example.org The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra’s Home Concert 4/12, 1:30 p.m.; Bjorling Recital Hall, Gustavus; email@example.com Mankato Symphony Orchestra: Music on the Hill – Inspiration 4/12; 2 p.m.; Good Counsel Chapel 507-625-8880 The Gustavus Women’s Chorus Invitational 4/14; Shrist Chapel & the Schaefer Fine Arts Center; firstname.lastname@example.org Pie & Coffee 4/14, 3 p.m. Heritage Meadows, 1302 Traverse Rd, St. Peter; 507-931-8545 Mankato Meltdown Weigh Out 2015 4/15, 4-8 p.m. Kato Entertainment Center 507-344-6325 Soup and Sandwich Seminar: The Gustavus Semester Abroad in Malaysia 4/15, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Interpretive Center, Linnaeus Arboretum, Gustavus; arboretum@gustavus. edu Echoes 4/17, 7:30 p.m.; WOW! Zone; 507-625-2695 Zonta Club: Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Event to raise awareness about violence against women 4/19, 9 a.m.; Riverfront Park email@example.com The Gustavus Jazz Lab Band Home Concert 4/19, 1:30 p.m. Bjorling Recital Hall, Gustavus
Mankato Symphony Orchestra: The Jewish Soul - Klezmer and Classical 4/19, 3 p.m.; Mankato West High School 507-625-8880 “Venus in Fur” 4/22-25, 7:30 p.m. Andreas Theatre of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, Minnesota State Mankato 507-389-6661 Quiltfest 2015 4/25, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and 4/26, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mankato National Guard Armory, 100 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. 507-385-1742 Mankato Symphony Orchestra: Haydn Go Seek - The Donkey 4/25, 11 a.m.; Mankato YMCA 507-625-8880 The Gustavus Percussion Ensemble Spring Concert 4/26, 1:30 p.m.; Bjorling Recital Hall, Gustavus; firstname.lastname@example.org 15th Annual Women’s Night Out 4/27; doors open at 4:30 p.m. City Center Hotel, downtown Mankato 507-387-8263 or visit http://mankatowomensnightout.com/ Jason Gray Concert 4/30, 7:30 p.m. First Presbyterian Church, 220 East Hickory Street, Mankato 507-387-2160 Spring Dance Concert 5/1-2, 7:30 p.m. and 5/2, 2 p.m. Ted Paul Theatre of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, Minnesota State Mankato 507-389-6661 Walk MS: Mankato 5/2, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Myers Field House, MSU, Mankato; 800-582-5296 The Gustavus Choir’s Spring Concert 5/2, 3:30 p.m.; Christ Chapel, Gustavus email@example.com The Gustavus Wind Orchestra Spring Concert 5/2, 7:30 p.m.; Bjorling Recital Hall, Gustavus; firstname.lastname@example.org Merely Players: “Guys and Dolls” 5/8, 9, 10, 15, 16, & 17, 7:30 p.m.; and 5/10 & 17, 2 p.m. Lincoln Community Center email@example.com
Young Historians 5/9, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Blue Earth County Historical Society History Center, 415 Cherry Street, Mankato 507-345-5566 Toast to Women 5/9, City Center Hotel, downtown Mankato Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Pie & Coffee 5/12, 3 p.m.; Heritage Meadows, 1302 Traverse Rd, St. Peter; 507-931-8545 The Choir of Christ Chapel Home Concert 5/12, 7:30 p.m.; Christ Chapel, Gustavus email@example.com Toast of Spring: Educare Benefit 5/15, 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mankato Symphony Orchestra: Kiss Me, Kate – A Broadway Classic 5/17; 3 p.m.; Mankato West High School 507-625-8880 The 2015 BrassWorks! 5/17, 3:30 p.m. Bjorling Recital Hall, Gustavus email@example.com The 2015 Season Finale, with Gustavus Wind Orchestra and Concerto/Aria Winners 5/30, 8 p.m. Bjorling Recital Hall, Gustavus firstname.lastname@example.org ArtSplash Art Fair 6/20; 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. North Mankato Taylor Library 1001 Belgrade Ave., North Mankato Henderson Sauerkraut Days 6/26; 10:00 a.m.-1:00 a.m. Bender Park, Henderson, MN 952-200-5684 Blooming Pretty Garden Tour 6/28, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Mankato, MN Barb at 507-389-5945 Golf Classic Wine & Beer Tasting 7/13; 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. New Ulm Country Club 507-380-3084
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“It’s the open conversations I have with my doctor that help me thrive.” —Mary Jo Hustoles Mary Jo has taught school, worked as a consultant and raised a family. She is an active volunteer and is remodeling a home built in 1881. She’ll tell you she’s thriving because of her partnership with her doctor and an awareness of her health. Dr. Michael Fraley has helped her through breast cancer and now he’s helping her work on her risk factors–keeping her weight down and her cholesterol and blood pressure under control so she can stay as strong, active and healthy as she is now.