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December 2014

for Boomers and Beyond

The Holidays Make them merry, healthy and safe Whatever your winter holiday celebration— Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the winter solstice— chances are you’ll be brightening the days with lots of lights, food and good cheer. Help keep those times festive and fun with these suggestions for a safe and healthy season.

Around your hearth From Yule logs to Hanukkah candles, from oil lamps to luminarias, fire lights up many winter celebrations. To safely enjoy the glow: •

Decorate with candles wisely. Place them where drafts, children or pets can’t topple them—and well away from anything flammable (like curtains). Stow matches where kids can’t find them. Man the lights. Turn decorative lights off whenever you aren’t home and before going to bed each night. An electrical short in a string of bulbs could start a fire. De-clutter the fireplace. If you open gifts near a fireplace, clean up after you’re done. Paper, ribbons, bags and bows can ignite near a flame.

Around your table What’s a holiday without delicious (and often fattening) food? Mind your family’s waistlines by serving plenty of fruits and vegetables along with smaller portions of traditional treats. Also, reduce the risk that an unwanted guest—food

poisoning—will visit after you’ve cooked and served that fabulous fare: • Make sure kitchen helpers wash their hands often, and remind them to keep all surfaces squeaky clean. • Don’t thaw meat on the counter—thaw it in the refrigerator instead. • Close down the buffet after two hours. Perishable foods need to be packed up and put in the refrigerator promptly at that time. Around your heart The winter holidays warm hearts, but they can also trigger anxious feelings. To help keep stress to a minimum: • Be honest with your kids and other family about your gift budget, particularly if money is a little tight this year. • Ask for help. Holidays are more fun when everyone participates. • Be lighthearted. Look for humor in the inevitable holiday muddles. A perfect dessert is nice today, but you’ll laugh for years about the time the whole pumpkin pie fell on the dog. When you meet holiday challenges with humor, your kids receive an invaluable gift: a life lesson in flexibility and resilience.

• Finally, turn down the lights at a reasonable hour and get a good, long winter night’s sleep.

We wish you a wonderful holiday. If you need us, our emergency department is always open. The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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December 2014



BOOM!, The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


December 2014

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

Volume 5 Issue 6

Carl Bard

Thought Relationships Taste Inspiration

Humor Advice Health Community

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis

3 Jackson Hospital’s Health News 6 Publisher’s Letter 8 BOOM! Cover Nominations 9 Tis the Season in Capitol Heights 10 Dating Advice: Dating Mistakes the 50-plus Woman Makes 11 Dance Party for Alzheimer’s Patients 16 BOOM! Cover Profile page 11

20 Online SCAMS

Features 24 “Brain Trash” A Drawing Everyday...

Departments 12 This and That

Now You’re “In the Know”

19 Who you callin’ grandma?

29 Retired Couple

Visiting National Parks is Their Hobby

33 Canine Companions Are Good For You...

22 Why MEN Should... Dr. Thomas Cawthon 26 Nothing Worth Fighting Over Ask an Elder Law Attorney 28 BOOM! Ad Rates

44 {12} Things

Solutions for Bored Boomers

46 Greg Budell


30 Addressing Hearing Loss Makes You Feel Younger?? 32 Your Holiday Fitness Program 34 “Right Now Time” with Brandt McDonald




page 16

Judith Ivy Hayden, Phase Two

38 Buzz the Bikeman page 33

page 12

39 Ethel Percy Andrus, Founder, AARP 41 Hospice-Hands of Hope 42 Brrrrrrr...Holiday Freezing Tips with Tracy Bhalla

page 45 BOOM! The River Regions 50+ Lifestage Magazine is published monthly by River Region Publications, 6398 Eastwood Glen Pl., Montgomery, AL 36117. The phone number for voice and fax is 334.523.9510. Copyright 2014 by River Region Publications. No part of this publication can be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Opinions expressed in BOOM! The River Regions 50+ Lifestage Magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the owners, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products and services herein.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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December 2014



Publisher’s Letter

The Maestro The mission of BOOM! is to serve the folks of the River Region age 50 plus with information and ideas to inspire new experiences, better quality of life and new beginnings.


Jim Watson, 334.523.9510

Associate Editor Kelly Watson

Contributing Writers Sandi Aplin Tracy Bhalla Greg Budell

Stacey Burling Dr. Thomas Cawthon Lisa Copeland Thomas Hinds Susan Jacobson Brandt McDonald Karen Pell Leigh Anne Richards Jeanne Claire Van Ryzin Katie Slade Brittany Spahr Allison Steele Jim Stingl K.C. Summers Raley L. Wiggins Kathy Witt

This month’s Cover Profile is a favorite of many readers because they probably feel like they already know him because he’s been on the music scene in Montgomery for 31 years. He’s Maestro Thomas Hinds, the conductor of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra (MSO). Thomas has led most of us in the River Region to a greater appreciation of MSO because he has proactively engaged the community with his music. The free concerts provided each year have made us all stand up and applaud his efforts in bringing us all together for a night of music under the stars. It was a real treat to spend some time with Thomas recently and we especially liked it when Jim Watson, Publisher he shared photos of his new son Christopher. He’s a proud papa. It was fun getting to know Thomas and I’m sure you will enjoy getting to know him and his family too. There are many interesting articles in this month’s issue. Like dancing therapy for Alzheimer’s patients where one participant described it as “Dancing is hugs in motion.” Leigh Anne Richards has what we all need for Christmas...a Holiday Fitness Plan! Brandt McDonald coaches us to take some “Right Now Time” and begin planning our financial futures. Greg Budell shares a special story about a special man from Tallassee. We have plenty the 68 year old artist who challenge himself to draw something everyday and now has more than 1200 drawings in an exhibit called Brain Trash. Can you imagine visiting every National Park in the U.S.? Well someone has and we’ll give a glimpse into their adventure. I hope you’ll find some value as you read through this month’s issue, I’ve been told many times, it’s the best reading experience for the 50 + community in the River Region and we will strive to make it so. As always, thanks for being part of what we do. Your comments are the most valuable part of publishing BOOM! each month. Please continue sharing, I love to listen. Remember, you can read and share the Digital & Interactive BOOM! online at Thanks again for being part of our BOOM! Community. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday!

Cover Photography Kim Bethea The Studio @ EastChase

Jim 334.239.3196 334.324.3472 cell/text 334.523.9510 office


Jim Watson, 334.523.9510

Design & Layout Lake House Graphics


DIGITAL and INTERACTIVE? When you read the Digital version of BOOM! at

Network Delivery, you will be interactive with every


website and email in the magazine. You can click through

Publications Press, Montgomery, AL 334.244.0436

to your favorite advertiser’s website or send them an email

Please Recycle This Magazine, Share with a Friend!

requesting more info. You will also learn more from our articles because if there’s more information to learn you can click the link and go learn more! “The best reading experience for the 50+ community”


December 2014

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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December 2014



Fantasy In Lights at Callaway Gardens

This holiday season marks the 23rd anniversary of Fantasy In Lights® - named one of the “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights” by National Geographic Traveler - Fantasy In Lights features 8 million lights stretching more than five miles, creating 15 largerthan-life holiday scenes. You can experience the light and sound extravaganza on the “Jolly Trolley” or by driving through the lighted scenes in your personal vehicle. The sparkling, animated displays include Snowflake Valley, a winter wonderland filled with enormous snowflakes and thousands of white lights; Magical Christmas Garden with a 24-foot wreath entrance; and Santa’s Workshop, showcasing animated versions of Santa’s elves busy making toys for the big night. Two “don’t miss” scenes are on Robin Lake Beach and are both narrated: ’Twas the Night Before Christmas and The Nativity. Each lasts approximately 10 minutes. Fantasy in Lights runs through Dec. 30. Purchasing tickets in advance, meaning prior to the day of visit, is strongly advised and provides discounted price. Advance ticket prices* start at $17* for adults and $8.50* for children, children 5 and younger are always admitted for free. Tickets purchased on the same-day of visit are $28* for adults and $14* for children, and will be sold on a first-available basis. For more information visit or call 800.463.6990.


December 2014

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Tis the Season in Capitol Heights Fa la la la la--Tis the Season to be Jolly, and a jolly time is promised for the Capitol Heights by Candlelight Christmas Tour. The popular annual event will begin at 4:00 on December the 13, 2014 with Grand Marshall Olivia Deas from WNCFTV lighting the first luminary, and Father Ioannis Vernikos blessing the tour. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased on the day of the tour at the Annunciation Greek Orthrodox Church at the corner of South Capitol Parkway and Mt Meigs Rd. The beautiful church is the beginning of the tour which continues to over eight homes along historic South Capitol Parkway. The median on the parkway will be lighted, and homes decorated for Christmas inside and out. “Decking halls with boughs of holly” might not be very common, but count on Christmas trees loaded with ornaments, fireplace mantles stacked with a variety of seasonal pretties (perhaps some gas logs will allow us to “see the blazing yule before us!”), and lights, lights, and more lights. Adding to the celebration, carolers and musicians will “troll the ancient yule tide carols” and some new ones too! Santa will make an appearance and, regardless of his infamous appetite, there will be plenty of homemade cookies and warm cider for guests to enjoy along the tour. New elements this year include memorial luminaries, provided in honor of their loved ones by the Capitol Heights neighborhood, and gingerbread houses in several of the homes created by the children at Brantwood Children’s Home. One of Montgomery’s first suburbs, Capitol Heights is so named for its location above Downtown. In 1904 the Capitol Heights Development Company bought the area now known as South Capitol Parkway, and the adjoining 200 acre Vickers Plantation, and promoted lots and homes for the Capitol Heights neighborhood. South Capitol Parkway was modeled after Green Street in Augusta, Georgia, which is the epitome of the park landscape concept made popular in the early 1900s by Frederick Olmsted, that we still enjoy today. Capitol Heights was incorporated as a municipality in 1908; it became a part of Montgomery in 1926. Some notable historical points on the tour include the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, which was built by the Greek community in Montgomery; the first service was the Divine Liturgy of Christmas Day in 1947. Ken Reynold’s home was built in 1913 by Capitol Heights mayor and developer Frank S. Lasseter. Cindy and Rob Thornhill’s home was built by Dr. James Buchannan in 1916. Dr. Buchannon saw patients in an office on the side of the house. The house is also known for innovative remodeling designs, such as the “wild kingdom bathroom,” by “Uncle Buddy” in the late 1960s. Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Kratzer’s home was moved to its current location from Washington Street near the Capitol in 1910. Most of the homes show an influence of the Craftsman style, identified by long porches with decorative beams and roof rafters, and other elements of the “bungalow.” This is the 27th year of the Capitol Heights neighborhood “Decking the Halls” and inviting the public to its home to “tell (and show!)of yuletide treasures” during its Capitol Heights by Candlelight Christmas tour. Check out the special tour web site at Tickets are $10.00 and available for purchase the day of the tour at the Annunciation Greek Orthrodox Church on South Capitol Parkway. The tour features the church and homes on South Capitol Parkway. It starts at four and ends at 7:00 so “don [your] gay apparel” and join “in merry measure.” Fa la la la la indeed. Karen Pell The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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December 2014




With Lisa Copeland

Dating Mistakes the 50-plus Woman Makes

The reason I’m such a strong advocate for online dating is because I know it’s the easiest place to meet single men 50 and older. The problem is no one gives you the rules for being successful with it. In fact, I’ve found three common mistakes women 50 and older consistently make that end up totally frustrating them in their search for Mr. Right. It’s time to change that. And that’s why I’d like to share these three mistakes with you, along with what you can do to successfully find a great guy online. Mistake No. 1 - Not displaying your unique you! Having success finding quality men to date online starts with posting a great profile and picture that makes you stand out from everyone else online.

The first sentence is heavy and a man reads it as this woman is still bitter from a past relationship where a man didn’t give much. The second sentence is very general and subjective. What comfortable in your own skin means to you could be totally different than what it means to a man. It’s a broad sentence that again won’t engage a man to contact you. Instead, write the list of qualities you want in a man, and then create a story using a couple of those qualities along with one or two of the activities you love to do. This type of profile will engage a man, helping him identify that he’s the one you are looking for. Mistake No. 2 - Forgetting to play. Dating feels like a chore when you don’t know how to play and flirt with men either online or in the real world.

Most women usually list their qualities in their profile as a way of getting a man’s attention. An example is... I am a kind hearted, professional woman who likes to travel, be around water, shop, and go to movies.

I used to recommend not writing men first because most women would write something like this... I like your profile. It sounds like we have so much in common. I hope you’ll write me back.

Although a sentence like this gives a lot of information about you ... it reads like a dating resume. It’s dry and does nothing to make you stand out. And there’s nothing in it that would get a man excited about meeting you.

BORING! BORING! STILL BORING! Go ahead and write a man but be playful. As an example ... a man is wearing a suit in his picture. Write him and say something like...

Here are two examples of sentences I’ve seen when it comes to describing the men women want to meet. _ I’m seeking a man who is truly interested in working on a relationship and willing to give at least 50 percent to a relationship. _ I would like someone who is easy to talk to, comfortable in their own skin, and is willing to enjoy whatever life has to offer.

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I love when a man wears a suit. He looks really sexy. It’s flirty, fun and engaging and a man feels good hearing this. A secret about men ... they love compliments just like you do and this is the type of flirting that allows you to choose the men you want to go out with, versus always being chosen by men you don’t want. No one taught you how to do this either online or in the real world. You are still a beautiful, sensual woman and flirting

brings this out in you. It’s unbelievably appealing to men! Mistake No. 3 - Not knowing how to relate to the 50 and older alpha men. I’ve found most women want an alpha man in their life. Why? Because he makes her feel safe and protected and that comes directly from the days of the cavemen and the cave women, where a man was responsible for keeping his family safe or they’d die. Life has changed since then and so have women who are now capable of doing this for themselves. And this has created a huge problem for men. Why? Men don’t feel needed by women our age anymore. And when a man doesn’t feel needed, guess who he turns to? That’s right ... a younger woman who can make an alpha man feel his strongest and best because he’s needed. Let me ask you a question, “Do you know whether you’re an alpha or a beta female?” You need to be able to identify this because it’s a major key to who the perfect man is for you. And it’s exactly what members discover in class No. 3 of my dating mentorship group along with how to talk to a man so he can hear you. Women don’t realize that the way they talk sounds like, “Wah-wah-wah,” to a man. He tunes you out and as you know, this only frustrates you more. But if you really get who men are and you know how to talk with them so they hear you ... well, they’ll literally jump through hoops and climb over mountains to be there for you. And that feels pretty good! Lisa Copeland, “The Dating Coach Who Makes Dating Fun and Easier after 50!” Find out more at (c)2014, Lisa Copeland, Distributed by MCT Information Services

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Dance Party for Alzheimer’s Patients

By Susan Jacobson, Orlando Sentinel

Roy Ray, 74, and his wife, Joan, 70, stepped lively on the dance floor to the World War II-era tune “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” as fellow dancers cut a rug around them. For an hour, the Florida couple wrapped themselves in music and camaraderie, which provided an escape from perhaps the most sobering challenge of their 51 year marriage: Joan Ray has Alzheimer’s disease. “One of the biggest things for both of us is to get out and not think of the problem _ so it’s kind of a respite for both of us,” Roy Ray said. “We don’t have to sit around and worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow.” The Rays were among half a dozen couples at the Crosby YMCA one Saturday for “Ballroom for the Brain,” a pilot program sponsored by the Central and North Florida chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and the Orlando chapter of USA Dance. The weekly dance party is designed to stimulate the minds and bodies of people in the early stages of dementia. “It’s a failure-free environment,” said Julie Shatzer, director of programs for the Alzheimer’s Association, who cofounded Ballroom for the Brain with John Davis, president of the Orlando chapter of USA Dance. Ballroom dance requires participants to remember steps, move to music, make split-second decisions, trust a partner and communicate nonverbally, skills that proponents hope will help people with the disease. The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

“You’re touching, relating to someone; you have to manage complex steps,” Davis said. Volunteers from USA Dance guided couples with a gentle touch on the back and also served as dance partners. Volunteer Mary Jane Williams, 66, has firsthand insight into the devastation of the progressive brain affliction. Her husband, Robert Lee Williams Jr., died of the disease in 2009. Williams danced with her husband during his illness, and she encourages other couples to kick up their heels, too, whether out or at home. “You’ve never seen anyone frowning on a dance floor,” she said. “Everyone is happy.” An estimated 480,000 Floridians have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Instructor Carl Free explained each dance, allowing for a little practice first. He started with a merengue to “Feeling Hot Hot Hot,” moved on to a waltz to “Fascination” and later let the couples try a swing dance to “Great Balls of Fire.” “Do you remember what to do with your feet?” Free asked. “So you turn her out, then turn her back, then scoop her up,” he explained. “Slow, slow, quick, quick,” he said, demonstrating. In between, volunteers, including 16-yearold Jarrett Pellicane and his mom, Susanne Sabbatino of Maitland, gave brief ballroomdance exhibitions. At the end, everyone chatted over refreshments. “I think it’s great that they’re trying to get people excited about dancing,” said Jarrett, a competitive dancer.

Most, such as Genevieve Keel, are 75 and older.

Jerry Publicover, 78, of Apopka loved to dance in his youth. He showed his wife of 55 years, Carol, that he still remembered some of the old moves.

The afternoon was a time for Keel, 93, to socialize with other seniors and celebrate what she is still able to do. She had plenty of partners, including her daughter, Paula Anderson. “I think it’s lovely,” said Keel, who lives with Anderson and Anderson’s husband in MetroWest. “It’s good exercise.” Keel and the other women wore red dresses, the men wore black and everyone wore a smile.

“Dancing is hugs in motion,” Jerry Publicover said. For more information, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800.272.3900 or visit (c)2014 The Orlando Sentinel Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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December 2014




This & tHAT The 30A Songwriters Festival

The 30A SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL has announced the initial line-up for the 2015 celebration of singers and songs. The 6th annual festival will feature performances by esteemed artists Graham Nash, Indigo Girls, Leon Russell, Jason Isbell, Shawn Mullins, Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek), Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket). Also confirmed are Jeffrey Steele, Chely Wright, Bobby Bare Jr., Steve Poltz, Angaleena Presley, Over the Rhine, Jesse Harris, Mary Gauthier, Hayes Carll, Bob Schneider, Ellis Paul, Allison Moorer, Deana Carter and Peter Karp & Sue Foley. Graham Nash has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice (with The Hollies in 2010 and with Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1997) as well as the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009. Simply put, he is one of music’s most legendary singer songwriters and vocal harmony singers (and a renowned photographer and leading activist in our society). Leon Russell, a fellow inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, could be famous for his session work in the 60’s (the Byrds, the Beach Boys, Phil Spector’s hits are just a few) or his band leadership and production work with Bob Dylan, Delaney & Bonnie, Joe Cocker and George Harrison, or for writing “A Song For You” covered by dozens of hit makers. Alas he is famous for all of these as well as the fact that no one has ever captivated arena rock audiences more than Leon Russell sitting at or standing on a grand piano. The 30A Songwriters Festival takes place January 16-18 along scenic highway 30a in Northwest Florida. There will be 150 artists and 25 venues. for more info visit

Elf Chaser 5K with Fleet Feet Montgomery! Save the date for Hampstead’s first ever Elf Chaser 5K with Fleet Feet Sports Montgomery Saturday, December 13! Join us for a fun run or walk through the community and Hampstead Lake with our friends at Fleet Feet Sports Montgomery. All 5K runners and walkers will automatically be entered to win door prizes (wear a holiday costume or outfit for an extra entry!) Race starts and ends at The Tipping point. Be sure to stick around afterwards for your postrun drink of choice! The Elf Chaser 5K starts at 8:30 a.m. Registration opens at 8. No fee for entry!

Montgomery Symphony Presents “Holiday Pops” Join Thomas Hinds and the Montgomery Symphony for an evening of holiday music guaranteed to put everyone in a festive mood. The concert will be presented on Monday, December 15th, at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center at 7:30 pm and will feature everything from Silent Night to Sleigh Ride. Celebrated baritone Michael Hix will join the Orchestra as the guest soloist in favorite pops and sacred melodies of the season. The Holiday Pops Concert is generously sponsored by John and Joyce Caddell and the Caddell Foundation. For more information about MSO visit For tickets, please call the MPAC box office at 334-481-5100 or visit their website at

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December 2014

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

BOOMERS, share your stuff with BOOM! We Love to Bring BOOMERS Together, send info and pics to

The Cloverdale Playhouse Presents “It’s a Wonderful Life” This beloved American holiday classic comes to captivating life as a live 1940s radio broadcast on the Playhouse stage. With the help of an ensemble that brings dozens of characters to life, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve. “One of the best holiday shows around. This is a fresh and inventive way of reconnecting with a classic story of love and redemption.”-Chicago Sun-Times “A fresh theatrical context that creates just the right kind of retro warmth. If you cry every time you see the movie, you’ll be blubbering away right on cue…Guaranteed.” -Chicago Tribune. Directed by Greg Thornton. Performance dates are December 11th – 14th and December 18 – 21st. for more information call 334.262.1530 or visit for tickets.

Oak Grove Inn Residents Show Their “Colors”

Oak Grove Inn residents got a chance to show their school colors as they prepared for this year’s Iron Bowl. The Oak Grove Inn annual Tailgate Party featured both school mascots, Aubie and Big Al! The residents proved once again you’re never too old to enjoy one of America’s great rivalries, Alabama vs Auburn! If you want to know more call 215.8881 or visit

Sounds of the Season a “Festival of Lessons and Carols” The Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 6610 Vaughn Road, Montgomery, will present Sounds of the Season a “Festival of Lessons and Carols” service at 4:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary featuring the Chancel Choir, Joyful Bells, Praise Singers, Youth Choir, Worship Team and Carol Choir on Sunday, December the 14th at 4:00 p.m. For more information call the Aldersgate church office at 272.6152, or visit

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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December 2014



This & tHAT



The Kiss Your mouth is home to 700 different kinds of bacteria, and you may have wondered just how many germs you’re getting--or giving!--when you swap spit with someone else. A new study, just published in the journal Microbiome, provides the answer (germaphobes, you might want to look away now): In a 10 second kiss, an average of 80 million bacteria are transferred. Researchers focused on intimate kissing, “involving full tongue contact and saliva exchange ... unique to humankind and common in over 90 percent of known cultures.” A steamy tongue kiss might transfer 80 million bacteria, but according to a “Kiss-O-Meter” installed at the Micropia Museum, only 1000 bacteria are transferred by a quick smooch. Pucker up!

A Tacky Christmas Sweater Extravaganza! Family, friends and fruitcake make the holidays fun – but only eggnog can take the edge off the stress that can result from the all holiday frenzy! Come experience the joy and the music of Christmas with the Wetumpka Depot Player’s original work, Eggnog and Fruitcake: A Tacky Christmas Sweater Extravaganza! Audiences are sure to see their own families exposed as the Depot celebrates the good, the bad and the hilarious side of our holiday traditions. Depot Executive Director Kristy Meanor is excited about the Depot’s first holiday show for adults. “ The Depot Players have a 11 year history of providing holiday shows to school audiences and now we are delighted to include our adult audiences. We hope our patrons will take a break from holiday hustle and bustle and join us us for some cabaret style Christmas cheer” said Meanor. “The original script takes a humorous and nostalgic look at holidays and especially the traditions here in the Deep South. Some of the stories were even contributed by the actors in the show – and the music ranges from holiday classics to an original lament on the three most dreaded words in the English Language – Some Assembly Required!” Audiences are invited to play along and wear their tackiest Christmas sweater for a chance to win some special prizes during each performance. Eggnog and Fruitcake performances are December 11, 12, 18 at 730pm and December 14 at 2pm. Tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at 334.868.1440 or online at

Baptist Medical Center East Expansion Baptist Health is pleased to announce its newest expansion to the health system. In January 2015, construction will begin on a new wing of Baptist Medical Center East to grow the women’s services department and add an intensive care step down unit. The $5.5 million dollar project will add 26 patient rooms to the postpartum area of women’s services and a new four bed intensive care step down unit, expanding and upgrading to better serve a growing patient base. The new wing will allow for improved patient and staff flow to and from labor and delivery as well as to the nursery, neonatal intensive care unit, pediatrics and the postpartum areas. “These rooms will be twice the size of our current postpartum rooms, providing much more room to our new families and their visitors,” said Jeff Rains, Chief Executive Officer of Baptist Medical Center East. The ICU step down unit will be used for patients that have either been discharged from the critical care areas or need a higher level of care than a general medical/surgical floor. Local contractor Bear Brothers Construction, Inc. will build the addition. The project is scheduled to be completed by November 2015.

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December 2014

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

River Region Facial Plastics Charity Sale Recipient Announced Dr. Thomas Cawthon and Dr. Michael Bowman, along with the staff at River Region Facial Plastics, recently hosted a Charity Jewelry Sale as a way to give back to the community in which they serve. Shoppers and visitors were able to enter their favorite local charity into a drawing to win 100% of the proceeds from the sale. The winner was announced on Friday, November 14 on the RRFP Facebook page and Hospice of Montgomery was selected in the drawing and received over $1800.00 in proceeds! View the winners presentation here . River Region Facial Plastics thanks those who stopped, shopped and/or helped spread the word about the charity sale. They plan to continue the tradition next year. For more info call 334.270.2003 or visit

Living Well Alabama Chronic Disease Self Management Program By attending these classes you will get the support you need, find practical ways to deal with pain and fatigue, discover better nutrition and exercise choices, understand new treatment choices, and learn better ways to talk with your doctor and family about your health. If you have a chronic condition, live with someone with a chronic condition, or take care of someone with a chronic condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic pain , arthritis, anxiety or depression, the Living Well Alabama Workshop can help you take charge of your life. Although our target group is individuals 60+, an individual of any age that meets the above description can attend. You will join a free 2 hour class, held each week for six weeks, learn from trained volunteer leaders with health conditions themselves and set your own goals and make a step-bystep plan to improve your health. The next class will be at Fain Senior Center, 120 Cotton Street, Wetumpka, AL 36092. Classes will be held Wednesdays 1-3:30 pm, Beginning January 7th through February 11th. Registration Required: Call 334.240.4666 to register. Living Well Alabama is funded by Central Alabama Aging Consortium through a grant from the Alabama Department of Senior Services.

FREE Estate Planning Workshop Wednesday, December 10: Hosted by Red Oak Legal, PC: 2-4 pm at the Archibald Senior Center (MACOA) in Montgomery. This educational workshop presented by local attorney Raley L. Wiggins covers wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives, living wills, probate administration, protecting assets from creditors, bankruptcy, divorce and remarriage, nursing homes, long-term care and Medicaid qualification. Registration is required. Call 334-625-6774 today to reserve your seat or register online at

Twenty-Nine Area Nonprofits to Offer “Gifts of Hope” The Work Area on Church and Society of First United Methodist Church today announced that twentynine area nonprofit groups will participate in the second annual River Region Alternative Gift Fair. The groups include many well-known organizations as well as a few groups who are more recent arrivals on the River Region nonprofit scene. They feature a wide variety of missions, including: feeding the hungry; improving housing; assisting homeless and other persons to achieve stability; supporting families and children in need; teaching literacy, leadership, and life skills to adults and youth; protecting the natural world; and caring for those with health or other therapeutic needs. The participating groups are as follows: Aid to

Inmate Mothers - Boys & Girls Ranches of Alabama - Bridge Builders Alabama - Center for Child and Adolescent Development, a project of Glenwood, Inc. - Central Alabama Laubach Literacy Council - Child Protect - Children’s Advocacy Center - EAT South - Family Promise of Alabama - Family Sunshine Center - HandsOn River Region—Christmas Clearing House - Hope Inspired Ministries - Hospice of Montgomery - House to House Community Development - Mary Ellen’s Hearth at Nellie Burge - Medical Outreach Ministries - Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless - Montgomery Area Council On Aging—Meals On Wheels - Montgomery Area Nontraditional Equestrians (MANE) - Montgomery Habitat for Humanity - Montgomery Humane Society - Reality & Truth Ministries - Rebuilding Together Central Alabama - Renascence - Sav-A-Life Montgomery - Society of St. Andrew - The Faces of Diabetes - The Samaritan Counseling Center - United Methodist Children’s Home - Women of Refined Gold. The River Region Alternative Gift Fair is Saturday, December 6th 10-2 pm and is located in the

Drum Theater of Huntingdon College’s Cloverdale Campus (formerly Cloverdale Junior High School), 1125 East Fairview Avenue, in Montgomery. For more information visit R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m December 2014 BOOM! 15 The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


Diana Bunch Photography (specializing in Pet Pawtography)

Thomas Hinds Maestro & Daddy

Thomas and Katerina share the many faces of parenting with Christopher

This month’s BOOM! profile is Thomas Hinds. You know him as the Maestro and conductor of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra (MSO). Thomas has been presenting lively music to audiences in the River Region for 31 years. In fact, Broadway Under The Stars and the Jubilee Pops Concert, are two of the best attended concerts of the year. They are a gift for our community and a pleasure to enjoy whether you have a ticket or not because they are free to everyone. The music of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra has made a lasting impact on the quality of life in the River Region and that musical impact has been led by Thomas Hinds. We hope you’ll take time to enjoy many of the concerts performed by MSO and experience one of the qualities of life here in the River Region. Thomas is also a new daddy! His wife Katerina and new son Christopher bring much joy to our experienced Maestro. He recently shared some of his life’s journey with us at Troy University’s Davis Theatre, which Thomas referred to as his “Living Room” because he has conducted more than 150 concerts from that historic stage. We hope you enjoy getting to know Thomas as much as we have.

BOOM!: Please give us a brief biography, i.e. where you’re from, education, what brought you to the Montgomery area, married, family, schools, etc?

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Thomas: As a small boy I lived in the country in northern Minnesota; we moved to North Carolina in 1957, and I went to school there, graduating from UNC-CH in 1970. In 1972, after graduate school and freelancing, I joined the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, where I worked until 1982. During the late 1970’s, I went to summer institutes in the US and Germany to study conducting and after a “long and winding road”, found myself in Montgomery beginning in 1983, when I became Music Director of the MSO. I am married to Katerina Juraskova, a Canadian of Czech origin, and we have a son, Christopher, now all of 6 months old. BOOM!: Music seems to be part of your DNA, could you describe your musical journey, and what it means to lead the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra (MSO)? Thomas: It seems as if music came to me; I discovered classical music almost by accident, later than most who end up in the profession, but it became clear, step by step, that it was what I was to do. It was a long, rather consuming pursuit to become a conductor, and it is an extraordinary thing to be here, doing this, for this community. It is a great gift to be

given a chance to be part of something bigger than I am, and I think I might be the luckiest man I ever met. BOOM!: Under your leadership, you have made the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra (MSO) an important part of the quality of life in the River Region, especially with your free concerts like Broadway Under The Stars and the Jubilee Pops Concert. Would you share how rewarding some of these special events have been to you and MSO? Are you having as much fun as it looks? Thomas: Actually, there are hundreds of people who have made the MSO a part of our quality of life, and I’m happy to have had a hand in it. As to our outdoor concerts, I think we all enjoy the music of course, but it is the people of the Montgomery area who have made these concerts into really significant community events. We have thousands of people who get up from their living rooms and come together in order to enjoy something fun and beautiful in the company of friends and neighbors. THAT’s what makes these concerts into community events, and it is just excellent to be part of it all. And yes, I have a great time!

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

community’s life and that doesn’t happen everywhere. On a personal level, I know and have known the most remarkable people here, from all walks of life, that I admire and care for.

basic music skills like pitch, rhythm, etc. It is understood quite well by now that studying an instrument, particularly a stringed instrument, has huge benefits for a child’s development in terms of

Diana Bunch Photography (specializing in Pet Pawtography)

BOOM!: One of the more exciting innovations of MSO is how you have reached out to the youth in the River Region. Would you describe some of the ways you have connected MSO to students in our community and the benefits of their experience? What is the Montgomery Music Project and how are you involved?

BOOM!: Many Boomers are experiencing a renewed sense of purpose, new goals, and new challenges. How would you describe this sense of renewal in your life? Any advice for the rest of us seeking renewal? Thomas: The biggest sense of renewal I’ve found is in my family from day to day - becoming a parent late in life is quite an adventure. And in the rest of it all, the sense of renewal for me comes more from a deepening of understanding or involvement than from novelty. It’s a quieter sort of renewal, perhaps..

Diana Bunch Photography (specializing in Pet Pawtography)

Diana Bunch Photography (specializing in Pet Pawtography)

Thomas: The first way we connect with young people is the same way Thomas Hinds, The Maestro, conducts the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra later academic achievement, spatial we do with old people and everyone in relationships, coordination, perseverance, between; we offer music that has moved BOOM!: What are you most passionate self- discipline, social skills, self-esteem people for generation upon generation. about? and more. And in the process, The measure of this singular music is the kids have a terrific time. not where it came from, but to whom Thomas: My It’s worth every dime and it speaks, and there are thousands of family, first. Then, every minute we put into it. people here in Montgomery, young the significance I am involved as a supporter, and old, that would love this music and and importance a member of their Board of don’t yet know it. We have to present of the music we Advisers, and all the advocacy I it, present it well, and help people “get make and the can offer. there”, past all the preconceptions institution we and image issues. And so it’s good to have here in the BOOM!: You are start early, like MSO. celebrating your it is anything 31st season as the worthwhile. And BOOM!: How Music Director and remembering that do you like to Thomas now and then (1983) Conductor of the Montgomery we are a volunteer relax and wind down from a long day of Symphony Orchestra. What community rehearsal? is it about living in the orchestra, we do Montgomery/River Region that quite a lot; we have Thomas: I read, mostly non-fiction and has kept you here since 1983? the Montgomery current events. I play with Christopher. I Youth Orchestra, go to Pintlala or to Cecil and ride my bike, Thomas: First of all, of course, the Stringfellows either solo or with a friend - good way it is the opportunity to lead Summer Music to spend a few hours. I take walks with this orchestra and everything Camp, the 6th Katerina and Christopher, usually at ASF that goes with that. But grade Children’s or Oak Park. Montgomery is a remarkable Concerts, the Vann place. I have seen so many Vocal Institute, the BOOM!: Favorite vacation spot? Any Regions Bank President Sean people chip in to make this a Blount/Slawson travel dreams planned for the future? Johnson, with Thomas and Kim better place to live; from the Competition, and Wolf, MSO Executive Director support we give the arts to sponsoring the Montgomery Music Project. The MMP Thomas: We love going down to the kid’s activities, to civic events and is our outreach program for elementary beach, and for a big trip we save up and charities. There seems to be something school children and is enormously go to visit family in the Czech Republic about the people here - we are willing to important; we introduce children to every couple years. It will be fun this next take responsibility for the quality of our playing string instruments, along with time - Christopher will meet cousins and his Grandmother. The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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December 2014



externals and more about internal work and experience. BOOM!: Give us three words that describe you?

do try out our classical concerts that’s the music for which they invented the orchestra, and it’s there for us all if we want it.

Thomas: Grateful, persistent, amazed. Thomas: For years I was Thomas, Katerina and the new star a member of Rotary, of the family, Christopher BOOM!: Do you have any and was involved with hobbies or other activities that grab your the Laubach Literacy program and the BOOM!: Do attention? Montgomery Literacy Council. Nowadays, you have a favorite classical composer or family and MSO keep me busy. composition? What kind of music do you Thomas: Cycling, when I can find the enjoy listening too? Do you sing? time. Woodworking with a friend of BOOM!: If you weren’t conducting the mine with a shop. Reading, always. Montgomery Symphony Orchestra, what Thomas: When Conversation with kind of work would you be doing? Dream the field is this big people smarter than I Job? and rich, it’s hard am (there are many!). to pick one. Bach? Thomas: I have no idea what I would do Debussy? Arvo Part? BOOM!: Many BOOM! if not this; Bartok? Too many! readers are seeking there are so I enjoy many styles, new experiences as incredibly including some old they age and music many utterly pop music (I lost appreciation is one fascinating interest pretty much of those experiences. things out when the Beatles Would the upcoming there to learn broke up). I do sing Holiday Pops Concert and become Katerina and students from the - badly. on December 15th involved The Hinds family playmates Montgomery Music Project be a good one to with. My experience? dream job? I have it already. If you have any questions for Thomas, give him a call at BOOM!: As you’ve aged, how have your ambitions changed? Thomas: They have become less about

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Thomas: Well, of course it would (did you expect me to say anything else?)! We’ll have pops music, a touch of classical, and a really fine singer. Should be fun. But

MSO, 334.240.4004 or email montgomerysymphony@ To learn more about MSO concerts and projects visit As always, thanks to Kim Bethea from The Studio @ Eastchase for her professional cover photos. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please send them to

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Diana Bunch Photography (specializing in Pet Pawtography)

Diana Bunch Photography (specializing in Pet Pawtography)

BOOM!: As someone who is very involved with the arts community, do you have time to serve in other areas of Montgomery?

Who you callin’ grandma? My daughter is about to give birth and I’m thrilled beyond words that a precious new life is entering the world, yada yada. But let’s get down to what’s really important: What do I want the baby, my first grandchild, to call me? Not Grandma. That moniker is quaint and oldfangled and I am neither. No, in true boomer fashion I want my grandmother name to be fun, cool, inventive, or at the very least, not frumpy. And I’m in good company. Susan Sarandon said recently that she wants her new granddaughter to call her Honey. “My hairstylist said it’s a Southern thing, and I thought, that’s kind of fabulous,” the actress told the New York Times. Blythe Danner, sexy grandma to Gwyneth Paltrow’s kids, goes by Lalo. And Goldie Hawn has reportedly been called both Glam-ma and Gogo by her grandkids. I conducted an informal survey that confirmed the trend: Out of 20 current or prospective grandparents I polled, only three say Grandma and Grandpa Granny (Maggie Smith) in ‘Downton Abbey.’ are their go-to names. Others want to be called Granna, Nani, Bobo, G-Ma, GeeBee, Mimi, Meema, MorMor and (my personal favorite) MyTina. Male options include GrandDude, G-Dawg (no, I am not making this up), WillPa, FarFar, Poppy and Pappy. Can Sneezy and Grumpy be far behind? Right now, I’m leaning toward Granny for my own nickname. It’s so old-fashioned that it sounds fresh again, like naming a baby Henry or Nellie. And thanks to PBS Masterpiece’s Downton Abbey, it has a cool British vibe. If it’s good enough for the Dowager Countess of Grantham, it’s good enough for me. By K.C. Summers, (c)2014, AARP Distributed by MCT Information Services

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

December 2014



The holiday deals are already rolling out with early Black Friday specials on Amazon, holiday circulars leaking online and big name retailers offering incentives to buy directly from their sites to get a jump on your gift list. But along with the amazing Internet deals come the scammers with new and inventive ways to trick you into handing over your credit card number and personal information. Here are three of the biggest scams to watch out for this holiday shopping season.

Whether an individual, group or corporation - HandsOn River Region is here to help you realize the benefit each and every person can be to their community. We coordinate and manage volunteer projects throughout the River Region for over 200 non-profits. And we’ve been doing this for over 40 years! Search for volunteer opportunities on our website or call us for assistance in locating the perfect volunteer opportunity for you! Get involved and Serve Today, visit or call 334.264.3335

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December 2014

1. Incredible discounts from unknown sites. Not every site offering a great deal is up to no good, but the more amazing the offer, the more wary you should be. Entering your credit card info won’t get you that great gift on a bogus site, but it will get the scammers your credit card info and address which will allow them to start racking up charges. These sites can also lure you in by offering not products, but coupons for popular gifts. If you find yourself having to enter a lot of personal information to get the coupon, reconsider if it’s worth it. What to look for: Watch out for sites with strangely spelled names (i.e. Taarget. com). Be wary of ridiculously discounted deals on high price items like iPads or hard to get items like the hot toy of the season. And when using a lesser known site, use a unique password if you have to sign up for an account to purchase. 2. Malicious links in text, email or Facebook feeds. Your digital life will be targeted in a number of ways to get you to click on a link that will download spyware or a malicious program designed to capture passwords and other personal information. These will come in the form of offers for great deals in your inbox, on your mobile phone via text messages and on Facebook from shady accounts. Also beware the emails telling you a package you didn’t order is being delivered.

Online What to look for: Carefully check the source of the link. Even if it’s from someone you know, if you didn’t know it was coming, contact them first to make sure they sent it. If it’s from an unknown source and offers an amazing deal, you can bet that it’s a scam. 3. Bogus gift card offers. This popular stocking stuffer is a vehicle for a common Internet scam. It involves an email or text saying you’ve qualified for a deep discount on a gift card ($10 for a $25 card!) But the site it takes you to asks for extensive personal information. Enough for scammers to get into your bank account, for example. What to look for: This one is straightforward, don’t click on any links for amazing deals. Also, be wary if you come across any sites that offer gift cards at unheard of prices. What to do if you think you’ve been scammed If you think you’ve clicked on a link that downloaded something malicious to your device, immediately run a virus scanning program. This is especially true if you are on your mobile phone or tablet. Those devices aren’t immune to scamware, even iPhones and iPads. If you given your credit card information to a site you think may be shady, call your credit card company immediately and alert them. They will put a watch on your card for suspicious activity. In general, stick to the well-known sites, don’t click on any links from unfamiliar sources and don’t be duped into giving up extensive personal information to get a good deal. The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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Why MEN Should Consider Facial Enhancement? Presented by River Region Facial Plastics

Nationally women constitute 90% of those seeking facial enhancement, and rightfully so. Who wouldn’t want to look like the beautiful models and actresses Dr. Thomas H. Cawthon seen in movies, on television, and in every magazine, periodical or other form of advertisement and marketing? American women place a high premium on their appearance and beauty in numerous ways including hair salons and spas, clothing and accessories, nail and skin care, and procedures to fight aging. Well, what about us men? Why do we, who constitute 50% of the human race, only represent 10% or less of those arriving at River Region Facial Plastics (RRFP) seeking to enhance their appearance? Maybe the stigma of having purchased a skin product, procedure, or surgery is felt to undress our sought after macho image. Men purchase suits, shirts, ties, shoes and many other items to help their appearance and self-image. Why should we men not also challenge ourselves to enhance and modify our facial appearance? A great looking guy not only dresses well, but has neatly trimmed hair (beards included) and has great looking facial skin and appearance. Our male patients who have received procedures and surgeries from RRFP are exceptionally pleased with their results. With better nutrition, health care, exercise and knowledge of how to stay healthy, both men and women have elevated their life expectancy. According to US Census Bureau statistics, life expectancy for women has risen from a mean of 73.1 years in 1960 to 80.1 years in 2010. For men the mean has risen from 66.6 years in 1960 to 75.7 years in 2010. BOOM! is dedicated to and is a testament to all who are living longer.

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December 2014

Many males are staying in the work place without retiring at age sixty-five, and they remain productive. They want to stay working for a few more years and they are healthy, active and may even be in a second career before retiring. Often they face challenges in a competitive environment with younger appearing male candidates seeking their job. This is a compelling reason for some males to seek consultations at RRFP for products, procedures and surgeries. We at RRFP recently hosted a “date night” where

Lyn Cawthon Before and After

many of our female patients brought their significant others. The event was fun, informative, and well attended. The men learned about availabilities to enhance their appearance with surgeries and procedures. Because men can’t always have time to recover from facial surgeries, they learned that many offerings of procedures have little or no recovery required. You can be presentable rapidly after treatment without others having knowledge that something has been done. Procedures done at RRFP include microneedling to tighten skin and injection of fillers to enhance facial volume lost through aging. I personally challenge all of you males to come for a facial consultation to learn and become educated as to what procedures would best satisfy your needs. Our trained staff will assist in scheduling your consultation in a timely manner.

It’s hard to believe, but RRFP just celebrated its second year in business and thanks to you readers and others who have been patients, we have been successful. For your loyalty, I personally thank you. Lyn, my beautiful wife, has been acquiring many of our products and procedures over the last two years at RRFP. Recently, she noticed an increase in facial wrinkles and hollowness in her cheeks, temples and jaw line. I used injectable fillers (Perlane-L® and Sculptra®) to increase volume. The results were quite remarkable and I invite you to see her before and after photographs. The injections enhanced her facial volume and seemed to widen her eyes and give a fresh appearance erasing the hollows in her cheeks and jaw line. We are introducing our E2 Eyes program for both males and females. With injection of fillers around the eyes, in the tear trough, above the brow and in the temples, the eyes will look more youthful and vibrant. With the holidays approaching, what better way to show your loved one a wonderful gift from our facility? Come and learn more about the E2 Eyes program and see the youthful results. Here is wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday season from me and all our staff at RRFP! All the best, Dr. Thomas H. Cawthon We want your input! Please call or email us with your questions or suggestions for next month’s column! 334.270.2003

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Museum of Art in Austin, Texas. (Laura Skelding/Austin American-Statesman/TNS)

“Brain Trash” Drake drew an astonishing 1,242 individual drawings depicting wild animals, landscapes, studies of human anatomy, scientific formulas, and representations of classical art and family photographs. By Jeanne Claire Van Ryzin, Austin American-Statesman

Artist James Drake starts every workday with a routine akin to many a workaday life. Each morning, the 68-year-old leaves his house outside Santa Fe, N.M., and drives into town, listening to National Public Radio. He stops at the same place to buy coffee and a New York Times. And then Drake, whose work is collected by museums nationwide and who has represented the United States in the prestigious Venice Biennial, among many other career accolades, drives back to his house, which is his studio. And in his studio the artist gets to work for the day, his black Labrador typically at his feet. With its mixture of discipline and whimsy, Drake’s imaginative commute, as it were, embodies everything behind

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“Anatomy of Drawing and Space (Brain Trash),” the sprawling installation of 1,242 drawings on display through January 4, 2015 at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas. Elegant yet frenetic, “Brain Trash” mashes up dichotomies in a sweeping operatic affect. It brims with references to art history as well as to science, public events and Drake’s own biography. Exquisitely rendered depictions of animals and landscapes literally overlap with scientific equations. The swirling clouds of a hurricane vortex sweep next to a neat axon-metric diagram of a mechanical system. Abstract Rorschachlike images give way to almost photorealistic drawings of Drake’s family pictures.

Splayed out across the museum walls, the unframed drawings are arranged in 10 chapters. “Brain Trash” is as casual in its presentation and free-form in its nature as it is ultimately very formal. The exhibit is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, where it debuted this summer. In 2012, the Texas-born Drake, whose oeuvre is usually known for sculpture and video though his virtuoso draftsmanship invariably emerges in much of what he does, set himself the challenge of drawing every single day. “I don’t believe in an epiphany, a bolt coming down out of the sky and inspiring you,” says Drake in his gentle West Texas twang as he recently watched museum staff install his art. “If you’re not working, you’re not creating.” Drake kept the parameters of his drawing challenge simple but stringent. He used 19-inch by 24-inch paper, a standard size commonly used in art classes. And he The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

used basic drawing materials: graphite pencils, ink, pastel drawing crayon, sometimes employing a little collage or stencil work. He could draw whatever came to mind and as much as he wanted, but he never skipped a day of drawing. (One sheet bears the words “Nothing Today,” because as Drake laughingly admits, “I just had nothing to draw that day.”) And as the drawings emerged, Drake began to see them organized as chapters. About all that determined the size of each chapter was the size of his studio walls. As he finished each drawing, he pinned it to his studio wall, arranging each neatly in a tight grid reading left to right, as if every drawing were the syllable of a word or the words in a sentence. Drake didn’t permit himself to edit or to re-work a drawing even though some individual images stretch across a dozen sheets of paper, many shooting horizontally across rows. “It’s an incredibly impressive accomplishment,” says Annette DiMeo Carlozzi, the Blanton’s curator-atlarge. “The pure durational power of this exercise that still continues over several years’ time, the bravura of his draftsmanship, the raw inventiveness of how he treats each sheet of paper, the

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

apparent confidence and self-acceptance behind letting us see what’s in his head.” And we do literally see inside Drake’s head. Long finding inspiration from science, Drake has an MRI scan of his brain made, enlisting the help of doctor friend to do so. In order to work around hospital procedure, Drake’s doctor friend simply labeled the initial diagnosis on the MRI request as “brain trash.” For the tenth chapter of drawings, Drake copied the brain scans in exact detail yet at an enormous scale. “ ‘Brain trash’ just summed up everything about this project, how I just emptied my head,” Drake says. “I leave it to others to interpret it how they want.” And yet the masterly drawing of Drake’s project is also a reminder that for all the technological advancements that have put image-making literally into

everyone’s hands thanks to smartphones, ultimately artistic accomplishment is the result of hard work, not gadgets and selfies. “With today’s technology, everyone thinks of themselves as a photographer or an artist or a filmmaker,” he says. “Well, not everybody is. And this is just about drawing, going back to the beginning.” “Brain Trash” has been Drake’s sole preoccupation in the last couple of years. And he has no plans to stop drawing. Indeed, he has not stopped drawing every day. “If you’re not working,” he says. “You’re not growing as an artist.” For more information on the exhibit contact the Blanton Museum of Art auditorium (c)2014 Austin American-Statesman Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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December 2014



Ask an Elder Law Attorney By: Raley L. Wiggins | Attorney at Law | Red Oak Legal, PC

“NOTHING WORTH FIGHTING OVER” Who is going to get what after you’re gone? I often hear clients tell me they’re not worried about who will get what after they’re dead and gone because, after all, “they haven’t got enough to be worth fighting over.”

mean that your family relationships haven’t been damaged. So, what can be done to prevent it? Here’s my simple two-step recommendation for avoiding these kinds of disputes. First: have a plan. Second: communicate that plan to your loved ones.

wishes in your estate plan to ensure that they are carried out. Not to mention the fact that these kind of oral instructions or agreements are not enforceable after your death.

After you have a formal, written plan in place, now is a good time to communicate with your loved ones The first part is easy. Decide who you about why you made the choices you would want to manage your financial made. Start with Certainly, the value of your earthly your executor/ possessions can have some impact agent, and then talk upon whether a lawsuit is filed regarding your estate. But forget Estate Planning and Asset Protection Workshop with your children or other closest about lawsuits for a moment. Wednesday, December 10: Hosted by Red Oak Legal, PC: 2-4 pm relatives. If there is Let’s just talk about good ol’ at the Archibald Senior Center (MACOA) in Montgomery. This any property that is family feuds. educational workshop presented by local attorney Raley L. Wiggins divided in a way that covers wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives, living might be perceived as The root of these disputes may wills, probate administration, protecting assets from creditors, less than equitable, not be about the money or the bankruptcy, divorce and remarriage, nursing homes, long-term care explain your choices property, per se. Instead, it may and Medicaid qualification. Registration is required. to your loved ones be a feeling that one sibling and give them the took advantage of an ailing Call 334-625-6774 today to reserve your seat or register online at opportunity to ask parent’s generosity (or questions. When the mindedness) and wound up with time comes, they will a vehicle, a piece of furniture, or be less likely to read into each and every affairs if you are no longer able to do so. other heirloom that was “supposed” to decision you made, because they will This person should be your agent under go to them. On the other hand, perhaps have had the chance to discuss it with your Durable Power of Attorney. This it is because the loved one’s last will and you face-to-face. person is probably also a good choice to testament didn’t treat everyone exactly serve as your Executor to manage your the same, giving further credence to one There is no way to guarantee that assets after your death, although your child’s suspicion that their parent always your loved ones won’t fight over your executor and your agent do not need to loved their brother or sister just a little worldly possessions once you’ve passed be the same person. Then, determine bit more. on. However, communication goes a how that person will manage your assets long way in avoiding hurt feelings and during your life (if the need arises) and It doesn’t matter what the source of misunderstandings. Now that we’re in how they will divide your assets at death. the perceived slight may be. Once the the holiday season, take a moment to damage has been done in the mind of discuss your plans with your family while Next, decide how your assets should the aggrieved family member, there may you’re all together and in good spirits. be divided upon your death. Do you be no going back. The point is that after want any specific pieces of property to we are dead and gone, we can’t explain Raley L. Wiggins go to specific people? If yes, then the the choices we made during the estate Attorney at Law, Red Oak Legal, PC only way to ensure that they get it is to planning process. This often results in make a gift of those specific items of loved ones “reading the tea leaves” to 334-239-3625 | property via your will or other estate draw their own conclusions about the 401 Madison Avenue, Montgomery AL 36104 planning document. Don’t count on meaning of every estate planning choice other family members to “take care of their loved one made while alive. Often, it” based upon your conversations with they see only what they want to see. them. Over time, memories fade, and Even if a dispute doesn’t wind up in an people die—you must formalize your expensive and public court battle doesn’t Well I’m here to tell you that there’s no such thing.

Attend Free Workshop

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December 2014

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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December 2014



The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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December 2014

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

For this Retired Couple Betty and David Hasiuk’s trip to Alaska was “not for the fainthearted,” he says. “The planes kept getting smaller and smaller.” As David and Betty Hasiuk rode through the clouds in a small airplane delivering mail to a remote Alaskan wilderness, the couple realized the adventure was one of their most unusual. The plane was the only way to reach Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, which had been among the few national parks that the retired couple had not yet visited. When the plane landed, they saw a handful of local residents waiting on the tiny runway for letters and packages. The journey to Wrangell-St. Elias, a 13-million-acre park bigger than Switzerland, was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity even for the Hasiuks, who have spent the last decade exploring all 58 of the country’s national parks. With their visit to Alaska, they crossed off the final three on the list. “People collect different things. This is what we chose to do,” said Betty Hasiuk, 68. “You see America, and you see who we are as Americans. A lot of people are not even aware that these parks are out there. To us, it’s an opportunity to learn about who we are as a country.” Hasiuk, a retired schoolteacher, and her husband, a former stockbroker, have been married for 46 years. But they did not come up with the idea for their National Parks project until 2003, when they were in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and happened to see a passport book in which visitors could collect stamps from different national parks. The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

By Allison Steele

Visiting National Parks is Their Hobby

They pledged to get to each of the country’s national parks before David Hasiuk turned 70, a goal they accomplished with almost a year to spare. The journeys have involved meticulous planning, particularly when it came to the parks in far-flung areas. They visited some in clusters, most notably in 2010, when a six-week cross-country road trip took them more than 900 miles between the Grand Canyon, the Tetons, Oregon’s Crater Lake, and parks in Utah. Their adult daughter has joined them on several trips as well.

nice hotels and primitive ones, many of the places they have visited have no televisions or cellphone reception. In most areas, there is no nightlife.

Pressed to pick a favorite, the couple offer their top four: Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite in California, and the Kenai Fjords in Alaska, where, in addition to glaciers and wilderness, they saw whales, seals, puffins, and more wildlife. They have collected a menagerie of wooden animals as mementos, as well as T-shirts, artwork, and books that tell the local histories of the parks. The Hasiuks know they are not the only two people who have traveled to each park, but they have never met anyone else who has done it. That’s partly because, as Betty Hasiuk said, some of the trips may not appeal to the average vacationer. Though they have stayed in

They have never added up the cost of their travels, but the trips have ranged from car rides with picnic lunches to, in the case of the last Alaska trip, 12 flights (purchased with help from their many frequent-flier miles). “It’s not for the fainthearted,” David Hasiuk said. “The planes kept getting smaller and smaller.” The last Alaska trip also took place at a time when the sun is in the sky almost round the clock. Over the course of their entire two-week trip, they never saw it set or rise, and had to draw thick curtains over the windows as they slept. With 58 items crossed off the list, the Hasiuks are still deciding on their next travel goal. But they have already identified a few National Parks where they need to return because, they said, they never got their book stamped. “We have to go back to Hawaii,” Betty Hasiuk said, laughing. “Also, the Virgin Islands. We didn’t plan it that way, but that’s where we have to go.” For more information visit (c)2014 The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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December 2014



Can Addressing Hearing Loss Make You Feel Younger??

Do you often feel tired from straining to hear conversation? Do you have problems understanding speech in the presence of background noise? Do these struggles make you less likely to engage in social interactions? Well, then it might be time to address your hearing loss. Start the New Year off on the right foot by being able to hear the world around you; make your New Year’s resolution being able to hear and communicate better with your loved ones! Making this New Year’s resolution happen starts by scheduling an appointment with Doctors Hearing Clinic (DHC) for a complimentary hearing screening. Below are several reasons why addressing your hearing loss can help you communicate with loved ones and stay forever young in 2015.

Do any of these statements sound familiar? It’s not that I can’t hear people; I just can’t understand them. I hear fine in one-on-one conversations, but I have trouble understanding when there is a lot of other noise around. Sometimes I just smile and nod when I don’t understand what someone says. These are some of the phrases we hear most often from people who come in to have their hearing tested. These communication struggles often cause people to shy away from meeting new people or interacting in large social gatherings. By addressing your hearing loss, you will be able to re-engage socially and communicate with friends and family like you did when you were younger – a win-win for both you and your loved ones! Another way addressing your hearing loss can make you feel younger is by improving communication with your spouse or partner. Hearing loss affects more than just the person with diminished hearing. Loved ones often say they feel frustrated when having

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to constantly repeat themselves. They throughout the day to engage in may even feel ignored in conversations physical and social activities they enjoy. at home, when in fact the lack of In 2015, you can start to gain your communication stems from diminished confidence and energy back; it all starts hearing. In fact, recent research shows with addressing your hearing loss! that the divorce rate is higher among couples with some degree of hearing Finally, research from John Hopkins has damage compared to those with linked unaddressed hearing loss with an normal hearing. Being emotionally increased risk of developing dementia. connected to your partner is one of the The more severe the hearing loss, greatest aspects of any relationship, the greater the risk is for developing and it starts with good communication. dementia. An additional study by BHI Research indicates that hearing found that individuals with hearing aids can help improve interpersonal aids often report an improvement in relationships cognitive skills. By by improving having access to communication sound, the brain is By Dr. Brittany Spahr and Dr. Katie Slade between able to stay more partners. alert with the Addressing environment around your hearing them which causes loss sends the the brain to be more message, “I care active. Having the about what you brain being more have to say.” active and alert can reduce the risk of Individuals with unaddressed hearing cognitive decline. loss often feel anxious, frustrated, or angry. Research suggests that by Start the New Year off on the right addressing hearing loss with hearing foot, and start feeling younger! aids, an individual’s mental health Make an appointment with DHC to will show improvement. Individuals schedule your complimentary hearing with hearing aids become less socially screening. If hearing loss is detected, isolated and start becoming more a comprehensive evaluation will be independent. In 2015, start becoming recommended. After your hearing more independent and start taking test, our audiologists can program control of your life again. appropriate hearing aid technology for you to listen to so you can hear what Additionally, hearing aids can help you’ve been missing! boost your self confidence and energy Content adapted from the Better Hearing Institute http:// level. A Better Hearing Institute (BHI) study found that the majority of people with hearing loss feel better about Written by Dr. Katie Slade, a Board Certified themselves and have a better outlook Audiologist in Alabama, Dr. Brittany Spahr a licensed on life after getting hearing aids. By audiologist in Alabama and a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology, and Amy Davis, Doctoral addressing their hearing loss with Extern, University of South Alabama. hearing aids, they described feeling they had more control of their lives. Hearing aids can also reduce listening fatigue, giving the listener more energy

Healthy Hearing

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Unique Christmas Gifts!

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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December 2014



Your Holiday Fitness Program You are busy, you’re stressed out, its cold outside- so why not just skip the exercise program until The New Year. You can always come up with excuses not to exercise during the holiday season but missing your workout will only add more pounds and more stress. Even the most dedicated exerciser can get derailed by the holidays. Several great suggestions have been accumulated by fitness experts and I would love to share some of those with you.

to be for 30 solid minutes. The key is movement!! Take 10 minutes three times during that day.

• Acknowledge the holidays will probably affect your exercise routine to some extent. Once you realize that, you can make adjustments that can help you stay fit during the holidays. A life coach suggested instead of trying to squeeze exercise into your schedule, make adjustments and take other things out. The goal is not to do more but to do less and do it all well. Schedule time into your day for exercise. Lets face it, we are all going to be eating more so not only keeping to your exercise schedule will help but add an extra workout or two whenever possible to combat some of those extra calories.


• Be flexible- If you miss your morning exercise class, take a walk at lunch time or go to the gym later in the day. Even getting up an hour earlier and getting in a workout because you know the day is going to be busy helps keep you on track with your fitness • Mix up your routine- you don’t have to go to the gym. Get 10 minutes of an exercise circuit in at home by doing jumping jacks, pushup, abs, squats, etc. The list can be endless. This type of exercise program can be put into your day whenever you can grab 10-15 minutes. Remember it does not have

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• Plan active family get togethers- Take a walk as a family, play an outside game of touch football, tag with the kids or

Fitness over Fifty by Leigh Anne Richards

• A New York based exercise physiologist and personal trainer advises clients to book a long weekend get away at a warm destination for January or February. This will motivate you to keep exercise as a priority. When you are tempted to slack off, envision yourself looking good on the beach. • Create a holiday wish list for your physical body. This will take a certain amount of sacrifice as well as self discipline • Walking is an exercise that can go anywhere from the woods to the mall. Keep a pair of walking/running shoes with you and you are ready to walk at anytime. Now, what to do about the eating side of things- During this time of year when calories lurk around every corner most Americans put on a pound or two by New Year’s Day. It is possible to enjoy holiday goodies without putting on a single pound. Portion control is the key. According to Susan Finn, PhD, RD. you can eat your indulgences- but it just the amount you eat. The WebMD compiled the following tips to help you avoid over eating.

• Never arrive hungry - Planning ahead can help you maintain discipline in the face of temptation. Don’t go to a party starving. Try to eat a nutritious snack beforehand. Drinking water also helps if you are hungry and will help fill you up before you fill your plate • Divert your attention - Many people forget there is more to a holiday party than just food. Don’t look at the party as just food but a time to enjoy your friends’ company. Take your mind off food and focus on conversation. • Pace yourself with eating and drinking. When you are eating, put your fork down between every bite and chew more slowly. Calories through alcohol can really add it and we tend to forget about those liquid calories. Drink water or spritzer between each alcoholic beverage. • Step away from the food table- People tend to congregate around the food table and will talk and graze mindlessly never thinking about how much you are eating. Make a conscious effort to go in a separate room to socialize • Outsmart the buffet- Use the smallest plate available and don’t stack your food: limit your helpings to one serving. Fruits and vegetables are great choices but watch the sauces and dips. Enjoy your holidays and the experience of this time of year. Just remember everything in moderation and add that exercise component in as much as possible. Happy Holidays! Leigh Anne Richards, MEd, Certified Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, General Manager- MetroFitness. For any questions or comments, contact Leigh Anne at

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Canine Companions By Christina Cheakalos If your nest is empty, by circumstance or by choice, think about getting a dog. Known for their devotion and happy dances, dogs can take a big bite out of isolation. Just hanging out with a furry friend, studies show, has a revitalizing effect. Here, 10 benefits of later-life dog ownership.

Good for You

1. Dogs Keep You Fit Adopt a dog and ditch that pricey personal trainer. A study in The Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that dog owners walk approximately one hour longer per day than those without a fetching friend in their lives. 2. They Make You Healthier Studies show that dog-owning seniors have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol than their petless peers. Having a dog also reduces the risk of heart attach _ and boosts your chances of longterm survival if you have one. 3. Dogs Are Social Mediums A natural-born icebreaker, your dog will introduce you to everyone from next-door neighbors to perfect strangers. It’s almost impossible to pass a dog without making a “pat stop,” so head for the park ...Bowser will take it from there. 4. They Organize Your Day A dog may keep you sane, showered and solvent. Studies show that dog owners exhibit higher degrees of self-discipline

than those without. Makes sense: Dogs, like humans, thrive on structure; they need to be fed, walked and nurtured at regular intervals. 5. Dogs Get You MRI scanners showed that the canine brain reacts to voices and sounds, such as crying or laughter, in the same way the human brain does. Dogs are also the only nonhuman animals who scan the left side of a face _ the process whereby people, too, “read” emotions. 6. They Boost Quality of Life For many older Americans, a dog means the difference between a life lived and a life merely endured. Dogs help you stay safe and independent: They provide ears for the deaf, eyes for the blind and an early warning system at the approach of dangers (both real and imagined, of course!). 7. They Can Be an Old Friend No need for housebreaking and training when you adopt an older pooch. Studies show you can teach an old dog new tricks , or simply take it for long, calm walks. For tips on bringing a “senior dog” into your home, check out 8. They Help You Volunteer When is a dog like a grandchild? When

you can play with it during the day and then head home! Shelters and rescue organizations are desperate for volunteer help. And you’ll get a boost from that tailwagging mood elevator. 9. Dogs Make You a Better Person Consider this: Ozzy Osbourne, the batchomping rocker not known as an SPCA poster child, once wrestled a coyote to the ground to pull his pet Pomeranian, Pipi, from its jaws. As the “bumper snicker” exhorts us, “Be the person your dog thinks you are.” 10. They Let You Be a Hero The Humane Society estimates that 6 to 8 million dogs and cats wind up in animal shelters every year. The majority would make loyal and loving companions, yet at least half of that number is euthanized annually. Visit a local shelter; maybe some buddy needs you. (c)2014, AARP Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC


“Right Now Time” As we close out the year, was 2014 a satisfying year for you? Did you achieve your financial goals? Did you reach your personal goals? Lastly, did you impact the life of someone in a positive way? For me, the end of any year is all about making today a new beginning. It’s about learning from the past and applying the lessons of prior experiences to a new journey. In the same way that we all have our own unique set of DNA, every one of us has an exciting life journey ahead of us. It’s out there and it’s waiting on you to find it and embrace it. What will your journey look like from here? In this month’s article, let’s focus on a new beginning and some principles we can apply to harness an exciting and new journey that has you at the helm and in complete control of your destiny. Notwithstanding divine order, the actions you take today will have the single greatest impact on your life’s journey. In between birth and death is “right now.” What can you do right now that will improve the life you live, the life to come, and the world we live in? Too often, I find people coming up with convenient excuses to delay their “right now” – it’s too painful, it’s too hard, it’s too inconvenient. It’s time to stop wasting your “right now” and start thinking about using it in such a way that tomorrow will leap for joy because of the changes you made today. In other words, do the things today that will allow your future self to throw a celebration party for when you get there!!!

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I once heard that chance favors the prepared mind. From a financial perspective, we have a motto at our firm that simply states “Don’t leave your money to chance.” Leaving your money to chance might be a good strategy in a casino, but a terrible strategy when it comes to planning around investments Financial and reaching for desired financial Thoughts outcomes. A with comprehensive Brandt McDonald financial plan is the only way you can even have a remote chance at retirement or realizing the financial objectives of your life’s journey. Begin thinking about what it is that you truly want out of life. You can’t achieve what it is you truly want or need until you set the stage to live in that dream “right now.” Until you do the planning, you will remain stuck in neutral. In the meantime, your future self is left waiting!!! As the year winds down, take some of your “right now” to take the action needed to design a financial plan that will act as the foundation or the mechanism by which you can achieve an inspired, adventurous, and active lifestyle for the future. A good financial plan is never static. Rather, it is a dynamic document that changes through the years as your life and market events change. Your

life’s journey comes into focus when you adjust and shift gears to the challenges and the joys, the failures and the victories. Through it all, it is important to stay on task and push yourself to new discoveries both personally and financially. When was the last time that you did something for the first time? Ben Franklin once said “Many people die at age 25 and aren’t buried until age 75.” As we close out this year, let’s commit to climbing mountains. Let’s climb the mountains, not so the world can see you, but so that you can see the world. This is the self-less perspective of success. Success is not “trying to be the man” so as to be seen by others but rather playing the role you were called to play to see the world in a way that fulfills not only your life’s journey but positively impacts the journey of those around us. Enjoy the holidays! Until next year, remember to never run with the herd, always be thankful, and look to the future with anticipation of what’s yet to come. Brandt McDonald, Managing Partner McDonald, Barranco & Hagen Wealth Management LPL Branch Manager Direct comments and questions to Securities offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The opinions expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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December 2014



NOVEMBER EXHIBITION: Gallery One Featured Artists

On The Avenue 30x24 oil on canvas Pam Wesley Copeland

Behind Closed Doors 48x36 mixed media Cecily Hulett

Summer Splendor 36x24 acrylic on canvas Don Sawyer

Prelude, 36x48 oil on canvas John Mazaheri John-Mazaheri

Abstract, 9x6 Gouache Richard Mills

Ripples 19� round wood sculpture Ken Lever

Sunflowers 20x16 oil on linen, Anne Hugghins

Clockwork 60x48 mixed media, Carol Barksdale

Foundation 20x16 acrylic on canvas, Jane Segrest

Ruby, Doris and What’s Her Name 40x30 oil on canvas, John Wagnon

Always There 40x30 oil on canvas, Ginnylu Greene

Suddenly 16x8 oil on canvas, Anita Westerberg

Gallery One offers a wide selection of original art by gallery artist members. Style and price accommodate every taste and budget. As an Alabama not-forprofit cooperative gallery, Gallery One is actively engaged in the community.

When I Was A Geisha, 40x30 mixed media Judith Ivy Hayden

Sunlit Fields, 36x48 acrylic on canvas, Shirley Esco

By Sandi Aplin

Art & Soul

Judith Ivy Hayden, Phase Two Show, The Montgomery Museum of Fine Art and others. Her latest win was Best of Show at the Arts Revived in Selma, Alabama. She is a member at large of the Montgomery Art Guild.

Gallery One Fine Art is pleased to welcome Judith Ivy Hayden as a new member artist of their group. I remember meeting Judith years ago when she was in advertising. Her brother Mitchell Hayden is a surveyor and I knew him as I was a Realtor for 35 years. Jamie, her sister, owned the Velvet Pom Pom and groomed my babies. When the time came to sell their parent’s home at 538 E. Fairview Avenue, they called me and said I was the only Realtor they all knew, liked and I sold their family home..

Meditation in Green 30x40 oil on canvas

out, bought materials and started painting again. It is my belief that everything in life is connected and in perpetual motion. To show this, I developed my own style and soon found I had a precious, natural gift.”

Judith says,”I was born an artist. I In 2007 she began feel all entering art competitions artists in the River Region. In are the first two years she born to won two Best of Shows, create, six First Place ribbons and Yack-A-D-Yack 24x30 acrylic on canvas this numerous other ribbons. is not Her work has been juried into the always something that is learned, for Nightingale Show, the Regions Bank me, it is an obsessive, compulsive drive.”

Hayden says, “Painting has made my heart and mind come together in a joyful way I have never experienced. It inspires me to meet other artists, Upright on a Blue Night 36x36 oil on canvas see their work as I continue my journey.” Hayden’s work can be seen on the website Judith-Ivy-Hayden

Sandi Aplin, Director of Gallery One Fine Art A freelance writer living in Montgomery, AL

Judith worked in advertising for years. She was the art director for Bear Advertising and worked with Margaret Carpenter at Composite. She studied with Charles Shannon when he taught on Bell Street many years ago. “After retiring because of a disability, I started my life over at age 51. About nine years ago, I was so inspired listening to Charlie Lucas (the Tin Man) as he shared his creative art journey and his own work.” Hayden continues, “I went The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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December 2014



Buzz the Bikeman

By Jim Stingl

was then a factory before becoming Southeastern Education Center. Kids from the school, many who had been expelled from other schools, helped Buzz whip the bikes into shape. The more hopeless bikes they used for parts. “I’d teach them bike mechanics. If they could stay with me for a month, I’d give them a bike,” he said. For many kids, it was the first bike they owned or that had not been passed down by an older sibling. “It’s their stallion. It’s their independent way of getting from A to B pretty fast,” he said. “Some girl is going to love this bike, and she can let people know she’s coming,” Buzz said, dinging the bell on the handlebars of a copper-colored Raleigh 3-speed.

With a perfectly greased pun, Buzz the Bikeman says it’s time to change gears. After 20 years of fixing up used bicycles and giving them away, some 2,400 in all, the pedal-powered peddler is coasting into the next phase of life and whatever it brings. “That’s it. This is the end of the line,” he said, pointing to the last five bikes in the dank basement workshop where junkers became jewels, or at least usable transportation. He has a real name, Henry Althoen, but everyone calls him the childhood nickname chosen by his grandmother, who drew the inspiration from President Franklin Roosevelt’s grandson, known as Buzzy. Buzz the Bikeman is 78, but has that youthful look of someone who has made himself very useful. He finds, though, that it’s not easy anymore to lug bikes around. The school at 34th St. and Capitol Drive where he had rent-free space for his shop is moving to a new spot, and he has decided to liquidate rather than relocate. He is donating leftover parts and tools to the St. Vincent de Paul meal site at 10th and Madison streets where another guy, Chris Jaszewski, has been restoring discarded bikes for people who need

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them. Buzz plans to stop by to help him out once in a while. He also plans to stay active in his Rotary Club and the seniors club in Glendale where he lives, and with ushering at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, tutoring, and auditing a class or two at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, to name a few things. “I love being in the trenches because that’s where life is,” he said. Buzz, a grandfather with white hair and a beard to match, retired as a middle school teacher in 1993 after 36 years. He was managing a church meal program, and one day someone donated a casserole and a bike, Buzz told Journal Sentinel columnist William Janz in 1998. He shined up that bike, put a new tire on it and found it a home. His ministry was born. Most of the bikes came from suburban churches, though once Buzz created a buzz about his project, two-wheelers would sometimes just show up in his backyard. He began working on them in his garage and after a few years moved into the building on 34th St., which

Most of the bikes, some 30 or 40 years old, were distributed through two churches, Hephatha Lutheran Church, and Reformation Lutheran Church. In his busiest year, Buzz fixed and found homes for 235 bikes. His funding came from donations and his own pocket. Some bikes went to adults. In fact, this week we loaded up those last few refurbished beauties into his minivan and took them to the east side home of Glennda and Tom Meyer, who will pass them on to foreign students attending UWM. Each bike came with a lock and a tag urging the new owner to ride safely and heed a few tips such as, “Use both front and back brakes to stop.” Now it’s time for him to stop, to drop the kickstand on his quest to have no child left behind without wheels. Buzz doesn’t even ride a bike as much as he used to. These days, when he has a free minute, he’s more of a dog walker. But all over town are kids young and old who can thank Buzz Althoen for giving countless hours, for being Milwaukee’s “spokesman” and for helping them get where they wanted to go. (c)2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Lean In:

Ethel Percy Andrus, Founder, AARP

Ethel Percy Andrus was a young school teacher who, in 1916, was named principal of Lincoln High School in Los Angeles, making her the first female high school principal in California. The school’s diverse student body spoke 32 languages, including Spanish, Italian, Russian and Chinese. During her 28 years as principal Andrus focused not only on education, but also on knitting the diverse student body and their families together through community service projects, a novelty at the time. Juvenile delinquency dropped. Test scores rose. Andrus used the high school in the evening, inviting shop keepers, carpenters and other parents to serve as guest educators, teaching each other new skills. The American Dream was within reach. “Our student body became a part of the larger social movements of Lincoln Heights. Our athletes became the coaches and sponsors of their respective elementary schools. Training rules kept prospective delinquents in bed at bedtime to qualify,” she wrote. “Recognition for civic performance satisfied and fed the drives of youth, which like age, wants to be needed, to be praised and be ‘a member of a team.’ “

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

She even bettered herself by earning a Ph.D. through night school. But the education career she loved ended suddenly late in the 1944 school year, when her mother became seriously ill. Like so many women then and now, she left work to become a full-time caregiver. After regaining her strength, Dr. Andrus’ mother urged her to focus on improving the lives of older people, as she had done for students. Her mom emphasized that older people often felt discarded and needed something more: the desire to live with purpose, dignity and selfrespect. Around this time Dr. Andrus began volunteering with the California Retired Teachers Association. She learned from a local grocer 30 miles outside of Los Angeles that an older woman who came to his store needed food, eyeglasses and dentures. With the address in hand, Dr. Andrus set out to visit her on a cold, drizzly day. The address led her to a sizable bungalow where no one was home. Puzzled, she inquired with a neighbor, who suggested she check on the old woman who lived “out back.” “Out back” was a chicken coop. Dr. Andrus knocked on the door of the windowless shack. The occupant, wearing a ragged coat, slipped through the door and closed it behind her. Upon learning her name, Dr. Andrus recalled the woman’s reputation as a Spanish teacher of some distinction. Once settled on the front seat of Andrus’

car out of the rain, the woman told her story. Sales opportunities for the scenic acreage she had bought over time as an investment had been diminished by the Great Depression. While the retiree still had her $40 monthly pension, she could not afford decent housing or health care. Dr. Andrus got mad. Then she got organized. At age 63, she formed the National Retired Teachers Association and set about obtaining decent living standards and affordable health insurance for them. There was no Medicare yet and most insurance companies saw covering older people as a costly risk. After being turned down by 42 insurance companies, Dr. Andrus found a company willing to take a chance on health care for older adults. The retired teachers’ health plan and the organization’s focus on financial security were such hits that in 1958 Dr. Andrus created a new organization, now known as AARP, to serve the needs of non-educators. She was the national volunteer president of both organizations until her death in 1967. She exemplified AARP’s motto, “To serve, not to be served.” By battling age discrimination, fighting for basic security for people as they age and demonstrating that a single individual can make life better for millions, Ethel Percy Andrus helped make impossible dreams come true. (c) 2014 Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Hands of Hope During the Holiday Season The holidays are quickly approaching and for many people the holiday season is a special time of year marked by celebrations and gatherings with family and friends. However, for those who are caring for a loved one with a serious illness or struggling with the death of a loved one, the holidays may be a difficult time. For those who have lost a loved one during the past year, the holidays may emphasize their grief, reports the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. For others who are coping with a serious or life-limiting illness of a loved one, it is very difficult to feel the joy of the holidays. For one of Hospice of Montgomery’s families who received the gift of hospice, the staff was seen as “hands of hope” during that difficult time. Hospice care allowed her and her family to enjoy their time together, living as fully as possible. “The professional team members were there daily, encouraging us as a family and uplifting us,” said Julia Wilson, former Hospice of Montgomery family member and current member of their Board of Directors. “One day, right before Christmas, our nurse arrived for her daily visit and brought along a poinsettia from the staff. This really brightened our day and helped us get into the holiday spirit”. Often it’s in our darkest times that the light of hope shines most brightly. “I had considered not decorating the house, but this was going to be my husband’s last Christmas, so I put up a tree and a few holiday sentiments,” said Julia. “Having the hospice team there to care for Sim was so helpful. Our nurse, Nancy, was with us on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day. She even joined us at the table. She was a part of our family.” Hospices not only provide care for a seriously ill patient’s pain and symptomswhatever the diagnosis, and attends to their emotional and spiritual needs, but also provides bereavement and emotional support for the families they serve. The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Hospice professionals emphasize that friends and family members should never be afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing, because making an effort and showing concern will be appreciated. Many people are not aware that hospice is a valuable resource that can help people who are struggling with grief and loss.

from friends and family is an important step to helping some cope with grief and heal. 9. Remind the person that you are thinking of them and their loved one. Cards, phone calls and visits are great ways to stay in touch. 10. Follow up after the holidays to check in. Given the activity of the season, some people may make it through the holidays without any issues, but they might find the post-holiday period to be more difficult. So checking in after the holidays to see how he or she may be doing is helpful.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization offer some suggestions: 1. Be Supportive of the way the person chooses to handle In general, the best the holidays. Some way to help those may wish to follow who are grieving or traditions; others struggling with loss may choose to avoid during the holidays is customs of the past Sim and Julie Wilson to let them know you and do something care and their loved one is not forgotten. new. It’s okay to do things differently. 2. Offer to help the person with There will be many struggles. Some decorating or holiday baking. Both tasks will be emotional, some will be physical can be overwhelming for someone who is and at times overwhelming. Hospice of a caregiver and/or grieving. Montgomery’s licensed professionals 3. Offer to help with holiday shopping. provide direct patient and family Share catalogs or online shopping sites assistance and support in coping with the that may be helpful. difficult psychosocial issues that arise as 4. Invite the person to join you or your a patient and family face a serious lifefamily during the holidays. You might limiting illness. invite them to join you for a religious service or at a holiday meal where they/ Grief counseling and support groups are their family are the guest. also available for anyone living in our 5. Ask the person if he or she is interested service area who are experiencing the loss in volunteering with you during the of a loved one. holidays. Doing something for someone else, such as helping at a soup kitchen If you are considering hospice care, ask or working with children, may help your for us by name or just call Hospice of loved one feel better about the holidays. Montgomery at 334-279-6677 or visit us 6. Donate a monetary gift in memory at of the person’s loved one. Remind the person that his or her loved one is not forgotten. 7. Never tell someone that he or she Alabama’s First Hospice. Still Local. Still Non-Profit should be “over it”. Instead, give the Providing uplifting care to the River Region since 1976. person hope that, eventually, he or she will enjoy the holidays again. 8. Be willing to listen. Active listening

Hospice of Montgomery

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December 2014



Brrrrrrr...Holiday Freezing Tips Well that time of year is upon us - food to excess, lots of leftovers ending up in the freezer, many never to be used again. Clearly we should start the process by not overbuying in the first place, but that aside, how can we ensure that we make good use of all this extra food and that it doesn’t end up being thrown away? Firstly, freezing food will always have an effect on flavor, just through the physical nature of the process - development of ice crystals and the thawing out of those same crystals, changes the very structure of the cells of the food, which ultimately has a detrimental effect on flavor and texture. So, instead of automatically freezing everything, use your fridge to its best advantage first. Many things will keep well in your fridge for up to a week; vegetables particularly. Look at what you have; what can you eat within the next 7 days - leave that in the fridge. Then move on the rest, but do freeze it while it’s as fresh as possible - if you freeze food that’s borderline going bad, when you thaw it out it will still be in that same state. I have heard people talk about freezing food to “save it” from going bad; well if it’s all ready at that stage then freezing will not help. So, once you’ve selected the leftovers that need to be frozen, try to make sure they meet these guidelines: 1) be made of suitably freezable ingredients 2) be wrapped/packaged correctly for freezer use 3) be dated! The following foods should be never be frozen: Cheese - hard cheese freeze better than soft, but all change their texture and taste dramatically and after freezing should only be used in cooking. Many hard cheeses last so long in the fridge that really you shouldn’t need to freeze them. Cream - you can freeze cream once whipped, but it becomes complicated and hardly worth the effort. Yoghurt, cottage cheese, etc also come under this category. Eggs - never thaw out so well, except raw egg whites which can be frozen in ice cube trays.

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Various vegetables have such a high water patches before cooking. Freezer burn is content that they just go mushy when caused by excessive drying because of thawed - cabbage, green onion, greens… improper wrapping or fluctuating freezer etc. Some are good for cooking with after temperatures. Although your freezer freezing, such as tomatoes. If you must may be filled with ice (especially if you freeze vegetables, I suggest pureeing never defrost it), the air in it is extremely them first and dry. As a result, then using them in if unwrapped or soups. Store bought poorly wrapped with Tracy Bhalla frozen vegetables food is left there are flash frozen and for some time, it’ll therefore do not undergo freezer go through quite a burn. In freezer different process burn the ice and are better for crystals in the food serving instead of evaporate without fresh vegetables. first melting (a It is important process called Tracy with her son Ashton, the healthiest eating to remember, sublimation), 6 year old you’ll ever meet! however, that store altering the taste bought frozen vegetables of the dried-out parts should be cooked from frozen (NOT when they’re thawed and eaten and in thawed out first), that way they will keep extreme cases making them inedible. their crispness once cooked. The freezer in your refrigerator and a How you wrap/package your food is the dedicated “deep freezer” are not the next step. There are many products out same. Most modern refrigerators have there on the supermarket shelves labelled frost-free freezers. The temperatures as freezer safe. From Ziploc bags to cling in these cycle to prevent the buildup wrap, pick the ones that say freezeable of ice. Food should not be stored in a and you will have a better freezing refrigerator-freezer for longer than a experience. Store-packaged meats and week, as it is only intended for short-term poultry--those in thin plastic wrap with storage. Styrofoam bottoms--are unsuitable for long-term freezing, so place them in My third criteria - dating: most food freezer bags before putting them in the should only be kept in a deep freeze for freezer. Evacuate as much air as possible 4-6 months; vegetables and commercially out of them before putting in the freezer. flash frozen foods can be kept longer (1-2 years). If you label the date the food Metal and plastic containers are suitable went into the freezer, you should avoid for freezing sauces. Don’t fill them waste later on by making sure you use up completely, because liquids expand the oldest food first. Also, please do not during freezing. In fact all things expand freeze, thaw and freeze again; at least not once frozen, so always allow for some unless it has been cooked inbetween. expansion, though the higher the liquid Happy Holidays! content the greater it will be. Allow for Tracy Bhalla, Owner/ Manager of Cool Beans about 10% expansion and you should be Restaurant, 115 Montgomery Street, P: fine. 334.416.8447,

Eating Smart

Freezer burn--those white, gray or dry spots that occasionally appear on frozen food--isn’t harmful, but it makes food tough and tasteless. Be sure to cut off those freezer-burned Trained as an architect! Worked as a teacher of product design and graphic design for 9 years in England and Bermuda. Always had a love of healthy, good-for-you food. Always cooking for friends and family. Married a cardiologist in 2007. We have a shared passion about eating healthily (and wine) and both love to cook, so when Cool Beans became available we jumped at it.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

December 2014



December 2014

{12 Things} for active boomers and beyond


extending our Open House thirty minutes this year, followed by Karren Pell’s Holiday Revue in the Old Church at 7:30! Free Admission! Old Alabama Town is located at 310 N. Hull Street, Downtown Montgomery. For more information visit

Don’t miss A Christmas Carol at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, November 22, 2014 December 24, 2014. An ASF tradition begins with the return of this holiday hit featuring Charles Dickens himself who, with sleight of hand and sense of humor, brings his magical story to life. When miserly Ebenezer Scrooge receives an unwanted visit from the ghost of his former business partner, an overnight journey of epic proportions begins. With a gorgeous set, period costumes, beautifully sung carols and a spectacular new ending, you and your family will be left totally enthralled! For more information call 334.271.5353 or visit


A Christmas Carol ASF Through December 24, various times


9th Annual Interfaith Nativity Exhibit. Wednesday-Sunday, December 3-7, 1-8 pm The 9th Annual Interfaith Christmas Nativity Exhibit is becoming a treasured tradition in the River Region. As you attend this year, you will enjoy many different pleasures. Through nativity displays, artwork and music you will feel the true Spirit of Christmas and a yearly tradition will be added to your family’s Christmas celebration. Admission is free making multiple visits possible. The exhibit is held at 3460 Carter Hill Road in Montgomery, Alabama. The dates are December 3-7, 2014, Wednesday –Sunday. The times each day are from 1:00 pm-8:00 pm. On Sunday the event will close with a Christmas performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to be broadcast at 7:00 pm. Let us remember Christ at Christmas together as we attend this annual event. For more information visit


Old Alabama Town-Holiday Open House Thursday, December 4th, 4 to 7:30 pm It’s almost time for the Old Alabama Town Holiday Open House! Take home a photo with Father Christmas, enjoy live Holiday music featuring a bell choir, men’s quartet & more, visit our craft station where children can make traditional pioneer crafts, enjoy storytelling and chat with costumed villagers, and of course we’ll have cookies and hot cider all night long! We have so many delightful things that we’re

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Christmas Lights Festival Montgomery Zoo December 4-7, 11-14 and 18-31, 5:30pm - 9:30pm nightly See the Montgomery Zoo transformed into a Winter Wonderland sparkling with thousands of lights and festive decorations. Take a leisurely stroll, a brisk train ride or see the lights from atop the Zoofari Skylift Ride. Visit Santa, enjoy the live nightly entertainment and no winter’s night would be complete without some warming hot chocolate and fresh baked cookies. Check out a list of extra activities here. Regular night time admission: $15 (ages 3 years old and older). Ticket includes entry and one Christmas Lights Festival train ride. For more information, call 334.240.4900 or vist

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA Holiday Open House at MMFA Montgomery Museum of Fine Art Saturday, December 6, , 1-4 pm

The festivities for the event include musical performances by local school choirs and performance groups, holiday art projects, cookies and lemonade, and horse and carriage rides in the park. Holiday Open House is free and open to the public, so invite your friends and family and spend the afternoon at MMFA celebrating the season. For more information visit


Weekday Dayhike on Montevallo Parks Trail Wednesday, December 9th, 9-1 The second, newly established weekday hike. Enjoy an easy 3 or so mile hike on a trail in Montevallo. The main trail is probably less than a mile one way and goes through parks, by two picturesque, flowing streams, and around a beautiful The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

University-owned lake in a wooded park. Total hiking distance may be about three miles. If you are retired or not working on this particular Wednesday, you are urged to participate in the group hike on the trail and get a feel for the location and scale of the land. This is a guided tour of an easily walkable trail. Please bring plenty of water and wear good walking shoes or boots. Dress appropriately for the weather. For more information call Dan Frederick at 205.631.4680 or visit seoutings. org


Alabama’s Civil War Soldiers Museum of Alabama at the Alabama Department of Archives and History Saturday, December 13th, 1-2 pm The Museum of Alabama will offer FREE, themed tours of its all-new exhibits on the second Saturday of each month at 1pm. Led by expert staff members, these tours will focus on a wide variety of Alabama history topics. This is a unique opportunity for visitors to ask questions and gain a deeper understanding of Alabama’s story through the museum’s Smithsonian-quality exhibitions. No pre-registration for tours is required. Dec. 13th: Alabama’s Civil War Soldiers – Bob Bradley, Chief Curator. Learn about Alabama during the Civil War and the life of a soldier. This tour will be followed by a period rifle firing demonstration. The Museum of Alabama is located at the Alabama Department of Archives and History in downtown Montgomery, across the street from the State Capitol. For more information call 334.242.4364 or visit

will match up the Sun Belt Conference against the Mid-American Conference (MAC). The game will be televised live on the ESPN family of networks. For more information visit

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA Capital of Dreams Christmas Parade Downtown Montgomery Friday, December 19th, 6:15-8 pm

Kick off the Season on Friday, December 19th with the Capital City’s very merry Capital of Dreams Christmas Parade filled with oh-so-jolly floats and festivities. Celebrate this special season and gather with loved ones for a night that is sure to make all your Christmas dreams come true. Parade Route will run from the Capitol Steps to Court Square Fountain. For more information, call 334.625.2100 or visit


Montgomery Ballet’s Nutcracker Downtown Montgomery-MPAC Friday-Sunday, November 19-21, various times The Montgomery Ballet will present “The Nutcracker” at the Davis Theatre for the Performing Arts. After the matinee performances Saturday and Sunday, there will be a “Sugar Plum Fairy Party” on stage with the Sugar Plum Fairy and others. Tickets range from $10-$30 and can be purchased online at or through the ballet office at 334-409-0522. There are discounts for children, seniors, students and military personnel. Friday,7;30 pm, Saturday 2:00 pm, Sugar plum Party immediately after and 7:30 pm, Sunday 12/21/14 2:00 pm, Sugar Plum Party immediately after For more information visit



The Alabama Governor’s Mansion serves as the people’s house. One of the most special traditions is opening it to the public for Christmas. Bring your family to this year’s Holiday Tours: December 1, 8, and 15 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Admission is free, and no reservations are required. Alabama Governor’s Mansion, 1142 S Perry St, Downtown Montgomery. For more information, call 334.834.3022 or visit

This is a very special year for Mannheim Steamroller. They’re celebrating 30 years since the release of Chip’s first Christmas record and 30 years of having the privilege of sharing the Christmas season with you! It’s also the 40th Anniversary of Chip’s very first Fresh Aire record. So make sure you join us during this Extraordin-AIRE-y Mannheim Steamroller 30/40 year!!!! For more information visit or

The Alabama Governor’s Mansion Holiday Tours Governor’s Mansion Sunday, November 16th, 2:304:30 pm


Camellia Bowl Football Game Cramton Bowl, Downtown Montgomery Saturday, December 20th, 8:15 - 11:15 pm The 2014 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl,will be held December 20, 2014 at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery. This postseason college football game The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Tour Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) Arena Tuesday, December 23rd, 7:30 pm

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December 2014



By Greg Budell

The Mayor of BOOMTOWN

THE REASON FOR THE SEASON The town of Tallassee is, for me, the ultimate Change of Scenery destination in Alabama. I love the place. They preserve their history. The streets and the homes all seem to have stories to tell, and relics like the old cotton mill look like books waiting to be written.

was shouting greetings. He doesn’t expect the love, but it sure was genuine. More impressively, Ben knew the name of every Huddle House customer and took the time to have a friendly exchange with one and all.

At Christmastime, it is decorated in a wonderfully old-fashioned, humble way. Take a drive north on Alabama 29 from I-85 this month, and soak up the Christmas spirit.

I first met Ben in 2009 when he began sponsoring my talk show. Ben Atkinson Motors had just been shrunk by the illegal bankruptcy of GM- and some bureaucrat somewhere arbitrarily decided Ben didn’t need the GM product line any longer.

I was driving through Tallassee with a friend on a sleepy Saturday morning recently, when he pointed to a large white antebellum home and said “that house was in the movie ‘Big Fish’. The friend driving me around was Ben Atkinson. I had never seen “Big Fish”, but knew it was filmed in the area. By chance, when I returned home after hanging with Big Ben, the movie was on one of my cable channels. It sucked me in, and by the time it ended I was in tears, touched by the sweetness of the story, and it’s beautifully produced conclusion. Which brings me back to Mr. Ben. He’s quite the storyteller, and in fact- may be Tallassee’s real-life Big Fish. Everyone in Tallassee knows Ben Atkinson Sr. We stopped at the Huddle House on 29 for breakfast. As we walked in, every diner at every table and the staff

In one moment, with a lifeless letter of notification, GM left him with an empty showroom. Ben’s only brag in life is “I’ve done everything but collect an unemployment check”. His work history is a chain link of self-made opportunities that ultimately led to his name on the Ford store on Gilmer in Tallassee. This man, who’d busted butt working his way from truck driving gigs to full-blown entrepreneurial status- wasted no time in responding to GM’s decision. Some might have felt victimized by such an arbitrary decision. He could have been angry, or felt- justifiably- he was the victim of a faceless bureaucrat. When asked about his feelings about

the change, he said “Victims are the kids fighting cancer at St. Judes”. He just did what he’s always done when confronted by adversity- find a way through it. The GM showroom quickly became a NAPA auto parts store and every GM employee still had a paycheck. He wanted those employees to join him in the “I never had to collect an unemployment check” club. No fanfare or chest thumping. Adjustment made. Move on. Ben’s climb up the ladder was driven by personal responsibility, seeking the next best opportunity to put food on the table for his family- to make things a little better for them with every new rung achieved. Now, a true BOOMER- Ben has some room to breathe. In our drive through the Tallassee countryside, he pulled off the road and onto a patch of farm to check on some livestock. Curious cows and bulls sauntered up to the truck’s side, their big brown eyes conveying trust. In this beautiful pastoral setting, the chaos of the real world seemed a million miles distant.

Greg Budell's column is proudly sponsored by McDonald, Barranco & Hagen Wealth Management

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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

“God’s been so good to me”, he said, while hand- feeding his brood right through the window. “He gets all the credit”. Ben Atkinson Senior is quite the Bible scholar. He’ll take time away from the car store to read “the one book you can never spend enough time with”, or listen to tapes of his favorite preachers. Ben makes ad copy simple every December. When I ask what he’d like to feature, his answer is “thank the people who did business with us, thank the people who gave us a chance, and remind everyone about the reason for the season”. And he means it. So when it came time for a Christmas column, I thought about this generous, community-contributing “big” small businessman in Tallassee. He walks the talk. So, Merry Christmas! Oh- and don’t forget the reason for the season! Greg Budell lives in Montgomery with his wife, children and dogs. He’s a 25 year veteran of radio who hosts the Greg & Susan morning show 6-9 am and Happy Hour 3-6 pm on NEWSTALK 93.1, Greg can be reached at

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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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December 2014