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What a stroke looks like.

What recovery looks like.

Jackson Hospital is proud to be recognized by The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association for achieving 85% or higher adherence to all Get With The GuidelinesÂŽ Stroke Performance Achievement made possible by our specialized stroke team of emergency physicians, CT technologists, radiologists, pharmacists and neurologists.

Trust your treatment to the area’s first Gold Plus certified stroke program at Jackson Hospital.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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May 2012




May 2012

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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May 2012




May 2012

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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


May 2012 Volume 2 Issue 10

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” 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 8 Publisher’s Letter 12 Cover Profile 14 Old House Expo 2012 15 Boomers Take on Reverse Mortgages

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21 Boomers Ride... Think Safety 22 Healthy Hearing, Learning to Listen: Secrets of Success


Boomer Couples are Divorcing at a Record Rate

18 Improve Memory Avoid “brain flatulence.”

Departments 10 This and That

28 {12} Things

You may learn something.

You can’t do them all.

20 Bucket List

Hitting the Midlife Road Trip

26 Sherry Debray

Restoring Relationships

24 “I wrote a book about it...” 25 Art & Soul: Sandi Aplin 27 BOOM! Advertising 30 Male Call: Greg Budell



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BOOM! magazine is published monthly by River Region Publications, 8637 Harvest Ridge Dr., Montgomery, AL 36116. The phone number for voice and fax is 334.523.9510. Copyright 2012 by River Region Publications. No part of this publication can be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Opinions expressed in BOOM! 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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May 2012



publisher’s letter

Grace 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 Dr. Bettie Borton

Greg Budell Nancy Bull Sherry DeBray Carole King

Marianne McLeod

Rick Montgomery Victoria Rumble Wina Sturgeon Kathy Witt

Cover Photography

Maria Wiggins, Reflections of Grace


Jim Watson, 334.523.9510

Monette Mottenon, 334.523.9510

I’m a 62 year old man who has discovered the excitement of a new love, a new business venture and will soon embrace my new granddaughter! Her name is Grace. At least that’s her new American name. She lives in Moscow and sometime during the first few days of May, she will be greeted again by her new parents, my son Jason and his wife DeAnne. She will meet for the first time her big brother, Will, and her big sister, Anna. She will also meet grandparents for the first time (DeAnne’s Parents). They are all traveling together to greet our newest family member. I’m disappointed now I didn’t make plans to join them. I can already feel the emotions when this orphaned little girl will be met with all of their love. The adoption of Grace, who is 14 months old, will change our family. She will be the center of attention (rightfully so), she will capture my heart and I will fall in love again. Jim Watson, Publisher Jackie (my fiancée) and I are excited about being grandparents for Grace; she will change our hearts forever. If you want to read more about Grace you can go to

The May issue of BOOM! will be interesting from so many different angles. First, our BOOM! Cover profile is a very special woman who I’ve known for many years. Her name is Marianne McLeod and she is the Executive Director of Jubilee Cityfest. She delivered many big time enetertainers for Jubilee over the years and helped make Downtown Montgomery the very special place it is becoming. In fact, we did the May photo shoot just outside the newest and hippest downtown hangout, the Sand Bar at the Silos. Marianne sat down with us and shared a little of her life’s journey, including a slight change for her future schedule. Do you know someone over 50 and divorced? So do a lot of people. Apparently, there’s a growing trend with our generation to call it quits. It’s a sad commentary on we’ve become and it has some unique complications, other generations don’t have. You can read more on page 16.

More to my liking is the Bucket List Adventures on page 20. This couple goes around to various places that are selected from their “Bucket List” and accomplish them. They make produce a show out of their adventures and you can watch the episodes at Heck, with some inexpensive equipment, we could all begin to experience our Bucket Lists and share them on you tube. Send me your link when you get started!

As usual, there’s plenty to do during the month of May so check out the BOOM! 12 Things and pick a few and have some new experiences. I recommend Jubilee Cityfest for two reasons, it’s FREE this year and it’s the BIGGEST fireworks show in Alabama!

Design & Layout Lake House Graphics


Network Delivery


Publications Press, Montgomery, AL 334.244.0436

Please check out some of our local writers including Greg Budell sharing about Motherhood via Weiner Dogs and Sherry Debray, who helps us understand how to restore relationships from a Christian perspective. Now that’s something for everyone! Thanks again for all the good wishes on my future marriage to Jackie. As always, I appreciate your feedback and friendship. It’s a Great Time to be Booming!

Jim Please Recycle This Magazine, Share with a Friend!


May 2012 334.324.3472 cell/text 334.523.9510 office

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Meet the doctor who’s all ears. Ask audiologist Dr. Bettie Borton how many ears she’s treated and she’ll say “thousands.” It’s the voice of experience. As a board-certified audiologist with more than 30 years of experience, Dr. Borton is recognized as an expert in hearing health care. The only AudigyCertifiedTM provider in Alabama, Dr. Borton has been helping your friends and neighbors get the most out of life for years. Call for a complimentary hearing screening. Then put yourself in the hands of someone who has done it a thousand times before.

Bettie B. Borton, Au.D., FAAA Board Certified Doctor of Audiology Former National Chair of the American Board of Audiology President-Elect of the American Academy of Audiology For your convenience,

call us toll-free at



7025 Halcyon Park Dr, Ste A


Doctors Hearing Clinic

2204-D Gateway Dr

View our virtual seminar at

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May 2012




This & tHAT Bus Tour of Private Daylily Gardens

Montgomery Area Daylily Society is offering a bus tour of private daylily gardens – Club Members: Pay for hotels and meals, Non-Members: Pay $100 per person for bus, pay for hotels and meals Leave from Montgomery approx 5:00 a.m. on Friday, June 8, Return on Sunday, June 10 approx 5:30 p.m. Visit stunning gardens in Georgia (Sycamore, Sparks, Blackshear, Pembroke, Bloomingdale, Savannah, Leesburg) and Savannah Historical District, deluxe bus is air-conditioned w/restroom, stops for delicious lunches, purchase new daylily introductions by leading hybridizers. One of the advantages of belonging to a daylily club is the opportunity to visit gardens you might not otherwise see. Our bus trip offers visits to private gardens operated by leading hybridizers and some experts on daylilies. Club membership not required. For information, contact Terese Goodson, President, 334-288-6024 or 334-354-2854 ( ) Reservations for Friday and Saturday night’s hotels: Each person/couple responsible for making own reservations. Deadline to make your hotel reservations: May 15, 2012.

“Bang. Bang. Boom.” Barbara Binford Davis’ painting was chosen for this year’s Jubilee CityFest poster. Her style is impressionistic, portraying scenes of nature, and particularly skyscapes, but scenes of the city, as well — downtown streets, iconic spots in Cloverdale, the Capital and other landmarks. These themes are reflected in “Bang. Bang. Boom.,” the official Jubilee CityFest 2012 poster. The work depicts the riverfront, with brilliant fireworks lighting up a black night sky and reflecting below in the Alabama River. If you would like a print for your collection they are available at Stonehenge Gallery, 1041 E. Fairview Ave.; Gallery East, 8103 Vaughn Road; and the Jubilee CityFest office, 416 N. McDonough St. Cost: $20

6th Annual Plant Sale Capital City Master Gardener Association is holding it’s 6th Annual Plant Sale, Saturday, May 12, 2012 This free annual event at Old Alabama Town brings local master gardeners with plants from their gardens together with the public on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. CCMGA members are there to promote the fundraiser and answer any questions or concerns you might have about your yard or garden. CCMGA also offers Rain Barrel Workshops to the public. Contact Jane Martin at 334-271-0636 for information.

EastChase Farmer’s Market...Boomer’s Eat Fresh, Eat Local! The grand opening for the Shoppes at EastChase Farmer’s Market will take place Saturday, May 26, from 7 a.m. to noon in the parking lot between Dillard’s and Earth Fare Organic Grocer. Williams-Sonoma will kick off the opening with The Taste of EastChase as they provide cooking demonstrations featuring Alabama-grown produce. For the opening, a blue grass band will perform from 10 a.m. until noon and MANE’s miniature horse “Whinnie” will be there to provide rides for the kids. The Shoppes at EastChase Welcome tent will be set up on site and will include complimentary, reusable shopping bags filled with coupons from retailers. In addition, coffee will be served by Panera Bread from 7-9 a.m. and 32 degrees will provide yogurt samples at the booth. This is the eighth season for The Shoppes at EastChase Farmers Market. The Farmers Market is held every Saturday through August 25, from 7 a.m. until noon. The Farmers Market producers and growers offer unique items such as organic meats and milk, goat cheese, natural bath products and hand-made soaps, honey, sprout breads and fruit pastries all made from locally grown ingredients. For more information on The Shoppes at EastChase or its Farmers Market, call 334-279-6046.

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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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

Say “I do” All Over Again Say “I do” All Over Again Sunday, May 13 at 6 p.m. in Frazer UMC’s Wesley Hall. All married couples, their family and friends are invited to participate in a ceremony of renewing our wedding vows. Worship and prayer will culminate in repeating the traditional vows, as well as a time for couples to write and share their own “personalized” vows with each other. This service is associated with the “Relationship Rewind” teaching series in Contemporary Worship but is open to everyone. Call 272-8622 or visit

AUM Speech and Hearing Clinic Opens New Facility Just in time for Better Hearing and Speech Month this May, the Auburn Montgomery Speech and Hearing Clinic has opened the doors of its new home in Halcyon Summit. During a grand opening celebration on April 25, the clinic’s patients and the AUM community took part in an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony which included tours and free hearing screenings. Located at 7177 Halcyon Summit Drive, the clinic is an inclusive facility that provides diagnostic and Christi Lynch Bell, interim director of the AUM therapeutic services for chilSpeech and Hearing Clinic, cuts the ribbon at the dren and adults with speech clinic’s new facility. and hearing issues.

World’s Widest Yard Sale Each year thousands flock to the World’s Longest Yardsale, which runs from Gadsden to Addison, Mich., but this year central Alabama will play host to a new event billing itself as the World’s Widest Yard Sale. The yard sale will run for more than 350 miles along U.S. Hwy. 80 from Phenix City to Cuba, Alabama.The yard sale will take place Thursday, May 31, to Saturday, June 2. Towns along the route have named locations with vendor space available for rent. According to the yard sale’s website, those who want to have a yard sale on the route can set up at any place provided they have the landowner’s permission. The Montgomery location is at the Madison Avenue Gateway, including Crampton Bowl and the Montgomery Curb Market. People can register for a free space at the location by going to the Parks and Recreation Department’s website, Pike Road’s annual community yard sale will coincide with the World’s Widest Yard Sale and will take place at Pike Road Town Hall Saturday, June 2. For more info visit

Threads of a Story: History Inspiring Art

by Charlotta Janssen Through May 28, at Troy University Rosa Parks Museum

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Getting Older Makes Us Happier! ““When we recognize that we don’t have all the time in the world, we see our priorities most clearly.”” In the 20th century we added an unprecedented number of years to our lifespans, but is the quality of life as good? Surprisingly, yes! At TEDxWomen psychologist Laura Carstensen shows research that demonstrates that as people get older they become happier, more content, and have a more positive outlook on the world. Check out the 11 minute video at

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May 2012




Marianne McLeod, Downtown Pioneer This month’s BOOM! profile is Marianne McLeod. Many of you know Marianne because of her work with the annual downtown festival, Jubilee Cityfest. She has been the Executive Director for Jubilee Cityfest since 1992 and was in the forefront of developing Downtown Montgomery as a destination for fun and entertainment in the River Region. We have all enjoyed the hundreds of top notch entertainers Marianne brought to the Capital City. From all of us, thanks for the good times! We say thanks because Marianne has just announced she will be retiring after this years Jubilee Cityfest. We will miss her leadMarianne, Carly age 7 Choley age 2 1/2 on Commander at Pinchona ership and enthusiasm for Montgomery and all it has to offer. Now she can enjoy her new Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce life with grandkids, horses and husband to keep and worked there for almost 10 years in her busy. Marianne spent some time with us the Convention Visitor’s Division. In the recently and shared some of her life’s journey. summer of 1992, I was hired as the direcWe enjoyed the visit and we think you will too. tor of Jubilee CityFest, Inc. Marianne, thanks for making our community a better place to live.

BOOM!: Please give us a brief biography, i.e. where you’re from, education, what brought you to the Montgomery area, did you raise your family here, schools, married, family, etc? Marianne: My father was in the Air Force, and I was born while my parents were stationed in Frankfurt, Germany. After returning to the states, we lived in Louisiana, South Carolina and California. Most of my childhood and young adulthood was spent in California. I graduated from Antelope Valley High School, El Camino City College, attended Boise State University, and graduated from Auburn University Montgomery. I moved to Montgomery from Boise, Idaho in 1979. I started my career at the-

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I am married to David McLeod and have two children and five grandchildren. David and I live on a horse farm in Pintlala along with our son, David, and my brother, Jim McCusker.

BOOM!: As Executive Director of Jubilee Cityfest, could you tell us what we can expect for this year’s weekend festival May 18-19? Marianne: This year the festival is going back to its roots. For the first time in twenty years, the concerts and fireworks show on Saturday night at Riverwalk Amphitheater will be free to the public. A generous donation by the Creek Casinos allows our fireworks display, Bama’s Big Bang, to be free to the public. The Poarch Creek Indians seek to be responsible members of the community and want to give back to the River Region. Bama’s Big

Bang gates open at 5:00 pm on Saturday night. Friday night kicks-off with BrewFest featuring over 70 craft beers and some of the best BBQ in the South. Saturday morning starts early with the Jubilee CityFest Run for Cancer organized by Alfa’s Insurance employees. A major portion of the run proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society. Saturday afternoon from 1:00-5:00pm KidsFest will be held inside the Renaissance Convention Center with over 100,000 sq. feet of fun for the whole family! KidsFest activities include Inflatables, arts and crafts, laser tag, the Big Green Bus, kid’s karaoke and more. BOOM!: Part of the mission of Jubilee was to promote Downtown Montgomery, what do you think about the current efforts to development Downtown Montgomery? Marianne: I love seeing the growth in downtown Montgomery. When I first moved here in 1979, there was nothing going on after 5:00 pm. You could shoot a cannon through downtown at night and not hit anyone. Now in contrast, on a Saturday night the restaurants are full, there are people walking around and to coin an old phrase “ the joint is jumping.” I love it! Montgomery is finally coming into its own. BOOM!: We understand this will be your last year with Jubilee because you’ve decided to retire. What are your retirement plans? Marianne: I am looking forward to the next chapter in my life. I want to spend more time on our farm riding horses, enjoying time with my family, friends and grandchildren and doing some traveling.

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I have spent the last 30 years of my career working with volunteers - now it is time for me to volunteer my services. BOOM!: What’s it like being a grandmother? What do your grandchildren call you?

Marianne: I am very involved with the grandchildren and their daily activities and running a horse farm keeps me busy. BOOM!: What is it about living in the Montgomery/River Region area that you like?

Marianne: Energetic, affectionate, independent and loyal. BOOM!: Do you have any hobbies or other activities that grab your attention? Marianne: I would like to take art lessons and become an accomplished photographer. I love taking pictures that capture a moment in time - whether the subject is a person, animal or landscape.

Marianne: I love beMarianne’s mother, Ethel McCusker, lived to 95, ing a grandmother. came to the event from Arizona almost every year. BOOM!: Many Boomers are experiencing Although I never had Marianne: I lived and worked in Monta renewed sense of purpose, new goals, children of my own, I was lucky enough to gomery from 1979 to 2003. In the spring even in retirement. How would you demarry a man with children. My grandchilof 2003 we bought Pinchona, our farm. scribe this sense of renewal in your life? dren call me Mae Mae. I love country Any advice for the rest of living. I like the us seeking renewal? BOOM!: Favorite vacation spot? laid back nature of Pintlala. We Marianne: Well, since I Marianne: I love to visit the beaches of have one stop have not retired yet - I am Alabama and Florida. My favorite once in light in town. My not able to give any advice. a lifetime vacation was going to Kenya on grandchildren However, I don’t look at rea photo Safari. I loved the countryside, attend school at tirement as an ending, but the people and, most of all, seeing the Pintlala Elemenas a new beginning and am exotic animals in their natural setting. tary and we have excited about the endless Any travel dreams planned for the future? a public library, possibilities ahead. I want to go to Greece, Germany, Australia a feed and and New Zealand. Granddaddy - David McLeod with Chandler hardware store, BOOM!: Is there any job McLeod fishing at the pond on Pinchona a handful of that could get you out of BOOM!: What are you most passionate churches and the social event of the year retirement? A dream Job? about? is a wine tasting at Mosley’s gas station in downtown Pintlala. When we want the Marianne: I really had the “Dream Job” Marianne: I love animals and city scene, we head with Jubilee CityFest. I loved working try to help them as much as I into Montgomery with the volunteers, city, and sponsors to can. I have three horses and for shopping, thecreate an event that has done so much for several rescue animals: one atre, and dining. the revitalization of downtown and the horse, three dogs, and four quality of life in Montgomery. My fantasy cats. My husband says “no BOOM!: As you’ve career excluding ability and age would be more.” aged, how have a professional tennis player! your priorities BOOM!: How do you like to changed? relax and wind down? Marianne: I don’t Marianne: Our farm “Pinchotake myself so na” is my spiritual place. I love seriously. I am hanging out at the farm, muckmore comfortable ing stalls, grooming horses, with myself, I have riding, observing wildlife and learned to slow Grandchildren Choley, Carley and Chandler entertaining with family and down and to take Jubilee Cityfest 2011 friends. I board horses and I time to appreciate a pretty sunset, good love the camaraderie with the boarders, conversation and good wine. If you have any questions for Marianne you can reach talking horses and riding. her at 334.834.7220 or BOOM!: Give us three words that deWe want to thank Marianne for sharing her time and BOOM!: Do you have time to be involved scribe you? and photos for this month’s BOOM! Cover Profile. If in community, civic or other activities? you have questions, comments or suggestions, please Faith based organizations? send them to

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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May 2012



Montgomery, like many communities from coast to coast, is filled with unexplored historic treasures — and May’s the month to celebrate them! Decades ago, here in Montgomery, a few neighborhood preservationists put their heads together to come up with a new and innovative way to spark interest in revitalizing Montgomery’s historic Midtown neighborhoods. The first Saturday of May offered informative workshops about historic neighborhoods, local architectural styles, period interiors, and many assorted how-to projects for older homes. The first Sunday became Old House Expo, a “Parade of Homes” for older homes that were available for purchase. Through the years, several notable historic homes have been saved and the property values in historic Midtown neighborhoods have risen and stabilized. Now, each year, we diehard neighborhood preservationists mark our calendars for Old House Expo. This year it’s on Sunday, May 6. With map in hand, we beat the streets oohing and aahing over neat interior renovations, awesome landscaping and gardens, attractive paint schemes and decorating ideas from these homes for sale. And we visit with folks we only see once a year on this particular Sunday, all of us old house lovers and decorating dreamers. The Old House Expo has been one of Montgomery’s most effective historic preservation and neighborhood revitalization tools, creating awareness for our rich inventory of homes in our historic neighborhoods. Check out the Old House Expo on Sunday afternoon, May 6, from 1:00 until 5:00 and help us ensure that our local treasures will be protected for future generations. For more information, call 334.834.1500. Read more from Carole King’s Blog at Carole King (not the singer, just the hummer) enjoys midtown living from South Capitol Parkway in Capitol Heights where she has lived for 25+years. Carole has been the historic properties curator for the Landmarks Foundation that manages Old Alabama Town for 28 years and is passionate about neighborhoods, their architectural character, their people, and their preservation!

Women of Hope Breast Cancer Support Group Tuesday, May 8th, 5:30 p.m. Frazer UMC, Room 8114 6000 Atlanta Highway

Enjoy fun and fellowship with your breast cancer “sisters” and friends!

The program will be:

“Its not always as it seems” presented by

Martha Bell, Breast Cancer Survivor Everyone is Welcome!

For information please call 334-220-4599 or email

Our goal is to make sure that all women AND men are educated about breast cancer and the effects it has on family and friends. Hope is the assurance that one day we will be able to live cancer free! Your support is greatly appreciated and helps so many deserving breast cancer patients and survivors including their families. Women of Hope Breast Cancer Support Group meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month (Jan-Nov). Meetings are held at 5:30 p.m.

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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

More Baby Boomers Take on Reverse Mortgages

Home equity conversion mortgages, commonly called reverse mortgages, are gaining in popularity among younger borrowers. The MetLife Mature Market Institute recently conducted a study with the National Council on Aging that found the average age of reverse mortgage borrowers has been declining steadily since 2000. Borrowers from ages 62-64 -- the youngest group eligible to apply for this type of loan -have traditionally accounted for a very small percentage of reverse mortgage applications, but the study indicates they now represent one in five prospective borrowers. In addition, about two-thirds of prospective borrowers report already having a conventional mortgage. Reverse mortgage basics Unlike conventional mortgages, reverse mortgages don’t require property owners to make monthly payments to a mortgage company. Instead, the company makes payments to the owner. According to MetLife, money from reverse mortgages may be received in several forms: *A lump sum payment *Equal monthly payments for as long as the borrower lives in the home *Equal monthly payments for a fixed term *A line of credit There are no restrictions on how this money may be used. Once the borrower is deceased, sells the home or has failed to live in the home for 12 consecutive months, the loan becomes due and must be paid back in full. Trends in reverse mortgages While reverse mortgages are available to homeowners as young as age 62, they have traditionally been used by much older individuals. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports the average age of reverse mortgage borrowers was nearly 77 in 1990. By 2010, that age had dipped below 73. Meanwhile, the number of prospective borrowers between the ages of 62-64 has increased 15 percent. This is despite the fact younger borrowers have lower available loan limits. In addition, many prospective borrowers are reporting they already have conventional mortgages and other debt. Two-thirds of those going through mandatory counseling classes for reverse mortgage applicants said they already had a conventional mortgage. Slightly more than a quarter -- 27 percent -- also said they had both housing and non-housing debt.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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May 2012




Boomer Couples are Divorcing at a Record Rate The generation that once embraced the smiley face and peace symbol as cultural logos is now divorcing in historic fashion. Divorce rates are higher for baby boomers than for any previous generation, while rates are declining, slightly, for society as a whole. New research and census data reveal an unprecedented trend of Americans splitting apart as they turn grayer: In 2009, people ages 50 and older were twice as likely to divorce as their counterparts in 1990. Researchers have just begun to explore why. They know that, for many boomer couples, the kids are out of the house and it’s time to face reality. Often, one spouse has fallen for someone else at work. Professional women, a boomer hallmark, are better able to get by on their own. And longer life spans probably figure into the phenomenon, experts say. People in their 50s or early 60s may expect to have a few more healthy decades left, so why spend them unhappy? “We haven’t put much focus on divorce among older adults. The thought was, well, they don’t get divorced _ their transition is into widowhood,” said Susan L. Brown, a sociology professor at Bowling Green State University and co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, which released a study on the “Gray Divorce Revolution” last month. “What we’re now seeing raises questions about what predicts a divorce later in life and what are the consequences for society,” she said. “For individuals, the

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Ellen, whose marriage produced three now-grown children, had been dreading this exercise. “It turned out to be cathartic,” she said, although she did not feel secure enough to allow her full name to be used in the newspaper. Her family has felt enough jolts.

effects are going to be variable depending on whether you’re the dumper or the dumpee ... “I’d think it would be terribly stressful to get divorced at this stage in life.” For 56-year-old Ellen, 35 years of marriage came down to this: A montage of words and images she recently clipped from magazines, the final assignment in a 10week course for women newly divorced or hurtling that way. “Starting over,” she snipped out and glued to a sheet of paper to present to the group. Seven middle-aged women gathered at a local church. Most had lost their husbands to other women, substance abuse or both. Ellen’s montage, or “vision page” as termed by Midlife Divorce Recovery, sponsor of the course, reflected her effort to come to grips with a future she never imagined. “Life lessons,” “trust,” “makeover,” the clippings read. She affixed a picture of boxing gloves to one corner of the page and, on the backside, an illustrated birthday cake with lots of flaming candles above the word, “Oh!”

“We’re seeing divorces after 30, 40 By Rick Montgomery years of marriage ... and people who haven’t been there can’t imagine the devastation,” said Midlife Divorce Recovery’s founder, Suzy Brown, 65, of Kansas City. “A lot of baby-boomer spouses, usually the wives, went to college but never had much chance to hone their skills. They chose to stay home and raise children, as did a lot of stay-at-home dads. Now they’re on their own and wondering who’s going to hire them in this job market. “Some of the women are experiencing menopause. Some are dealing with the recent death of a parent. When you put it all together, it’s a major, cataclysmic life change.” New lifestyle Men, too, are reeling, given that two-thirds of baby-boom divorces are filed by wives. At United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, the same facility where the midlife women gathered, just-divorced men with gray on their temples are flocking for their own support sessions and hugs. They, too, report being betrayed by spouses who found love elsewhere. “About 20 men participated in the last eight-week session, and they are not younger men,” said the Rev. Steve Lang-

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

hofer. “We hadn’t seen that kind of turnout for the men’s group in a number of years, and all of a sudden, boom.”

maybe, in an unhappy situation with someone, baby boomers (pondering divorce) are saying, ‘It’s now or never.’?”

National statistics suggest the over-50 lifestyle is undergoing rapid change _ though the divorce data are skewed by all-time low marriage rates (and thus declining divorce rates) among younger Americans.

But calling it quits, especially in such a punishing economy, doesn’t necessarily lead to happy endings, say demographers and sociologists. Single Americans in their senior years tend to face more economic hardship than married couples. Unmarried elders are more likely to live in subsidized housing, and “this generation has fewer kids than the earlier generations had to help them along,” if needed, said William H. Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer.

Consider: - In 1990, fewer than 10 percent of U.S. divorces involved spouses age 50 or older. Today, more than 1 in 4 divorces involve older adults, including the very aged, who often split legally for financial reasons but continue to live together. - In 2009, the divorce rate hit 12.6 for every 1,000 married people ages 50-64, double the middle-aged divorce rate from 20 years earlier. - About a third of baby boomers today are unmarried. Most who are recently divorced have also experienced an earlier divorce. - More than 2.7 million Americans 50 or older are cohabitating, nearly three times as many as in 2000. Harder to gauge are the causes and possible effects of the “gray divorce” phenomenon, and whether a divorced boomer is a happier one. Studies show many women, in particular, eventually feel a sense of self-fulfillment and personal renewal after a midlife divorce. And hasn’t happiness always been the Holy Grail of boomer culture? In a 2010 survey by the Pew Research Center, baby boomers were much more likely than other Americans to express a belief that the main point of marriage was to seek happiness rather than to rear children. An earlier Pew study showed 66 percent of boomers would prefer divorce to an unhappy marriage. Only 44 percent of younger Americans agreed, though they’re less apt to tie the knot in the first place. Difficult endings “We don’t retire just to sit in rocking chairs anymore,” said Anne Holmes, a oncedivorced, now happily wed “boomer in chief” for the National Association of Baby Boomer Women. “We set out on new lives ... “People in the past stayed married whether they were happy or not, while us boomers have always been accused of asking, ‘What makes me happy?’ Facing another 30 years, The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

“Baby boomers in general are not likely to have that sure retirement their parents had, a real pension, their savings,” steady Social Security and medical coverage or other “reliable security blankets,” he said. Even for affluent boomers, these are crummy times to break up. Michelle Bath, 50, acquired in a 2010 divorce settlement the home she and her ex-husband designed, a spread that now conjures up memories of what she once thought was the perfect union. “I’m still in the house, and I can’t wait to get out. I look forward to that liberating feeling,” she said. “But my kids want to stay ... and if I sold now I’d take a loss.” After her midlife breakup, Bath, an independent accounting consultant, launched a side business to help divorcees and the soon-tobe-split work out their finances. The typical boomer couple has a net worth almost 50 times that of adults in their 20s who might be considering divorce. That piles a lot onto the plates of mediators working out divorce settlements. Beyond alimony, agreements must be reached on IRAs and mutual funds, the kids’ college costs and health insurance for a spouse who had relied on a breadwinner’s coverage. “You don’t have a health insurance plan, and you’re in your 50s? You’ve got a problem on the open market,” said Larry Swall, a Kansas City lawyer and family mediator. Caught in middle What are we forgetting? Oh, yeah, the kids. They may be older teens or off to college. They might even have their own

kids. But they’re still apt to be shaken when the parents go separate ways, said clinical psychologist Joe Nowinski of the University of Connecticut Health Center. “The idea that it’s much harder for younger children to adapt to a divorce, that doesn’t hold water,” he said. “For teenagers who are forging their identities and their peer groups, or for young adults trying to establish themselves, life is tumultuous enough. A divorce can really rock their boats.” Older children sometimes see the domestic storm coming before it hits. A college student how she discovered, through suspicious emails on the family computer, that her father was having an affair. She confronted him but, uncertain how to proceed, withheld the news from her mother for a couple of awkward years. She began to think Mom was aware and accepting of the tryst. Mom knew nothing, except that things got tense whenever her daughter visited and Dad was home. Dad eventually left. And daughter revealed his secret to Mom. “It was a turbulent thing I had to go through,” the daughter said, suspecting that many older children are the first to learn of an unfaithful parent. “I’m sure it happens all the time these days, the way 16-year-olds spend all their time on the computer.” Not all divorces late in life are so difficult. For couples who are retired, especially if one spouse is disabled or ill, divorces may be arranged for economic reasons. If one spouse lacks insurance to cover long-term care, for example, the other can shelter the household assets by getting a divorce and letting Medicaid pay the bills. Even Social Security benefits might increase, in certain circumstances, if a couple legally splits. And the Joneses next door? They, too, may be divorced. They’ve signed the papers. Divvied up the assets. Agreed to help the kids through college. They just aren’t able to sell the house, or don’t want to, not with housing prices so low. Not with one spouse out of work and willing to go anywhere for a job. The Gray Divorce Revolution may be serious, but it isn’t stupid. Distributed by MCT Information Services

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May 2012



By Wina Sturgeon

Five Ways to Improve Your Memory A momentary lapse of memory certainly isn’t isolated to those over 50. But it IS true that after half a century of life, humans are frequently have incidents of what is commonly referred to as “brain flatulence.” It can be embarrassing, even funny. However, these temporary moments of forgetfulness can also be dangerous; like not remembering that you already took a dose of medication. But there are methods of putting your memory on “automatic,” so you never again forget important basics. Here are five of them: I learned the first technique after realizing that both my two large dogs had become deceitful doggie con artists. Strider and Red get fed every morning and evening. I was always reminded to feed them because they would stand in front of the cupboard containing their food, looking at me with hopeful eyes. That was my cue to fill their dishes. One evening, as they assumed their position in front of the cupboard door, I thought, “Wait _ didn’t I already feed them?” I couldn’t remember. But I DID remember that I had wondered the same thing several times before. As I scooped food into their dishes, a solution came to mind. After their evening feeding, I would put the scoop on the shelf above the food. After feeding them in the morning, I would leave it in the bag, automatically showing me when they’d last been fed. The following night, they gathered in front of the cupboard, thumping their tails and waiting. I opened the door, and the scoop was on the higher shelf. “You dirty dogs,” I said accusingly, as they slunk away. After a few more fruitless tries, they stopped trying to con me. The scoop solution works every time. You can use the same system for every daily task. For example, if you take a regular medication, assign three places on a shelf: one for Monday, Wednesday and Friday; another for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, a third for Sunday. Put the pill bottle in place each time you use it, and you’ll always know when you last took a dose. Next, you’ll never lose track of important objects like your keys, phone or glasses if you create an inviolate place for each thing. For example, as soon as I enter my home, I put my keys in the lock and lock the door; before even setting the groceries down. Glasses are always left in front of the computer monitor. Cellphone is always left in my purse, so I never forget to take it with me. Learning this habit may take some time, but you’ll really appreciate it once you do. When leaving for a trip, begin gathering everything you’ll need two days earlier and put it in a pile in your main room. Just looking at the pile will remind you of things you need to add. That way, you’ll never have to buy new sunblock because you forgot yours; or realize, as my family did when darkness overtook us during a hike down the Grand Canyon, that nobody had remembered to bring flashlights. Keep a notebook and pen beside your landline phone, or on a kitchen counter if you only use a cellphone. Use the tablet to record each phone number or fact you want to remember, such as a friend’s new cell number, an upcoming meeting or the contact for a new business acquaintance. All information will then be in one place, not scattered around. Finally, ask others to help you remember things; that actually helps YOU remember. When you say, “Don’t let me forget my umbrella,” it’s surprising how often you’ll remember it without needing any other reminder. Wina Sturgeon is an active boomer based in Salt Lake City who skis, skates on both ice blades and wheels, lifts weights and runs to stay active. (c) 2012, Adventure Sports Weekly (, Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Tracie’s Skincare & Boutique Tracie D. is a Master Aesthetician (aes•the•ti•cian: a person who is knowledgeable about the nature and appreciation of beauty). She is also the owner and a beauty insider with a passion for making her clients feel & look their best, she calls it “Beautiful in You!” Tracie was inspired to become an aesthetician after many years working in the Dental and Medical Aesthetics field as A Treatment Coordinator. She worked for several cosmetic surgeons, as well as high end beauty spas. For Tracie, the joy of her work is sharing her knowledge about how to enhance a person’s beauty and look their best, for a day or in some cases much longer, especially using her semi-permanent make-up process. She will guide you to the beauty you desire, sending you home with the feeling of beautiful skin and an inner glow. When she is not catering to the need of her client’s skincare, she loves to keep herself in good spirit and physically fit, she enjoys reading and gardening, especially the beauty of her southern garden. Most importantly, she enjoys spending quality time with her family.

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May 2012



Bucket List Adventures

By Kathy Witt

Hitting the Midlife Road Trip

To eat a Belgian waffle - in Belgium. Cuddle a koala bear. Meet snack maven Little Debbie. Tug on Carol Burnett’s ear. If you’re going to dream, you’ve got to do it big. And some of the biggest dreams are realized within life’s simplest moments. Not that the iconic Carol Burnett isn’t bigger than life, but that doesn’t keep Sandra McKenna and Rick Griffin from harboring their fantasy, perhaps while singing their own rendition of the comedian’s signature closing song ... “I’m so glad we had this time together...” McKenna and Griffin are the creators of “The MidLife Road Trip,” an Internet-based food, travel and adventure series that debuted in August of 2010 and propels the pair around the world checking items off their bucket list while encouraging others along the way to do the same. “The MidLife Road Trip is all about making the most of every moment,” says McKenna. “It’s ‘stepping out of the box’ and trying something you never thought you could do. “It’s ordinary people having extraordinary experiences.” Meeting actor Kelsey Grammer backstage during the production of “La Cage aux Folles.” Walking across San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Rock climbing at AZ on the Rocks in Scottsdale - where an apprehensive McKenna provisioned herself with a sandwich tucked into her bosom, sustenance for the 31-foot climb. After a life-threatening illness in 2004 led to an epiphany about all his unfinished bucket list business, the then 43-year-old Griffin sold his chain of child care centers and got busy pursuing his triple passions: travel, writing and video production. Call it a midlife crisis or a reshuffling of priorities, but Griffin knew there was no time like the present to follow his bliss.

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He met McKenna via Twitter conversations about travel - the geneses of “The MidLife Road Trip.” In 2009, the two met in person when Griffin, based in Atlanta, Ga., brought his family to McKenna’s hometown of Tampa, Fla., for spring break. Both embraced the adventure of making a show about, well, people embracing adventure. Now an Internet sensation, the unscripted reality-based show pulls in thousands of viewers worldwide monthly who watch the intrepid twosome mark off their bucket list milestones: skydiving, meeting Mark Burnett (creator of “Survivor” and “The Apprentice”), seeing the world’s largest urban bat colony. Millions follow them on Twitter, faithfully tuning in each Tuesday afternoon for “The MidLife Road Trip’s” weekly Twitter Chat #NUTS (Not-so Usual Therapy Session). Guest therapists, culled from an enthusiastic fan base, ask a new question every six minutes for what McKenna and Griffin describe as the “most productive way to waste of your time on the Internet.” “We’ve made it up as we went and we work really well together,” says McKenna, who confesses that Griffin is the true adventurer of the pair. “Rick and I are exact opposites. He is not afraid of anything and he talks me off the ledge so many times.”

Taking a riverboat tour of Alaska’s Chena and Tanana Rivers, where the captain let Griffin pilot the riverboat. Rocking a helicopter ride, also in Alaska, over stunning glaciers and meeting a woman celebrating her 50th birthday by living out her own bucket list dream or, as she called it, “the full Monty”: Walking atop a glacier. “I love the people that we meet on these trips,” states Griffin on a segment featuring his Alaskan adventure. “One of the best things about ‘The MidLife Road Trip’ is we meet inspirational people ... who make it a priority to live their dream.” “The cast is wherever we go,” McKenna says. “In every community we visit there’s always someone and we’re telling their story. We try to keep it open - whoever wants to hop along with us, that’s how we do it.” In fact, the freewheeling co-hosts are never a stranger no matter what community they land in. Fans of the show routinely contact the two and come out and see them wherever they go. Flying a Cessna. Driving a NASCAR race car. Attending rodeo school. Skiing. Although learning to ski was on McKenna’s bucket list (and learning in Utah was icing on the cake), she admits many of the adventures horrify her but are pure adrenaline rushes for Griffin. He gravitates toward the items in the “Action” section of the show’s ever-evolving bucket list. “I realize as I get older my desire or ability to do some of things on the list will wane,” he says. “I don’t want to remove items from the bucket list because of bad knees or cold feet. I want to check items off the list because they are accomplished.” Still, no one could ever call McKenna a

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“scaredy-cat,” as she refers to herself on occasion. Her mettle has been tested on numerous journeys, including taste-testing “critters” while tailgating in Tuscaloosa, Ala. - not to mention eating alligator on a spit and crab salad atop a live crab on other adventures where she has shown a grab-the-bull-by-thehorns fearlessness. “I’m an ordinary person who has extraordinary experiences,” she says. “You don’t have to be extraordinary to live out your bucket list dreams.” Back to Carol Burnett’s ear ... Griffin feels certain that if the entertainer knew she was an adventure on their bucket list she would invite them to tug her ear. “We are still holding out hope,” McKenna says enthusiastically. “We have been in training for this since ‘The MidLife Road Trip’ began.” And that is really the premise of the show. “Don’t put off pursuing your dreams,” Griffin says. “None of us knows how much time we have and none of us, at the end of our lives, wants to say, ‘I wish I would have...’ “Make out your bucket list, share it with others, and DO IT - even if it’s just one item on your list.” INFORMATION -Watch episodes of “The MidLife Road Trip” show here: -Be part of the “therapy session” at www. -Get ideas for your own bucket list adventures here: -Have the adventure; eat the food - yep, there’s a “MidLife Road Trip Recipes from the Road” cookbook app for iPad: www. Kathy Witt is a freelance writer and the author of The Secret of the Belles. Visit Kathy’s blog at (c) 2012, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Boomers Ride...Think Safety May is national Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month, and in preparation for the observances planned throughout the state, Dixie ABATE would like to provide Alabama motorists with the following safety tips. Please drive responsibly and share the road with motorcycles. Dixie ABATE is a nonprofit safety foundation whose mission is promoting motorcycle safety and awareness. If you ride, no matter what you ride, you can’t afford not to be interested in making Alabama’s highways safer. If you don’t ride, but share our mission of making travel safer for all, you’re still welcome to join our efforts. For more information, go to * Over half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle. Most of the time, the motorist, not the motorcyclist, is at fault. There are a lot more cars and trucks than motorcycles on the road, and some drivers don’t notice the motorcycle, sometimes because they’re distracted by texting, talking on the phone, eating, and other distractions. * Because of its small size, a motorcycle can be easily hidden in a car’s blind spots, or masked by objects or backgrounds outside the car (bushes, fences, bridges, etc). Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles, every time you change lanes or turn at intersections.

By Victoria Rumble

passing vehicles, and wind. Motorcyclists adjust lane position for a reason, not to be reckless, to “show off”, or to allow you to share the lane with them. * Turn signals on a motorcycle are not self-canceling, thus some riders (especially beginners) sometimes forget to turn them off after a turn or lane change. Make sure a motorcycle’s signal is a real indication of their intention to turn before pulling out. * Maneuverability is one of a motorcycle’s better characteristics, especially at slower speeds and with good road conditions, but don’t expect a motorcyclist to always be able to dodge out of the way of your vehicle or any other obstacle. Maneuverability varies with the rider’s skill level as well as road conditions. * Stopping distances for motorcycles are nearly the same as for cars, but slippery pavement makes stopping quickly very difficult. Always allow more following distance behind a motorcycle because it can’t always stop “on a dime.”

* Because of its small size, a motorcycle may look farther away than it is. It may also be difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed. When checking traffic to turn at an intersection or into (or out of) a driveway, always assume a motorcycle is closer than it appears.

* When a motorcycle is in motion, see more than the motorcycle - see the living breathing person underneath the helmet. The injury or fatality you may cause through carelessness or distraction could be your doctor, your child’s teacher, a family member, or friend.

* Motorcyclists often slow by downshifting or merely rolling off the throttle, thus the brake lights are not activated. Allow more following distance, say 3 or 4 seconds and always realize a motorcyclist may slow down without a visual warning.

* Never drive distracted or under the influence. A driver that crashes into a motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian causing serious injury or death, will see his or her insurance rates go up, may face charges ranging from vehicular homicide to felony manslaughter, and most citizens who find themselves in that nightmarish predicament will, regrettably, live with a lifetime of guilt and remorse.

* Motorcyclists often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily, and to minimize the effects of road debris,

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May 2012



Healthy Hearing

by Dr. Bettie Borton Au.D.

Learning to Listen: Secrets of Success So, you took the big step and purchased hearing aids! Problem solved, right? Not so fast....Once your hearing loss has been identified, it is essential Dr. Bettie Borton Au. D. that you become informed of all of the options available to help improve your communication. There is a common misconception that hearing aids are the “cure all” for hearing loss. In reality, improving communication involves a long term rehabilitative process in which the hearing aid is only one component. With this in mind, you should enter into this rehabilitative process with realistic goals and knowing what to expect from the hearing devices and your hearing healthcare provider. If you want to be successful with amplification, commitment to and motivation for your role in this process is crucial.

The first step in the rehabilitative process is insuring that you are an informed consumer. Your audiologist should review all aspects of your hearing loss, including type and degree of hearing loss, implications for communication, preventative and rehabilitative recommendations and need for referrals to other professionals including physicians. Being knowledgeable about your hearing loss will assist you in making sound rehabilitative decisions. If hearing devices are recommended, your hearing health provider should provide you with written information and should give you a step-by-step explanation of the hearing aid fitting and follow up process. Before you purchase hearing devices, you must be knowledgeable about hearing aid options, the adjustment process, and various communication strategies necessary

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for success with amplification. Families should understand the level of support that’s provided after being fit with hearing aids, and including significant others in this discussion is highly recommended. It will allow communication partners to understand better the hearing difficulties you are encountering and the rehabilitative options that are available.

Perhaps the biggest issue for new users is personal expectations. Successful use of amplification is based on realistic expectations. Everyone’s expectations for amplification are different so it is important that your hearing health provider understand and assess your unique performance expectation. Expecting that your hearing will return to “normal” is not a realistic expectation for any hearing devices, expecting to have increased ease of communication with hearing aids is realistic. Unrealistic expectations often lead to frustration, disappointment and failure with hearing aids, and most of us know someone who has had such an experience. It’s an expensive mistake. Including your family and/or significant others in your discussion of goals and expectations also will contribute to successful use of amplification and improved communication. Establishing your goals for improving communication will ensure you get the best hearing devices for you. For example, if telephone communication is problematic, information about telecoils, blue tooth connectivity, and other options to improve your ability in this regard is important. Your occupation, social life and leisure activities will help in the decision making process regarding the hearing aid features that are most important for you. Some hearing health providers will have you (and often your significiant other) complete questionnaires to assist them

in determining your needs and expectations. These questionnaires often ask about how hearing loss has influenced various aspects of your life and can be helpful in determining rehabilitative options. Despite the minor inconvenience of filling out another healthcare form, take this seriously - hearing devices can be costly, and you surely want to purchase the most appropriate technology for your specific needs. Once you have been fit with hearing aids, the rehabilitation process begins. A good hearing health provider will conduct objective tests to verify that the hearing aids are working optimally while at the same time providing you comfortable, effective amplification. In addition to this objective testing, your provider should be assessing your subjective benefit from hearing aids. You may be asked to complete questionnaires that assess the level of benefit you receive in various listening environments, or you might be asked about your level of satisfaction with the hearing aid fitting process. All of this information helps your audiologist make adjustments to insure that you are successful.

You should be offered several follow up sessions, preferably with your significant other. If you’re responsible for a parent who’s getting hearing devices, be sure to allow time to meet with the audiologist to be sure you are sufficiently comfortable with the technology to provide extra assistance and “know how” for routine maintenance such as changing batteries, cleaning, and the like. Adjustment to amplification and learning to hear again can be challenging. People are often surprised when they first hear foot steps, refrigerator noise and distant laughter that they had not heard in years. Because the brain has not received this type of stimulation for the duration of your The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

hearing loss, it may take a while for you to adjust to the new sounds you are hearing. Some people adjust immediately while others take weeks or even months to adjust to their new world of sound. Be sure you select an audiologist who is willing to counsel you (and family members) through this period in addition to making adjustments to your hearing aids.

Hearing aids are powerful, effective tools for increasing your ability to hear. But hearing aids will not automatically make you a better listener. That takes work! Listening requires attention, concentration and interest. Often times, people with hearing losses develop poor listening skills. This occurs because hearing becomes so difficult that they give up and just “turn off” the speaker. Once you are fit with hearing aids, it is imperative that your listening skills be re-sharpened, and there are some excellent home based interventional strategies for this purpose. Keep in mind that just because you get hearing devices does not mean that you no longer need to rely on your vision. People often will say, “I can’t lipread” but, in truth, we all lipread to some degree in adverse communication settings. While very few hearing health providers will offer lipreading lessons per se, they should be able to provide you tips on how to improve your use of visual cues in communication in com-

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bination with your hearing aids.

Many hearing health providers are beginning to recognize the benefits of offering group hearing aid orientation sessions. The focus of these sessions is typically on use, care and repair of the hearing aids, adjusting to amplification, listening and communication strategies, and other hearing healthcare related issues. Many people find that the primary advantage of the group environment is that it can provide peer support for adjusting to amplification. Montgomery has an excellent hearing support group that meets monthly at a local church, and those interested can contact Doctors Hearing Clinic (334396-1635) for more information. Simply purchasing hearing aids will not ensure improved communication. It is important to remember that hearing aids are not a quick-fix purchase. They are simply the tools that provide the amplification you need to become a better listener and communicator. If you are motivated to improve your communication by obtaining amplification, relearning to listen and engaging

in an active rehabilitation process, then your chances for improved communication are excellent, and your quality of life will reflect that. References: The Better Hearing Institute Patricia McCarthy, Ph.D. Professor, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL. Ross J. Roeser, Ph.D. Professor and Executive Director Rush University Medical Center To learn more, visit or call for an evaluation at (334) 396-1635. Dr. Bettie B. Borton is a licensed audiologist in Alabama, was the first board certified audiologist in Montgomery, and recently served as National Chair of the American Board of Audiology. She and her husband, Dr. Tom Borton, are the only audiologists with ABA certification in the Montgomery area.

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May 2012



“I wrote a book about it...” Many of us Boomers have experienced what Nancy Bull experienced below. And when we say, “we should write that down,” most of the time we don’t. Nancy did. She authored a small book telling the story of her parent’s love story as remembered by her ailing father. Now future generations of Nancy’s family will know how true love began in their family. If you have something to write down, follow Nancy’s lead and do it for your next generation. They’ll never know unless you tell them. Nancy used a company called AuthorHouse which is at, which is where you can also purchase Nancy’s book.

Nancy Bull Retirement represents a major accomplishment you have achieved in life. Eager baby boomers enjoy less stressful careers and relaxing hobbies. Most retirees have a plan on how they will live these carefree days ahead. After teaching special education for 25 years, I soon realized that retirement plans may change at any time.

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The month after I retired, my dad noticed a lump on the side of his neck. After several weeks of doctors and specialists, he was diagnosed with lymphoma. My new part-time career focused on transporting my 84 year old parents to doctor visits, chemotherapy, and lab appointments. The Montgomery Cancer Center guided us through intensive treatments with caring support. Dad suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and the chemotherapy resulted in severe memory loss. Dad had always enjoyed telling stories with family and friends. Once his memory worsened, he struggled to talk. As we sat in the patient waiting area or met a new nurse, Dad would put his arm around Mom and grin. With a sparkle in his blue eyes, he would say “Let me tell you how I met my girl.” Mom loved hearing Dad share the funny love story of how they met at a USO dance. This was the one story he could remember enough to share with others. I would

often say that I needed to write this down because it was so special to them. Book Excerpt: In August 1941, excited soldiers lined up on one side of an auditorium in St. Louis. The young men picked out a pretty girl from across the huge room. When the USO official blew his whistle, the guys walked over and asked a girl to dance. When my dad and another soldier spotted the same beautiful girl, they raced to see who could reach her first. My dad was one step ahead and grabbed her hand just in time! Mom and Dad would have celebrated their 70th Wedding Anniversary on May 9, 2012. I am sure they will be dancing as they celebrate their joyful day. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

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Art & Soul Gallery One Fine Art is pleased to invite you to an opening of new work called Crossroads, on May 10th from 5:30 to 7:30 in the evening. Below are our four artists participating in the show with the titles of their artwork and their artist statements. The paintings on the invitation from left to right are as follows:

Shirley Esco “Sunlit Fields” is a 36 x 48 acrylic on canvas painting. Living near the lake or driving down the country roads or a visit to the eastern coast, these are the inspiration for most of my paintings. We are fortunate in the south as we enjoy all the many colors of the changing seasons. Clouds capture my imagination whether it is a reflection in the water or a brewing storm; they evoke a quiet, peaceful and serene calm in my world. Kenneth Lever “Finial” is a 14 x 6 piece of hackberry and mahogany. Together they work nicely in this piece of sculpture. I have always loved making things out of wood. Even as a young child with my pocket knife, whittling different things.. I feel I am blessed with the unique ability to see things in a piece of wood, as if the wood speaks to me and says, this is what I want to be. I don’t force shapes or have a preconceived idea, as each piece evolves

By Sandi Aplin

on its own. Once a hobby some twenty years ago, used as a stress reliever, is now turning into the challenge of transforming an ordinary chunk of wood into a beautiful piece of art. I try to enhance defects or flaws to add an extra interesting element to my artwork “ Finial” was used on the set of the movie filmed in Atlanta, “Marriage Counselor”, staring Vanessa Williams and also won 1st place in its category in the Elmore County Art Guild Winter competition. (see below) Carol Barksdale “Three Friends: Memory Lane” is a 30 x 24 mixed media painting. To me “Crossroads” is the perfect title of our show. Our artwork is a grouping that shares a common theme. My paintings in this show are reminiscent of lives that intersect and overlap with those around us.

We bring the overflow of our lives into the lives of others, whether our memories are joyful or sad. We see children at the beach, friends traveling and even a bicycle ride. In all of these, we find common ground as we move along our own particular path. Michelle Motley Giddens “Memories: Grand Canal” is an11 x 14 oil on canvas painting. In this series, I am reflecting on the six weeks of study with Georgia State University in Cortona, Italy. My classes were in art history, painting and photography. Italy inspired me to study the masters and gain the knowledge in my search to find my painting voice. From the architecture to the museums, the everyday exposure of Italy, it is a place to learn from the past and preview the future. This series is a mixture of landscapes, cityscapes and still life paintings. I draw inspiration from beautiful surroundings and the intricacies of nature. Sandi Aplin, Director of Gallery One Fine Art A free lance writer living in Montgomery, Alabama

Our Artists Jamie Mitchell, Art Show Co-Chair presents Julia Wallace, Gallery One Member Artist with her award for “A Penny for Your Thoughts” a 10 x 8 painted in oil. Sergei Shillabeer, Juror, asked why he chose Julia’s painting, “I was drawn to that painting, it has a quiet power.” This competition was the Auburn University School of Nursing, Montgomery Art Guild, 11th Biennial “Nightingale Show”. The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Gallery One Member Artist, Kenneth Lever with his two ribbons, 1st place for “Finial” and Honorable Mention for “Leonardo”, at the Elmore County Art Guild Winter Show

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May 2012



A Christian Perspective

Sherry DeBray

Restoring Relationships - God’s Purpose A few years ago I wrote a column for a local newspaper, about the poisoning of my roses. To my husband’s dismay, he had used Round Up to spray for bugs instead of Insect Control.

What to do with a dying Rose Bush? Over the next few days we wondered, “What do we do to reverse the effects of the poison?” We contemplate, “Should we dig them up or try to restore them?” I called a friend who knew more about gardening than I. Of course the first thing she asked was, “Is your husband still alive?”

We took her advice and began pouring love (water) on the rose bushes. For days and weeks to come, I irrigated those plants. To my dismay, they still appeared to be dying. So I called her again. In a serious tone she told me, “You have to cut them back.” “Prune them?” I asked. “No, really cut them back. It’s the only chance they have.” The love for my garden intensified, as I worked to restore the missing family - the rose. Would the garden ever again be in complete community? No matter how much the other flowers bloomed, the garden still wasn’t all it could or should be that spring. Restoring the Rose in Your Garden… How can we restore relationships that have been poisoned? I’ve told you my rose story to remind us that we are God’s garden, a garden worth restoring from the poisons that are sometimes mistakenly used.

God wants us to work at living at peace with one another (Matthew 5:9). Many times relationships in today’s society are disregarded rather than worked on. This attitude is not of God. In fact, it’s so important to God that we get along. He speaks of it significantly in His word. As believers, He calls us to a community of unity.

So… how do we restore broken relationships? Here are seven instructions to bring peace to relationships. (Reference: The Bible and The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.)

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*First; when you have a conflict with someone, avoid more conflict by going to God to talk about it. (Don’t get on the phone and call everyone else.)

*Second; Take the initiative. Be the first to try to make things right. Jesus taught us about restoring relationships. They are so important that they take precedence over worship (Matthew 5:23-24). When we leave conflict to fester, it eats away at us, blocking our joy, peace and our relationship with God. Even if you feel you did nothing to cause the conflict, hurt feelings lead to resentment, which makes us act and think foolishly, which leads to sin.

*Third; Go and confess your part in the conflict. (Okay, this one is tough. You have to get rid of selfish pride first.) The Bible says “If we claim to have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves” (1John 1:8). One of the main reasons to talk to God, before talking to the person, is to allow God to show you your part in the conflict. (Oh, how I wish I hadn’t skipped this one on a few occasions.) *Fourth; An important instruction, pointed out by author Rick Warren: Don’t attack the person - attach the problem. How quick we are to fix blame. We want the other person to see how wrong he or she is, and we’re more than ready, in our hurt or anger, to point their problems out.

*Fifth; Do everything possible to live at peace with others. In other words, cooperate more. Learn to listen to the other side of the issues. *Six; Work on reconciliation and not on resolution to the problem. Sometimes we just have to agree to disagree.

*Seven; The greatest of these is Love. When we have love in our heart, as Christ does, we give grace and mercy to situations that the world would label a “Lost Cause“.

You may be wondering why I’m writing on this topic, when it’s expected of me to write about Mother’s Day. One of the most important relationships God gives us is our relationship with our mothers. I know for some of you that may be a stretch. For others, it may be a husband, a wife, a child, an in-law, a friend or another Christian that’s under the gun of conflict. Ask yourself these questions, “Who do I need to restore a relationship with today?” “What do I need to do to make things right?”If it’s your mother, don’t let another Mother’s Day go by without restoring that bond.

Remember, it took months and even years before my roses were restored to their full glory. Relationships are more precious than a rose, definitely worth fighting for - so start restoring. If the one you had conflict with has already passed from this world, it’s not too late for you to have peace. Go to God and ask Him to help you water your own garden with forgiveness. Then forget the past (cut lose all the dead stuff from your rose bush) and start blooming again. It’s possible. All things are with God. Restored Roses – Worth the wait and effort!

You should see my roses today. So glad I didn’t give up on them. So happy, God doesn’t give up on us.

Happy Mother’s Day. Happy Restoring Day! Sherry DeBray

Sherry DeBray is an Author/Columnist and owner of It’Za Gift in the Pepper Tree Shopping Center. You can write to Sherry at

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

r i ve r reg i o n b o o m . co m

May 2012



May 2012

{12 Things} for active boomers and beyond


Prattville Cityfest Downtown Prattville May 4-5, 6:30 pm


Prattville CityFest 2012, the 26th Annual Celebration of Prattville will be held Friday, May 4 and Saturday May 5 in downtown PRattville. This is a rain or shine event. Opening ceremonies will start at 6:45 on Friday with a live concert. On Saturday, May 5th the arts and crafts show will be going on from 9 am to 5 pm. There will be a kid’s area with inflatables, pony rides and more. There will be lots of vendors and activities for all. Phone: 334.365.7392. Email:,


Frazer Missions BBQ and The Light of that City Musical Frazer UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy May 5, 6

Missions BBQ, Flea Market and Bake Sale The Annual BBQ, Flea Market & Bake Sale supporting mission trips will be May 5. BBQ tickets are available for purchase in the Frazer Bookstore. To donate items for the Flea Market or reserve a booth, contact the Singles Office, 495-6390. While you are at the BBQ & Flea Market be sure to check out the Bake Sale and Car Wash.) Frazer’s

Music Ministry will present “The Light of that City,” a musical about our hope in Heaven, on May 6 at 6 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Frazer’s adult and youth choirs, orchestra and ensembles will come together for this powerful night of worship through song. www.

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Flimp Festival at the Museum of Fine Arts Blount Cultural Park May 5, 10-2 pm

Annual Flimp Festival held at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Visit the art studios and make unique works of art.See art created by professional artists, then try your hand at making something special related to each artist’s work. Discover the artist in YOU! Join the exciting “Discover the Treasure” hunt held in the Rotunda. This event invites children and adults to find the correct answers to clues about the artwork in the Museum galleries. Win fabulous prizes donated by area merchants. Put your pastels to the pavement and create chalk masterpieces in the Museum parking lot. Student artists and adults are invited to transform the street into a chalk gallery. Flimp 2012 will feature musician Dave Holland, an artist with a world-beat sound who will offer the opportunity to participate. This unique musician will present several musical sets throughout the day, including interactive music circles, drums from around the world and an educational multi-cultural performance. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children under 12. Call 240.4333 or visit


“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” The Tipping Point Garden Sunday, May 6th, Doors Open 5 pm

Alabama Shakespeare Festival & Tipping Point Present “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Bring your blankets and join us in the Tipping Point Garden Sunday, May 6 for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” presented by the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and The Tipping Point and featuring the ASF Intern Acting Company. Doors open at 5 p.m. for

dinner and drinks. Tickets $15 and available at The Tipping Point or online at


Taste of the Gardens Southern Homes & Gardens, Vaughn Rd. Thursday, May 10, 5-8 pm

Southern Homes & Gardens and the American Red Cross present Taste of the Gardens, a benefit for the American Red Cross held annually at SH&G on Vaughn Road, Montgomery, AL. Taste of the Gardens will be held Thursday, May 10th, from 5 to 8 pm The event includes a silent auction featuring works from local artists; tasting from the River Region’s finest restaurants & caterers; wine and music with Henry Pugh. Also, during the Taste of the Gardens event, items purchased at SH&G will be discounted 20%. Event tickets are $20, and may be purchased from the American Red Cross. For more information, and to purchase tickets, contact Kelly Hodges at 334.260.4016; or email


1st Annual Alabama All Star Food Festival Downtown Montgomery, Commerce St. Saturday, May 12, 3-7 pm Make plans now to join us for the best in local Alabama food, drink and farms. Enjoy tastings from featured restaurants, listen to the state’s best homegrown musicians, catch a variety of on-stage demos from guest chefs, farmers and producers and take part in hands-on gardening and nutrition workshops. Proceeds benefit the Montgomery Area Food Bank, the Hampstead Institute and the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network. Pre-sale tickets are now available. Visit for event details and to buy your tickets online today!

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

MONTGOMERY DOWNTOWN Second Saturdays Riverfront Festivals Riverfront Amphitheater May 12, 5-8 pm

Join us for our next Second Saturday Riverfront Festival on May 12th as Montgomery’s Riverfront comes alive from 5 p.m. until. To make our Second Saturday even bigger and better, WCOV and Stivers’ Ford present a family event with FREE Admission along with live entertainment from Redfield and the Goat Hill String Band. Interactive activities for all ages include more inflatables, arts and crafts, a magician and balloon artist, courtesy of Dynamite Magic and Balloons! More food concessions will be offered courtesy of Cantina, Dreamland BBQ, Peppertree Steaks and Wine, Cheezies Pizza, Nancy’s Italian Ice, Bruster’s Ice Cream, Catfish One, Mama’s Sack Lunch and The Great American Cookie Company. Don’t forget to visit the new addition to Riverfront Park! The SandBAR at the Silos is located high atop Riverfront Park, overlooking the Alabama River.

MONTGOMERY DOWNTOWN Herb Day sponsored by the Old Alabama Town Herb Society (OATHS) Saturday, May 12, 8-3 pm Free Admission

Herb Day sponsored by the Old Alabama Town Herb Society (OATHS) will be held on Saturday, on May 12 at Old Alabama Town, 301 Columbus Street, Montgomery. Enjoy demonstrations, expert gardeners, garden tours and vendors. Free admission. Coming up Roses is the theme of our 15th annual Herb Day. Rose is the 2012 Herb of the Year, as recognized by the Herb Society of America. Children’s activities, programs by experts on growing herbs, a cooking demonstration using herbs and a session that explores the medicinal properties of herbs. An open-air market will feature vendors selling crafts, books, food, herbal teas, garden wares and a huge selection of herbal plants. For more information go to or call Carolyn Gomillion, 263.2707

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


Third Tuesday, singers & songwriters playing at the playhouse Tuesday, May 15, 7-9 pm

Third Tuesday at the the Playhouse, the Guitar Pull, presents singer/ songwriters doing their original music. Joe Thomas hosts leading musicians in the area and from throughout the southeast as they play and talk about how they create their music. This is a great night at the Playhouse and a great way to spend some time listening to some of the best in the area.


The Merry Wives of Windsor Henry VIII The Thirty Nine Steps Travels My Aunt Through May 20

The Alabama Shakespeare Festival will continue its repertory season with William Shakespeare’s comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry VIII. In addition to these two Shakespearean works, two hilarious comedies The Thirty Nine Steps and Travels My Aunt will be on stage. ASF’s Extreme Weekends, in which theatre lovers can see all four repertory shows Friday through Sunday are available May 4-6, 11-13 and 18-20. Tickets are available by calling 800.841.4273, visiting on line at or at the ASF box office located at 1 Festival Drive in the heart of Montgomery’s beautiful Blount Cultural Park.

MONTGOMERY DOWNTOWN Jubilee Cityfest May 18-19

Jubilee CityFest, Alabama’s premier festival will be held on Friday, May 18 and Saturday 19 in downtown Montgomery. Alabama’s largest pyro music spectacular Bama’s Big Bang, to be held on Saturday, May 19. The fireworks spectacular will follow the concert of Joseph Baldwin, Spyro Gyra, Sister Hazel, and Brick!! and it’s all FREE!. Bama’s Big Bang is presented by Creek Casinos and Jubilee CityFest, Inc. During the festival weekend, family favorites such

as KidsFest will be held at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center. Jubilee’s BrewFest and BBQ Cook-Off will be held Friday May 18, 2012 underneath the trainshed. Visit for more information.


Free Jubilee Pops Concert Alabama Archives and History Building May 25th, 7 pm

The Montgomery Symphony will kick off the Memorial Day weekend with a free outdoor concert on Friday, May 25th. The concert will be presented on the steps of the Alabama Archives and History Building in downtown Montgomery. Come early and bring your friends and family. Picnic baskets, coolers, lawn chairs, and blankets are all welcome at this free concert. In the event of rain, the concert will be held on Saturday night, May 26th, at 7:00 pm in the same location. Visit


Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Festival May 25-26 One of the largest free hot air balloon festivals in the Southeast, featuring more that 60 balloons with races, key grab, tether rides and a glow. Enjoy arts & crafts, food vendors, antique car and tractor show, musical entertainment and children’s activities. Location:Point Mallard Park, 2901-D Point Mallard Cir. SE, Decatur, AL 35601. Admission: Free


Alabama River Region Arts Center “Ways to Praise” Gospel Music Sunday, May 6th 2 - 4 pm, Wetumpka Performing Arts Center adjacent to the Arts Center, 300 W. Tallassee St, Wetumpka, AL.

It ’s a Great Time to Be Booming! Please submit any event s/pictures to

r i ve r reg i o n b o o m . co m

May 2012




By Greg Budell


This Mother’s Day column has it all. It is a tail of love, sex and capitalism at its finest. Dateline 1968.

I was a dopey little kid that summer. My Mother had heard Dachshund puppies would fetch $50 apiece, so she decided it was time our 3 year old wiener dog, Doxie, earned her keep.

The time was right because Doxie was “in heat”, whatever that meant- and the dog was far ahead of the rest of Chicago because it was only spring. I had no idea what any of this meant.

Dad hit our modern (it was white) phone and spun the dial, calling around to find a suitable husband for Doxie. All I knew was that this nice man named Ray came over to our house with his Dachshund, Schultzie. I wanted to play with Schultzie who was very friendly, but he was there for a different reason, I was told. Somehow while Mr. Ray and my parents were having coffee in the kitchen, and Schultzie and Doxie were locked in the basement, puppies were inevitable.

I wanted to watch them “play” so I snuck in between the 3 adults when they opened the basement door for a peek. Schultzie seemed to love Doxie so much he was trying to climb on top of her! “They’re getting along great!” I exclaimed from the rear.

The basement door was promptly closed to a chorus of “ahems” and I was told to go finish gluing my model airplane.

When Mr. Ray was leaving, my Dad handed him a ten dollar bill which made no sense because he was drinking our coffee. And Schultzie got to play with our dog! Mr. Ray should have paid us!

Then time passed, and soon Doxie appeared to be gaining weight. Lots of weight.

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May 2012

My Mom took Doxie to the veterinarian and came home with the good news.

“We’re going to be rich”, she proclaimed. Doxie is going to have puppies!

In retrospect, given our family was a nice middle class operation, it’s hard to figure what Mom planned to do with all that money Doxie’s puppies would produce.

The vet said she could have a litter of 6 or more.

Soon, Doxie’s belly began to droop. Understand that she was one rigid wiener dog- so heavily muscled along her back she could sit up for 10-15 minutes at a time. Like a black and tan fire hydrant, she’d find a willing food donor from the table... Doxie’s pregnancy was a great opportunity for Mom and Dad to explain the facts of life to us. I’m still waiting.

I did ask questions. When her swollen doggie-boobs were in full bloom, I was given the scientific explanation- that they were “milkers” for the babies. Steve Jobs, I mean- Mom- spent most of her time making observations around the house, speculating on the things she’d buy with the litter of cash coming our way.

As the summer heat came on, Doxie’s belly grew so large it scraped the ground. We had to airlift her to the yard and make sure she stayed in the grass to avoid harsh amd hot pavement. As P-Day drew close, we asked Mom if we could keep one of the puppies before she put the price tags on the rest.

We all agreed if one of the pups was a red female, it would be the newest Budell. The family each had a guess on the number of pups she was carrying. I picked 6, my brother and sister had 7 and 8, Dad came in low with 4 and Mom predicted 22.

I was asleep one night when I heard a commotion. Mom was yelling that Doxie had gone into labor and was delivering!

We gathered around the baby crib Mom transformed into the nursery. Sure enough, the first one out was red, but Doxie growled when we tried to get close. It was the cutest little thing … a few inches of red fur, curled up and eyes closed. We waited for the next one. And waited. Soon it was the next morning. Mom was hysterical.

“No dog that big could be carrying just one puppy”, she wailed. “I’m taking her to the vet to see if the rest are stuck!”.

An hour later, Mom returned looking quite stunned. An x-ray revealed no more puppies awaiting birth. She wasn’t mad. Just shocked. We all were. While not immediately certain what we wouldn’t be doing with the puppy money, we were assured the jaws of poverty were not opening for our family.

In fact, it didn’t take Mom long to resign herself that there was no way we could sell the one and only offspring. We named the new, little red wiener dog, Heidi. Dad got promoted so Mom never considered incorporating Heidi’s uterus (do dogs even have those?) and creating another potential cash cow.

A few months after the non-baby boom, my Mom shocked my brother, sister and me by announcing she was pregnant! The three of us never considered the possibility of another sibling- we had been a trio for 10 years- so this was quite exciting.

Mom had one baby- we kept her- and today she’s a nuclear physicist (really). And I’m still not sure what Schultzie and Doxie were doing in our basement all those years ago- but whatever it was, one thing is $ure- it wasn’t enough.

Greg Budell lives in Montgomery with his dog Hershey. 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 107.9, Greg can be reached at The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Do the little things today for a healthy life tomorrow.

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This publication was funded in whole or in part by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, under Grant No. 6H5MMC20275

BOOM! May 2012  
BOOM! May 2012  

The River Region's 50+ Lifestage Magazine