April/May 2021 Contributor Articles 

THEY GOT THEIR COVID SHOT - AT THE SPOT!

by Debra Saxon

On March 12, 2021, one year and one day after our very last indoor event of 2020, The SPOT at Celebration came to LIFE again! 
With our superhero partners at Tom Thumb Pharmacy, Celebration Magazine held the first of three Covid-19 vaccine clinics where we were able to help 220 seniors get their Moderna vaccine. They will be getting their second shot with us as well!
We would like to extend a BIG THANK YOU to Twin Rivers Senior Living, Holiday Retirement, The Artistry at Craig Ranch, The Reserve North Dallas, Aware Care Network, Amerilife and everyone at Tom Thumb who helped make our first vaccine clinic a HUGE SUCCESS. 
If you haven't had your Covid-19 vaccine, and would like to register for either our April 16th or April 19th clinic, and fall into the 1A, 1B and 1C (50-64) categories, please call our office at 469-532-2622. We will only have 250 vaccines (500) each clinic day. Family and friends are welcome! •

CALLED TO PLAY

by Diane Walters 

I arrived at work wearing a crown of shamrocks and a glittery green shirt. I waved to the folks gathered at the fireplace. “Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Don’t forget the party.” 


Later, the 80, 90, and 100-year-olds followed me to the community room where we clapped to the rhythm of Irish music. Eventually, someone asked, “Aren’t you going to do the Chicken Dance?”  


“Yes, it’s time! Come on; everyone lets Chicken Dance.” The familiar music began slowly, then picked up speed. I looked around the room, calling out names to encourage participation. Most joined in, watching for cues to the hand and arm motions and hip wiggles. I was breathless when I finished, but giggling.


Ten years earlier, friends had laughed at me for wanting to pursue a new career at my age. But I was tired of spending my days filling out paperwork and longed to do something more fulfilling. 


Maybe no one would hire a plump, 60-ish woman, but why not try? I’d regret not trying more than I’d regret being turned down for a job. And I knew just what I wanted to do; work with older adults. In my youth, I’d volunteered at my grandmother’s assisted living and had loved putting smiles on people’s faces. I wanted to feel that sense of satisfaction again.


Much to the surprise of friends and family, I got the job at a senior community. It’s really more a calling than a job, and I can’t call it work because I’m having so much fun.


After a lifetime of taking myself too seriously, I am old enough to let loose, be myself, and play. I don’t act my age, I guess, but how’s a 73-year-old supposed to act?


My best friend is retired and spends all her time on the golf course. She thinks I should stop working and take up a new hobby, “You need to try golf,” she insists.


But that’s the beauty of getting older—we can decide for ourselves how to enjoy the years we’ve been given. We have choices. We can play golf, travel, volunteer, visit grandchildren, or do nothing. 


As for me, I continue to find joy in working—and in leading the chicken dance. •

HOW I SPEND MY DAYS

by Helen Davids

Over the past year, I have spent some of my time on Zoom events with Celebration Magazine LIVE. I have shared with the group  my love for walking and event shared my sunrise pictures on our Happy Hour and Show&Tell events. 
What I also want to share is about my years as a runner!
From 2009-2012 I was an active runner, competing in 5 and 10k races.  I raced at least once a month in events held at Fort Hood and in the towns of Copperas Cove, Killeen, Harker Heights, and Temple, TX. I endured the Texas heat and also some cold snaps. Still, I enjoyed getting out there for the exercise, fresh air, and the camaraderie and competition!  I ran for charity events (Cancer, Alzheimer’s, MS) and different holiday-themed races. One memorable race was the Santa Fun Run- we were all given Santa suits, beards, and hats and raced through The Shops of Legacy streets in Plano! It was so much fun.
My racing days came to an end after a torn meniscus. Still, after arthroscopic surgery and rehab, I could get out and walk, which I am so grateful to do.
I healed so well I was able to do Zumba, dance, and do Tai Chi. I continue to do all these activities and also enjoy my walks around Frisco Lakes nearly every day. •

DISASTERS THAT SHAPED MCKINNEY

by Pat Rogers

Shots rang out and the cry of “Fire!” awakened the sleepy little town of McKinney as the volunteer fire department alerted the residents of impending disaster. It was 3:00 am, Sunday, June 27, 1875 and fire was raging in the commercial center of McKinney. It would be one for the record books. The entire north side of the square was ablaze, fueled by the wooden structures joined together that comprised the businesses. Fears were not only for the concentration of businesses but the grand new courthouse in the center of the square.


Bucket brigades were formed and every able-bodied man was drafted into service. Soaked blankets were thrown over rooftops to impede the spread and shop owners pulled inventory out to save it. Heat and smoke caused the workers to retreat, but finally after two exhausting hours, the flames were extinguished.  


Dawn revealed the charred remains of a dozen businesses. The greatest toll was the north side of the square, where nothing remained but blackened stone chimneys. The fire had originated on the east end of the north side of the square. The buildings belonging to the local chapter of the Odd Fellows Fraternal Order and the Parlor Saloon, located next door, were consumed by the flames. The replacements of these two buildings would one day be the most infamous buildings in McKinney.


Mr. Turbitt, owner of the Parlor Saloon, and the Odd Fellows, who leased the store known as the Mississippi Store, focused on rebuilding the two adjoining buildings using brick and mortar.  They agreed to construct a seventeen inch thick dividing wall that would be shared by both new structures. The two buildings quickly were raised together in 1876; but, unfortunately they were destined to go down together thirty-six years later.


In 1891, following a local building trend, a third floor, approved by the architect, was added to the Odd Fellows Building. By 1913, the three story building, known as the Cheeves Brother’s Mississippi Store, had been operating for a decade and was home to the Odd Fellows on the third story. The Cheeves Brother’s Dry Goods Store occupied the first and second floors. Their reputation was one of quality and refinement.


Meanwhile, the Turbitt building next door, with the seventeen inch common wall, had changed ownership and over time was known as the Bates Building. By 1913 it was leased to Thomas J. Tingle, the “Implement Man”. He rented both floors, operating his farm implements store on the lower level and using the upper floor for storage.


The morning of Thursday, January 23, 1913 was clear, cold and busy in downtown McKinney. The newspaper ads beckoned shoppers to the square to partake of bargains. McKinney’s many dry goods establishments advertised seasonal merchandise with great reductions. Cheeves featured large markdowns on ladies’ undergarments or “white sale”. Many shoppers crowded the square that January morning; but by midafternoon activity was tapering off. A defining moment in the city’s history was approaching and everyone would remember where they were that fateful afternoon at 3:40pm.


With a groaning and grinding sound accompanied by swaying and bulging walls, the three story Odd Fellows building began to tumble into the street.  The whole structure became a mass of crumbling rubbish within two minutes. Fire broke out in the building and despite best efforts raged for over an hour. Mr. Tingle’s implement business in the Bates Building collapsed bringing the entire 2nd floor of implements and buggies into the street. 


The editor of the McKinney Courier Gazette, Mr. Walter Wilson, was an eyewitness to the catastrophe and describes the scene best: “More than a thousand willing workers climbed upon the mass of wreckage and with axes and every manner of tool went to work to rescue those who had been buried beneath the brick, mortar, and timbers.”


The efficient leadership and quick thinking of John McKinney, Chief of the McKinney Volunteer Firemen saved many lives that day. He directed men to work in shifts and requested all available doctors to stand ready. He requisitioned wagons to pull items from the wreckage, placing them into groups of salvageable and battered remnants of building materials. Under the chief’s leadership, workers were rotated throughout the entire ordeal maximizing efficiency of the operation.  


On the following day, January 24th, the headlines of the McKinney Courier Gazette read: “The Lives Of Eight Snuffed Out Within Twinkling Of An Eye; Fourteen Injured, Several Seriously; Funerals Today and Tomorrow; Property Loss Estimated at $100,000; City in Gloom; Business Houses Close.”


The body of the article continued in the descriptive language of the times: “Death, grim, gaunt, terrifying, stalked ruthlessly into many happy homes in McKinney Thursday night… A pall of gloom hung over the entire city, spreading its midnight wing in every direction… Calamity, dire, horrifying, and oppressive, had visited itself upon a happy and prosperous city…plunged into deepest gloom...” 


The citizens came together in their greatest moments of tragedy and slowly recovered. Inspections of older buildings were immediately held and construction of all public buildings after January 23, 1913 would bear the highest levels of structural scrutiny.  However, the question of who was to blame for the condition of the buildings still hung over the town.


In January of 1915, the widow of Norman Presley, a clerk in the Cheeves Mississippi store, petitioned the court for damages amounting to $40,000 on behalf of her handicapped daughter and husband’s aged parents. 


After many delays, a trial was held in late September of 1916. After seeing all the evidence, the courts determined that the Odd Fellows building was in a dangerous state of ill repair. The third floor wall was only thirteen inches thick rather than seventeen inches and a large crack fifteen feet long was evident. The third floor sagged and vibrated when they held ceremonial marches.  Members of the jury found the Odd Fellows woefully negligent and the court awarded the Presley’s a total of $26,000.


The two buildings were rebuilt with safety as a priority and still stand today. The downtown square in McKinney again bustled with businesses and eager shoppers. 


From a small agricultural farming community with a population of 5,000 in 1875 to a bustling city of 200,000 in 2021, McKinney has been voted by Money Magazine as “Best Place to Live, Work and Play in America”. The disasters have come and gone over the years, but the people are always there to look out for each other and lend a helping hand to neighbors. 


The History Museum’s current exhibit highlights the disaster along with an excellent book, The 1913 McKinney Store Collapse. •

HOW I SPENT MY PANDEMIC VACATION

by Glenda Osten

What does one do with too much time on their hands during a pandemic? 


During the first month, I watched the statistics grow minute-by-minute. It was likened to the O.J. Simpson famous white Bronco slow-speed car chase. What in the world is going on? Could this really be happening?


I was glued to my television set that night, 26-years ago when Domino’s Pizza sales soared unexpectedly during the chase. Ironically, the pandemic has had the same effect. As I stared at my flat screen tv in horror this year, Domino’s Pizza announced they were needing to hire 10,000 workers to keep up with delivery demands.


Life as we knew it drastically changed and quickly too. New findings were discovered every day. Businesses suddenly shut down, and all my tours and classes at the senior center were abruptly canceled. This was to be my most active senior year. I had just turned 65 years old and planned a year-long celebration of my youthfulness, booking three overseas trips and two stateside trips. Then the pandemic bomb was dropped. Suddenly, age 65 was determined to be old and at risk of dying.


Whoa! Put the brakes on. The World Health Organization (WHO) had declared that 65 years old is still considered young. It is the 66-79 years that they determined to be middle-aged and the 80-99 years of age that they labeled as elderly and senior. But regardless of age statistics, this is surely a nightmare, and I will wake up, won’t I?


But instead of things getting better by morning, depression was outside, ringing my doorbell. I had been staring at the rising number of cases for two weeks, practically non-stop, while my vehicle sat idle in my driveway for the first time ever.


I have got to do something different and quickly. I used to be so disciplined about everything I did in my life. What I need is a new routine. 


I decided to limit what I was exposed to on television and the internet and for how long. I set new bedtime hours and pulled the treadmill out of the closet. I measured my BMI and was determined to squash the weight gain of the past two weeks by relieving my chair of its role in my new life so I could get moving again.


I tracked my progress by recording my walking time and speed. Eventually, I built up to a walk/run routine, proving that 65 is not old. I also tracked what I did around the house, outside of routine housework. If I can’t spend my money on outside entertainment, then I’ll spend it on home improvements, maintenance, and repairs. I placed two on-line orders: One to Home Depot for supplies and one to Walmart for fresh vegetables and produce. 


I began eating better, sleeping better and had thwarted depression by never opening my door to it. I was safe, positive, and energized once again, but there was also social isolation that was beginning to take its toll on my psychic. 


I live next door to my daughter and her extended family. Being that they are in their thirties and view the pandemic as something that just happens to older people, I distanced myself from them and their delusional Achilles Heel Syndrome.


Physically isolating myself from my family with toddlers was the most difficult thing I think I have ever done. Especially when they are outdoors, enjoying warm weather, swimming, and barbecuing, all within earshot of my back door.


If it wasn’t for Facebook reconnecting me with a young love that laid dormant for the past 40-years, I think I would have succumbed to depression because I lost my desire to work on things around my home. So instead of moping, I reconnected with life through a long-distance Facebook relationship that quickly led to an engagement three months later.


Facebook also connected me to five half-siblings I never knew about and took me on a wonderful genealogy discovery as I learned for the first time who my biological father was. 


These Facebook discoveries filled many of my loneliest times with renewed energy and zest for life without having to leave the sanctity of my home.  Ironically, I’ve never been a Facebook fan. I still don’t desire to participate in that mode of socialization, but I will say that Facebook did connect me to some of the most important parts of my past and present life during a time when I needed to connect with others the most.


So, did I survive the pandemic? Yes, I believe it was thrown out there like another of life’s hurdles to jump. And like a true American pioneer of family past, I empowered myself and embraced it. •

HOW SENIOR LIFE HAS CHANGED POST COVID

by Kimberly Scarlett

The pandemic has forced change at a much faster rate for everyone. People are telecommuting. Doctors are adopting telehealth calls along with insurance companies for reimbursement. Delivery services have broadened and become safer, easier and faster. With one or two clicks of an app, access to services such as, dry cleaning, pet grooming, groceries and so much more are becoming the norm.

 
“When social isolation was recommended, I tried to find the best solutions in audio/video to help the most vulnerable of us. Who hasn’t seen the news photos of seniors in their homes waving through the glass at their families?” said Kim Scarlett, the owner of Aware Care Network, installer of GrandCare and Alexa products.


“Those images broke my heart. With solutions like the GrandCare system and Alexa technology being adopted more quickly, no one has to communicate with their families and friends over the fence or through the window.”


Just as people have adopted the use of technology, the senior healthcare providers need to adopt the latest in predictive health information. Going to the doctor every six months is almost meaningless if a provider is looking to curb a sudden change in habits or health markers. It’s not a proactive way to accomplish healthcare.


COVID-19 has been the added incentive for us to engage healthcare providers in a new technology-powered way, to be in the driver-seat of your overall health and lifestyle. Telehealth information from the GrandCare system can help with this. 


The user-friendly GrandCare system will also allow you to set reminders and allow your caregivers to access information about you without inconveniencing you, improving your overall quality of life. 


“It’s quite easy to feel isolated.” said Ms. Scarlett.  “But, if you take simple steps to familiarize yourself with different technologies, you can remain independent and experience the advantage of being closer to your family.”


Growing older during a pandemic is all about acceptance, accepting that life is changing, that loss will happen and that at times, help from others will be needed. If you can draw together all of your experience and learn to accept the changing environment, life can be just as enjoyable as it was before COVID-19. •

HONORED TO SERVE MY COUNTRY

by Kymberlye Yeichner

A crisp April breeze rushed past me as I walked out under the portico at the Veterans' Administration Medical Center. There he sat, his navy blue ballcap askew,  struggling into his thin windbreaker, which was crumpled behind him in his wheelchair.  I spoke softly to him as I pulled his jacket around his shoulders and straightened his cap on his wind-blown white hair. 


"Thank you, honey, he said with a chuckle. "I'm legally blind, so I would never have gotten it untwisted!"


 "Would you like me to move you out of this wind?" I asked. "It's pretty nippy, even in the sun."


 "Yes, but don't get me in the shade for sure. I'm 99 years old, you know!"  he replied. 


He chattered about his doctor visit in more detail than I probably needed to hear, but I was in no rush, and he was eager to visit. It was then I noticed the gold embroidery on his ballcap indicating he was a WWII veteran,  a plethora of medals, and I finally recognized the insignia of Iwo Jima. I was stunned!  I was sitting in the presence of military royalty. I visited with this tiny, proud Marine for quite some time and listened to his story. He told me of the sheer terror of landing on the beach as nothing more than a boy, of the horror and losses, the eventual victory,  and the emotional homecoming to his "Momma." Those were the "high points" of the war for him.   


He regaled me with stories of revisiting the beach at Iwo Jima in 1995 for the 50th anniversary of the landing and later to visit the White House.  He teared up when he told me of hearing  "Taps" at the flag ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.  He was understandably pensive when he told me he had outlived all of his family and asked me to put my name and number in his phone. 
 

"I'll be 100 in February!" he announced. "Write down my address so you can send me a card!"   So I did.  "I'm throwing out the first pitch at a Rangers game in three weeks!  Watch for me on the tv!"  I did that, too.   


I went to the VA for a routine visit but left reminded of why I joined the Navy, and I am honored to have served my country in the shadow of such a patriot. •

THE STRANGEST THING THAT I AM GRATEFUL FOR

by  Kenny McCord 

We are told by many sources that we should be grateful. From the Bible to Shakespeare, to Angelou, we are encouraged to be thankful and to have a grateful heart. I learned first hand the value of being truly thankful for all things, even when it makes absolutely no sense. That being said, the strangest thing that I am grateful for is…….a kidney stone. You read that correctly, a kidney stone. Here is my story and why. 


In April of 2019, I came home early from work feeling a bit out of sorts with some general body aches. As the afternoon progressed, the pain became more intense and localized, and I was certain I had a kidney stone. I have had them in the past, and trust me; it’s not a pain that once experienced, you will forget.


The pain became unbelievably unbearable, so I had my wife take me to the ER, where I was treated with some amazing narcotics and obtained significant relief. While there, the doctor ordered a CT just to locate and measure the stone. Shortly, the doctor came back in, updated me on the stone, but then, solemnly, told me that I had a small mass in my bladder and to see a urologist ASAP. To make a long story short, I got to endure my first ever cystoscopy. Ladies, I can’t really address this with you, but guys…...Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. This was NOT fun. Fortunately, it only lasted 10 minutes. More importantly, the mass was cancer, and it had to be removed. This type of cancer is fast-growing, and the recurrence rate is high. Fortunately, he successfully removed the mass, which had not metastasized or penetrated the muscle wall. 


Where is all this leading? Oh yeah. According to my urologist, had this cancer gone undetected for a few months longer, this would have been a totally different story with a much more complicated future and possibly dismal ending. 


Now let’s go back to the beginning. At the time, was I honestly grateful for my kidney stone? Probably not. Retrospectively, had it not been for the kidney stone, I never would have gone to the ER, had a CT, discovered the mass, seen a urologist, and who knows what else? Today, am I thankful for a kidney stone? YOU BET! •

DR. BEAGLE BAXTER: PET THERAPIST

by Patti Shattil

Butch and Penelope


Q: Dr. Baxter, I don't remember when it first started, but a while back, I fell in love with a feline- yes, a cat. She's gorgeous and intelligent—a silky white Persian with luscious green eyes that hypnotize me whenever she looks my way. The bad part of all is that I'm a dog. Yes, a 45-lb healthy, handsome black lab. My owners and dog friends are shocked! They've always thought of me as a ruff n tuff kind of guy, hanging out with the boys of my own breed. But sometimes, love is blind. I haven't got up my nerve to tell my friends I've been dating Penelope for over a year now. Is it wrong to love another outside of my breed?

A: Dear Love Struck, yes, sometimes love happens and can come in all breeds, colors, and sizes. I'm concerned if both of you are happy and the feelings are mutual, stick with it! Everyone else in your life needs to deal with it and accept it. If they are true friends, they'll support your decision.

TWO MEN, ONE HEART

by Prudence Mathis 

At one year of age, Rodney DeBaun moved to Grand Prairie with his parents.  He graduated from Grand Prairie High School and grew up as an active athlete running track and playing baseball and basketball.


Fast forward to 1993 when Rodney was a family man with two sons, 11-year-old Heath and 8-year-old-Chase.  He was an avid pilot with his own charter plane business and a 36-year-old athlete in perfect health playing in several adult basketball and baseball leagues.  In June, Rodney began feeling fatigued and thought he had the flu when he finally went to a doctor.  As it turned out, he had viral cardiomyopathy with his heart functioning at only 12%.  His heart was severely and permanently damaged and without a transplant, his life expectancy was about 6 months.  Odds were not good that he would survive long enough to receive a transplant due to the typical 12-18 month wait time.  


Given this prognosis, Rodney retired to be able to spend time with his family.  He would stay awake until early hours of the morning, afraid if he fell asleep, he would never wake up.  Raised in the church, he picked up the Bible one of these mornings and let it fall open, placing his finger on a random verse which turned out to be Psalm 39:3-5.  He prayed for a miracle and vowed to “pay it forward” if God would let him see his boys grow up.  


In June that same year, 22-year-old David Nicklas graduated from the Air Force Academy as a 2nd Lieutenant stationed at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio. David grew up in Graford and was the 1989 Class Valedictorian.  A well-liked young man, he enjoyed sports as much as Rodney, especially basketball, and while at the Air Force Academy, he helped found the Rodeo Team so he could ride bulls.


When he joined the military, he told his older brother that when his time came, he wanted to “go out in a blaze of glory helping save lives of other people”.  Upon meeting Mark Waggoner at the Air Force Academy, David asked to see Mark’s drivers license.  When Mark questioned why, David told him it was to check to see if he was an organ donor.  The two became very close friends and David was Mark’s best man at his wedding.  These two conversations proved to be prophetic for three months after David moved to San Antonio, he was sadly involved in a fatal motorcycle accident.   


In a brief chance meeting six weeks prior to David’s accident, his grandfather, “Lucky” Bramlett was introduced to Rodney by their mutual friend, Ken Johnson who was a member of a Special Forces team.  When the family was asked if they would donate David’s organs, they wanted to wait until the next morning to decide.  That night, Lucky was awoken from a deep sleep when he felt something jerk him up into a sitting position and the name “Rodney” came to mind.  


The Nicklas family requested that David’s heart be donated to Rodney and surprisingly, he turned out to be a 100% match!  Rodney received his gift of life October 20, 1993.  He was released just nine days after his transplant and four months later, he ran in the Fort Worth Cowtown Marathon 10K.  


Rodney’s promise to “pay it forward” resulted in he and his wife, Isibelle, creating a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 1995, naming it The David Nicklas Organ Donor Awareness Foundation in memory of the man whose heart Rodney received.  The Foundation’s mission is promoting organ donor awareness and providing fully furnished rent-free housing for transplant patients who live too far from a transplant center.  In addition,  Rodney provides no-cost air transport to disabled military veterans when his schedule allows.  
The Nicklas Foundation is an active contributor to our community and since 1997, has awarded over $150,000 in scholarships.  
Since 2004, the Foundation has helped more than 100 transplant families from 15 states with ages ranging from 3 months to 72 years.  Currently there are Foundation units set aside for transplant families at Prairie Gate Community and Wright Senior.  Upon the Spring opening, there will also be a unit at The Retreat, a luxury property for active seniors. 


National Donate Life Month is observed each year in April to encourage registration as an organ donor and to honor those who have saved others through the gift of life.  Won’t you please consider registering as an organ donor today? •

OUR JOURNEY 

by Dennis  and Vivian Marino 

After appearing as one of the contestants on The Not So Newlywed Game, many hidden memories began to resurface.


Our journey began on April 5th, 1968, the day after my 23rd birthday and the day after the assassination of Martin Luther King. I lived in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, PA, and the police had been warning everyone to stay away from the city proper due to the riots. Even so, I ventured into a town near the city to spend the night with a college friend. To my dismay, she wanted to attend a party that night at a hotel across the river from the city. After much deliberation, I gave in, and we traveled the empty streets to a hotel called the EDGE that overlooks the city. 


Dennis was invited to the party by a friend to listen to his friend's band. It was a fun night, and it was a blessing that I attended because that was where I met Dennis, the love of my life (not love at first sight, though!) We started dating the next night, and that was the beginning of a budding romance. He took me to the nicest places, and we enjoyed each other's company.


The EDGE was a beautiful hotel with a restaurant overlooking the Point in Pittsburgh, which is where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet to form the Ohio River. The view was so romantic that Dennis chose that place to propose to me. So on April 4th, 1969, we became engaged. Six months later we were married on October 25th, 1969, and we spent our wedding night at the EDGE. Needless to say, the EDGE became an important part of our journey.


We started a family right away and had two beautiful children, Dennis and Jennifer. During their formative years we spent all of our time with the kids and their activities, not spending much time going places on our own. So, we didn't make it back to the EDGE.  
We moved to Texas in 1982 and made several trips back over the years to visit family. On one of those trips, we decided to take the kids to see the place where we met. We took the Incline up to Mount Washington and looked for the EDGE. To our disappointment, we found that the building had been condemned. Being built on the side of the Mount, it had structural damage over the years.  


Even though we were sad to see a beautiful memory fade, we were elated that our relationship had grown and blossomed over the years. We are so fortunate to be married 51 years, have two wonderful children and our extended family, a wonderful daughter-in-law, a great son-in-law and three beautiful granddaughters. We are so proud of all of them.


As one of my sweatshirts says - "Still in Love after all these Years! We are blessed! •

WHO IS: BARBARA ANNE RUSK?

by Barbara Rusk

Bubbly, happy and loves to have fun,
Always willing to get the job done.
Ready to volunteer at Church, never misses a beat;
By leading the Disabilities Ministry and Chairing mini-retreats.
Am a fan of Celebration Magazine and all of their staff,
Really love their zoom meetings and all of the laughs.
Adores the beach and sun, but follows her own path.

At a moments notice will travel most anywhere,
Not giving a thought as to how I’m getting there.
Nice to know Debra and Greg are always here,
Every detail is covered thanks to their care. 

Really love my family – 3 sons and their wives,
Utterly delighted with 4 grandchildren, whom I idolize.
So fortunate to have lived a life that’s been so blessed,
Keeping friends forever, who would have guessed?

OUT MY WINDOW!

by Charlotte Canion

As the pale-yellow rays of the sun came over the cloud-covered horizon, I heard the chirping of birds and wildlife noises in the distance. Through the window at the rear of my house, I can see over my fence into a deserted street. The lamp post was still lit, and the glow barely shined light on the surroundings. My view out my window was full of flowers, trees and small creatures scampering about their daily chores in search of food and the avoidance of predators that view them as breakfast.

 
I noticed the courtship dance of two cardinals. Both of these beautiful birds seem oblivious to their surroundings as they flew in and out of the trees—their playful manner led one to believe that they did not have a care in the world.  


I, on the other hand, had lots to do. I needed to do my daily exercise, get dressed, and do daily chores, but the two cardinals had me mesmerized. Have you ever considered that love between other species was important or vital to the survival of their pure existence? My concentration on keeping my eyes on these two fascinating creatures consumed my thoughts for most of the day, and I could not turn away.  


The cardinals were definitely a couple. The bright red cardinal was the male, and he appeared to be showing off for the female, who had pale brown feathers with touches of red about her wings. Each of them was adorned with the most beautiful crown on their heads. It was as regal as the crown jewels.


The two had found each other, and their playfulness during their courtship was like a beautiful ballet. Skipping from limb to limb, flying in and out of the trees was a sight to behold. The male cardinal’s courtship gesture was to bring a seed to her, and gently they appeared to kiss, exchanging the seed.


My fascination with wildlife is ongoing. I looked out my window again and saw Blue Jays chasing a black cat across the top of my back fence. Their manner was amazing. One sits on the fence out of reach of the cat, while the other dives and pecks the cat on the head.  


Mother nature is fascinating, and if you get a chance, LOOK OUT YOUR WINDOW and Peek into THEIR world! •

MEETING NEW PEOPLE ON ZOOM

by Barbara Weaver

In March of 2020, my normal turned into disbelief. The world began to learn what a pandemic can do to humanity. Many were told to go home. Socializing came to a standstill. Before the pandemic, my typical day consisted of meeting with friends at a senior center in my hometown of Farmers Branch, Texas. 


At the center, Chair Volleyball was the favorite of many seniors. Five Crowns was a favorite card game. The best day of the week for getting together with friends was Wednesday with the Photography Club. Within the club was a friend that wrote articles for Celebration Magazine. Susan Decuir shared her stories when the magazines were delivered to the center. I always enjoyed reading her articles and looked forward to the next month’s publication.  This is how I found a new group of people that I began to enjoy on the computer screen with lots of cheerful and happy people. 


The Zoom events are so fun.  I enjoy playing games, virtual learning, and fantastic entertainment by the wonderful staff at Celebration Magazine. I always feel happy after Zoom meetings. The drive-thru events brought the people on screen closer. I know the world will be getting better about socializing during a pandemic, and Zoom meetings will be replaced with some in-person events someday.  I know the Zoom family I have enjoyed in the past months, and it has made quarantine easier to deal with.


I look forward to being around for a while to get to know the Celebration Magazine staff, celebrities, and Zoom folks in person and enjoying some of the gatherings that happened before the shutdown.

WALKING FOR THE JUVENILLE DIABETES FOUNDATION

by  Terrie Campbell and Richard Rogers 

Before Richard retired, he worked in the corporate world as an electrical engineer.  The company would sponsor Juvenile Diabetes Foundation in the fall, and the employees would do the 5K or 2K walk.  The week prior to the walk, Terrie had visited Oklahoma for an event.  During her time there, she purchased an Oklahoma Sooners Jersey.  


 The JDRF One Walk took place on Texas-OU weekend at White Rock Lake in Dallas.  The weather was chilly, so we knew to dress in layers.  Terrie suggested that Richard wear the Oklahoma Sooners jersey under all his layers, so the jersey went on first.  


After we finished the walk, we stayed for the award ceremony & social time.  The DJ announced he would give a $25 La Madeleine gift card to the FIRST person to show him anything with the Oklahoma Sooners on it.  Richard was down the hill from where the DJ was set-up when he heard the announcement.  Just imagine a man running up the hill yelling, screaming, and tearing off layers of clothes.  That was Richard, trying to be the first to show his Sooners garb and what a sight it was. 


He was so glad he took Terrie's suggestion of wearing the jersey that day, and, thanks to her advice, we had a lovely lunch compliments of La Madeleine. •

MEMORIES

by  Tommy Thompson

Long, long ago, when I was a child, somebody told me that “I should live every day to create a memory for tomorrow because someday that is all you will have.“


That didn’t seem very important at that time, but now that I am approaching the end of the road, where having adventures is a lot more difficult, I find myself watching the sunset and drawing from all the memories and the wonderful times I have had. I remember things like finding new love.  I remember attempting new things that scared me.  I remember how I overcame my fears, and even if I did not conquer them, I at least finished in a respectable position.


I am thankful for the people who supported me when I became lost, discouraged and unsure of myself, who helped me back on the road even when I had made stupid and dangerous choices, usually in the search for new things that I wanted to experience.


As I look at the beautiful sunsets and relive those memories of my choice, I realize how fortunate I am to have experienced all of the things that I have, and I cherish all of the people I have shared them with. •

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