North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

By Katie Bourg
Senior Daze 

Improving health, worsening news


Spring appears to be well established, even with a few slips back to wet winter weather.

Thanks to daughter Karen, my front flowerbed got cleaned and ready, and neighbor Kitty helped me get my geraniums planted. They are now blooming their hearts out, and I stop to enjoy them every time I return to my front door. So now on to other things.

Way back in 1960 I read a small item in a neighborhood paper. It invited anyone interested to an informational meeting about a new weight loss group called TOPS. This stood for Take Off Pounds Sensibly. I went to the meeting just to listen. I left the new leader of a new group.

We called ourselves “The Happy Hefties.” We were one of several groups that formed that night. By the following spring the first State Recognition Day (SRD) was held at the Ben Franklin hotel in downtown Seattle. People from all parts of the state came and were doing well. I was there, minus 70 pounds. It was a great experience. It was also obvious this organization was here to stay. I foolishly assumed I didn’t need it anymore, and dropped out. Life changes got in the way, frequently. But wherever I was, I would eventually return to a TOPS group.

Ten years ago I joined again, and this time I’ve stayed and succeeded. I also have been very involved. So this past week I attended the 2014 SRD with three other members. It’s a wonderful experience to see people on the stage that had held to a healthy weight for as much as sixty years. I couldn’t help thinking I could have been one of them if I had just stayed in the group. But I am very close to my goal, which would make me a KOPS. This time I think I’ll hang around. It’s been healthy. It has also been fun.

The trip to Wenatchee was nice. Stevens Pass was sunny almost all the way. The dry warm air of the area was soothing. I talked our driver into a small detour, to see again the home we built in Gold Bar. The trees I planted are now enormous and my lilac was in full bloom. I miss the home we built. But I’m happy to see it is in good hands, even if they did get rid of my pink paint. And I now have another little house where I’m very happy.

In fact, I seem to be happy about a lot of things. I think of the many opportunities we have today that were not available when I was young. And I acknowledge they are there for young people to access, enjoy, and build on. We’ve got a lot of problems. But we have more tools to build a better world for all than any other place in the world. The recent news of a whole school full of girls being kidnapped and sold into slavery is horrifying. That there are people that can twist their minds into justifying such actions is shocking.

We also heard this week that our veterans are not being taken care of properly. That’s news I had hoped to never hear again. It was true and very sad during the 1920s. That changed with one appointment, when General Hines became the head of the VA in the early thirties. Because of my father’s involvement I grew up knowing how much good this one man accomplished.

Sometimes our world needs a little shaking up. I’m hoping there is another General Hines out there somewhere. And there will be. Our form of government always gives us the tools to make a change where needed. I’m not too worried about where we are going.

America is still the land of opportunity. It will never be perfect. It can always get better.


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