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Richard’s Almanac: The Senior Center is open

“Wonderful! Great!” were the words of excitement from folks at the Senior Center. 

“This socializing is great and seeing all my friends is fun,” said Betty Ann Morritt at last Wednesday’s meeting of the Silver Circle at the Senior Center.

This was the first meeting since everything shut down in March. It was held outside with tables and chairs sensibly spaced. Director Laurie Fanelli and her staff served salad and pizza and beverages. There were ice cream bars for dessert. The pizza was from Slice.

Prior to the luncheon, Jean Lawless led the group in chair yoga.

“We’re back open and we hope to stay that way,” Laurie said.

I spoke with Esther Hunt, who noted that since this all started, “I think that I have been to Riverhead once.”

Marissa Daley noted that it’s good to be back to normal life again and the “socializing is wonderful.”

Part-time staff member Alison Binder said this was her first time back at the Center since March.

Even though everyone was distancing and wearing masks, the excitement was palpable.

While at the Center, I noticed another new bus. It recently arrived and joins the bus just acquired as a gift from the Senior Citizens Foundation. It holds six passengers and a driver in addition to a person in a wheelchair. A commercial driver’s license is not required to operate it.

According to Laurie, the bus is a result of a grant that was captured by then-Town Board member Chris Lewis and Karin Bennett. The two large brand new vehicles look pretty impressive out in the parking lot.

Laurie says she’s already planning a scavenger hunt trip for next week.

Meanwhile, I noticed that the latest issue of the AARP Bulletin is loaded with all kinds of hints for staying healthy this winter, with a five-part plan to lower your risks of flu, coronavirus and the common cold.

It covers everything that we can do to protect ourselves from viruses and keep our immune system in the best possible shape.

A few nuggets that I picked up were in a list of “things you should never do again.”

• “Never pass a sink without washing your hands.” 

Good advice when one thinks about how many microorganisms our hands can pick up in public. I wonder if we’ll ever be able to comfortably shake hands again?

• “Never leave home without a pen in your pocket.”

Reporters are used to this but everyone else should always have a pen. You won’t have to touch the pen from the waiter to sign a credit card slip or use the pen that’s at the bank. These can carry plenty of germs. So always be armed with your own ballpoint.

• “Do not eat buffet style.”

I totally agree with this one and that’s why I have always avoided salad bars. Everything looks so good, but you never know who sneezed, coughed or picked his nose on the line before you. Just stay away.

There’s plenty of other good advice that we should all follow as a matter of course, including a good diet, fresh air, plenty of sleep, vitamin supplements (like vitamin D in the winter), keeping humidifiers going and getting a flu shot.

As I mentioned last week, Islanders are taking advantage of the shots being offered by the Senior Center. If you have not done it yet, sign up with Sara at the Senior Center at 631-749-1059. The date for the shots is Friday, Oct. 2 at the Presbyterian Church parking lot.