Senior Scope - Useful and Entertaining Information.
A publication for older adults in Manitoba, Canada. Available in print or as a digital download.
Home button
V8N5 - November 20, 2009:


Spotlight feature:

Doug and Florence
Doug, 80 and Flo, 78...
Dancing for the fun...

and health of it.

The Smalls have been clogging
for nearly 20 years.

"Dancing is the poetry of the foot."
~ John Dryden

It’s no wonder that Doug and Florence (Flo) Small are so healthy, vibrant and virtually pain-free. Doug is 80 and Flo is 78, and both have extremely busy schedules that include mostly fitness in one form or other.

Besides sharing 57 years together as husband and wife—raising a family of seven children—another common interest and passion they share is dancing. Although they enjoy various forms of dance, such as Square, Pattern and Line, Clogging seems to be their favourite.

Clogging has been around for hundreds of years and was usually done to fiddle music. It has common roots with tap dancing. It was termed ‘clogging’ due to the heavy wooden shoes once worn. Shoes are now commonly Oxfords with steel plates or taps on the toes and heels of the soles. Traditional Clogging is a flat foot shuffle involving fast footwork with little body motion, unlike Step and Tap where there is much jumping or hopping.

The Smalls were skeptical until they saw a demonstration of this ‘new’ dance at the Young at Hearts Club in their home town of Richer, Manitoba, 20 years ago. Once they tried it, they haven’t stopped since. Doug even teaches it at Paradise Village, a 55+ retirement community between Richer and St. Anne on Hwy. #1 East. They have several members in their clogging group and they call themselves the Paradise Cloggers. They formerly were the Dawson Trail Cloggers.

There are many benefits to dancing—physically, mentally and socially—and it can be great for those in their later years. There are some low-impact dances, such as clogging, that are easy on the joints, but still good for the cardiovascular system. It is a form of exercise giving your heart an aerobic workout. Not only does it reduce stress, it increases energy, strength (especially in your legs and hips), muscle tone and coordination.

Research shows dancing was the only physical activity, out of 11 studied in Great Britain, that may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The physical aspect of dancing increases blood flow to the brain, the social aspect lessens stress, depression and loneliness, and the coordination and thinking required to memorize the routines and to dance with a partner or in a group provides the mental workout necessary for brain health.

Flo says she has no joint pain at all. And Doug is just as fortunate, and happy to keep his legs in shape for golf. He uses his large front lawn as a driving range to keep his swing in shape, too.

Doug retired in 1987 as an Engineer for Canadian National Railway (CN), the largest railway in Canada, spanning coast-to-coast and even down to the Gulf of Mexico in the U.S. A few years later, he went to work for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, investigating
various transportation accidents. He retired, again, nine years later.

Both Doug and Flo are from Thunder Bay, Ontario, but they moved to Saskatoon, SK, when Doug got transferred. While there, Doug recalls a time when a movie called, “Alien Thunder” was being filmed in the early 70’s in Saskatoon, Battleford and Duck Lake, SK. It was a Canadian western film starring Donald Sutherland. Chief Dan George also appeared in it. The movie was based on a true story that followed a Canadian Mountie who wanted to give an Aboriginal a fair trial for the murder of a fellow officer before he winds up being executed. For one of the movie sets, a town was built with a quarter mile of railway track. All they needed was a vintage steam train to complete the set. Now, where could they find one? How about the Prairie Dog Central Steam Train in Manitoba? And, so the train was shipped on a flat car to Saskatchewan for filming. Doug was a master mechanic for CN there, and helped with the Prairie Dog. Later, the train travelled to other communities, including Prince Albert, and Doug got to drive it back to Saskatoon with Flo.

A few years after moving to Saskatchewan, they came to Manitoba and settled in Richer.

Doug and Flo had managed to travel and participate in other activities before Doug retired, but after is when they really started to enjoy life to the fullest.

They danced all the way to Halifax once. It was a 29-day trip and they stopped several times along the way to dance at various places, finally reaching Halifax, Nova Scotia, to attend the 9th Canadian National Square & Round Dance Convention on July 21, 22, & 23, 1994. The slogan for the event was “Dance By the Shore in '94". CBC recorded some of the dancing for a television segment, but it wasn’t until they had already returned home when they learned it had aired in Halifax, and that they appeared on the program. They never did get to see it.

Their lives are as full as can be these days. Here is their current weekly schedule:
Monday - Clogging;
Tuesday morning - Aquasizing;
Tuesday evening - Square Dancing;
Wednesday afternoon - Line Dancing;
Thursday morning - Aquasizing;
Fridays - Clogging.
They Pattern Danced on Thursdays, as well, up until spring, 2009, and had also done Tai Chi in the past.

Doug serves on the board for the Richer Young at Hearts Club and he and Flo attend every monthly Dinner and Dance there for only $15 each... and they dance every dance. People come from all over, even from as far as the U.S. border.

As busy as they both are, they are avid readers and they enjoy casino visits from time-to-time for a little gambling.

When Flo isn’t baking for parent-teacher meetings or helping out at the Richer Fellowship Church, she might sit down and enjoy a television show. It’s not surprising that Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy are some of her favourites - exercising her mind, not only her body. She enjoys walking and plans to start again like she had done before with her friend, Irene—five days a week, covering four miles each day.

Flo used to be the Richer columnist for The Carillon newspaper, which is based out of Steinbach, keeping the other communities up-to-date on local activities. She also used to volunteer at a senior’s home in St. Anne. And she is crafty too. She built some very cute and comical bird feeders and even an 18-hole Purple Martin house. She is quite mechanically inclined, as well, according to her son, David.

Doug is a prostate cancer survivor. Ever since he had to travel to Grand Forks, North Dakota, for radiation treatments nine years ago, he has faithfully attended every annual reunion with fellow patients he met there and became friends with, and their spouses. They gather at different locations, but he especially enjoys the reunions at the Deer Lodge Centre on Portage Avenue, in Winnipeg.

Doug and Flo are proud of their five sons and two daughters. They are also blessed with many grand, and great grandchildren to ensure that when the family does get a chance to get together, it’s more than a houseful.

Music was passed down from both of Doug's and Flo’s families. There was a strong singing influence from Flo’s side and Doug’s father played the saxophone on his off-time of being a surgeon. Flo influenced her own children with her singing. She would always sing around the home. Her daughters, Cheryl and Bonnie, and a granddaughter, Becky, are fine singers. Becky had won the Thompson Idol competition a couple years back. And their grandson, Chris, is showing promise with his vocals, as well. He was the lead singer with the Gillam High School Band, even for several months after he graduated. He has also taken up the fiddle and guitar.

Ask anyone and they will describe Doug and Flo as being youthful. They probably inherited some longevity genes, but it’s more likely their lifestyle that keeps them young.

(Read more in the Nov. 20/09 issue of Senior Scope)


False Charities

Every year thousands of Canadians give to those in need through various charity organizations. When asked if we would like to support a ‘good cause’ those of us who are in a position to do so often will. Requests for donations come in many forms including, mail, phone, Internet, and door to door canvassing. But how do you know if the charity is legit and not just the latest scam?

The following are some of the typical warning signs to be aware of:

- High pressure or threatening telemarketers/canvassers who want you to contribute immediately
- Unsolicited emails or phone calls thanking you for making a pledge you don’t remember and asking you to make another one
- Canvassers without credentials or proper ID

If you’re not certain about the legitimacy of a charity the following advice should be applied:

- If you receive a phone call or a visit from a canvasser ask for a pamphlet you can look over. Inquire as to how much of your donation will be used directly for the charity and how much goes towards administrative costs. Legitimate charities are willing to provide this information.
- Remember on an incoming call a person could be misrepresenting a legitimate charity.
- Never give out personal/financial information over the phone or at the door. You can always mail a cheque if you choose to donate.
- Call the charity to see if they currently have representatives canvassing your neighborhood.
- Ask if the charity is registered and contact Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-267-2384 to confirm.

At the beginning of the year decide in advance which charities you would like to donate to and take the necessary steps to ensure they’re credible. If you are approached later on you can kindly state that you have already given for the year and feel good about your act of kindness.

Cst. Ben Doiron
Winnipeg RCMP
Commercial Crime Section

(Read more in the Nov. 20 09 issue of Senior Scope)


Congratulations to the recipients of Creative Retirement Manitoba’s 2009 Ageless Heroes Awards

Recipients of the Ageless Heroes Awards are Bessie-Marie Hill of Winnipeg for Love of Learning and Ida Shaw of Winnipeg for Bridging the Generations.

They were among 12 nominees honoured at the Creative Retirement Manitoba annual fall luncheon, Oct. 20 at Canad Inn Polo Park.

Bessie-Marie Hill, nominated by Frederica Borys, a retired teacher, has used her love of history and passion for travel to enrich the lives of students, tourists and many local citizens. A co-coordinator and host for Elderhostel, “Footprints across the Prairies”, she researched the history, geography and special features of the prairie provinces, taking thirty cross-Canada trips by Via Rail and six trips to Churchill, Manitoba. She volunteered for the Manitoba Society of Seniors, leading numerous tours, with commentaries full of historical facts and intriguing trivia. She has arranged and narrated trips for the Retired Women Teachers Association. Bessie–Marie spends countless hours researching rural destinations for the trips. “She is like a walking Manitoba encyclopedia who makes history come alive.” She arranged speakers for a weekly program at Stony Mountain Justice Group. Topics include Aboriginal issues, social issues, poverty and “Life on the Outside”. As one supporter remarked, Bessie Marie demonstrates the spirit of life long learning.

Ida Shaw, nominated by Nancy Dyck, has been a volunteer at R.B. Russell Vocational High School for the last ten years. She arrives faithfully at the school each Monday and Tuesday (despite, rain, hail, snow or bus delays), assisting in the counsellor’s office, completing paperwork and listening to waiting students “with compassion and kindness”. She attends all Open Houses, concerts and graduations where she welcomes and directs guests. She is also famous for her baking, which she spends hours at home to bring in to treat staff and students. Ida is a powerful role model to the students because of her consistent dedication. Ida Shaw walks into a room and changes her environment and lifts the hearts of all who come into contact with her, with a smile and a gift from the heart. Ida is a person committed to activities which reach out and earn the admiration of younger persons.

These awards, sponsored by Manitoba Blue Cross, recognize individuals who have made contributions to their community through their passion for learning and ability to bridge generations.

(Read more in the Nov. 20 09 issue of Senior Scope)



Winners of this year's Manitoba Council on Aging Recognition Awards are leaders in making meaningful contributions to improve the quality of life for older Manitobans, Healthy Living Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross, minister responsible for seniors, said today at a Seniors and Elders Month event recognizing award recipients.

"These awards winners know there is no greater calling than to serve Manitobans and there is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well," said Irvin-Ross. "Today I am honoured to provide well-earned recognition to those who have made Manitoba a more age-friendly province."

"This is a wonderful celebration of seniors and their contribution to the well-being of communities throughout Manitoba," said Jean-Yves Rochon, chair of the Manitoba Council on Aging, during the presentation of the awards.

The 2009 recipients are:

- Loreen Amann of Austin, for her active involvement with the Austin and Area Leisure Club as a participant, coach, key fundraiser and a board member;
- Shirley Johnston of Winnipeg, who served as the first president of St. Boniface Hospital Retirees Association;
- Josie Lucidi of Winnipeg, a founding member and vice-president of the board of directors of both the Villa Cabrini and Villa Nova seniors residences;
- Ellen Rawlings of Glenboro, an active volunteer with organizations such as the Glenboro Personal Care Home, Meals on Wheels and the Glenboro
centennial committee;
- Joyce Rose of Stonewall, a founding member of the South Interlake Seniors Resource Council;
- Flora Zaharia of Winnipeg, a highly regarded member of the Aboriginal community and a respected elder;
- Patricia Corbin of Stonewall, who currently serves as chair of the South Interlake Seniors Council board; and
- Jane Kilpatrick of Winnipeg, who has served on the board of directors for Age and Opportunity since 1999 and as board chair from 2006 to 2009.

L-R: Kerri Irvin-Ross, Sophie Kolt, Jean-Yves Rochon

The 2009 Murray Smith Award went to Sophie Kolt of Winnipeg, an active member of Partners Seeking Solutions with Seniors since its inception in 2001. The award was established in honour of the late Murray Smith, former chair of the Manitoba Council on Aging. Smith was a prominent educator and an active volunteer and advocate for seniors. The award is presented to an individual who demonstrates exceptional skills in the areas of advocacy, volunteerism and policy influence.

In addition to the award winners, honourable mention certificates were presented to Jake Froese, Bert Johnson, Henry Sawatzky, Gordon Young, Sadie Leepart, Millie McLuckie, Theresa Nault, Vernice Sheppard and Virginia Tate.

Manitoba has developed the Age-Friendly Manitoba Initiative to support seniors in leading active, socially engaged and independent lives that contribute to healthy aging. The provincial initiative works together with communities to enhance many initiatives and services that benefit seniors and support the health, independence and well-being of all Manitoba seniors.

The Manitoba Council on Aging was established in 1980 as an advisory body to the minister responsible for seniors. The awards were established in 1996 to recognize extraordinary individuals for their exemplary efforts on behalf of seniors and to pay tribute to the seniors who continue to contribute to their communities.

(Read more in the Nov. 20 09 issue of Senior Scope)


William J. Thomas

One Way Too Active Senior

Look, I know the rules: in order to stay young you must keep active. But folks, I’m here to tell you there most certainly are limits to the activity level of seniors.

Meet Hunter Roundtree, a senior citizen from Abilene Texas with a keen mind, good motor skills and the dream of a much younger man. Okay, the dream of a young
offender to be precise.

I would classify 92-year-old Hunter as an overactive or
hyperactive or even hopelessly active senior. However at the moment, Hunter’s suddenly not all that active now that he’s confined to a five-by-ten prison cell.

Like many senior citizens on fixed incomes, Hunter never seemed to have enough money at the end of the month. He needed an additional source of income over and above his pension. A Walmart greeter? The oldest kid ever to flip burgers at McDonalds? No, Hunter had a more direct route to money which led him straight through the front door of First American Bank in downtown Abilene.

So on a fine fall day, Hunter Roundtree parked his 1996 Buick sedan in front of the bank and marched inside fully intending to walk back out with a pile of cash minus all that annoying paperwork that comes with taking out a loan.

According to plan, he passed a large manila envelope to the bank teller inscribed with the word “ROBBERY” in big red letters.

Temporarily stunned to receive this envelope by a man old enough to be… okay, a disciple, the teller gasped: “What do you mean?”

“Hurry up or you’ll get hurt,” replied Hunter in his best John Wayne voice.

At this point, although the line of people behind Hunter is backed up to the door, nobody is suspicious of a robbery in progress because if you’ve ever been behind a 90-year old at the bank, you know you’re not moving until all the photos of the grandkids have been passed around.

Finally realizing it was a stick-up and the man with his pants belted just below his armpits was the robber, the teller responded like any bank employee would who had successfully completed the In The Event Of A Robbery Training Program.

“You’re kidding,” she said.

This prompted Hunter to make some sort of threatening gesture probably involving the pointy end of a cane. With this the woman very slowly peeled off $1,999 in cash which she stashed in the envelope marked “ROBBERY.” Surveillance cameras would later show she did all this with a completely straight face.

Hunter took off, okay, shuffled out of the bank with his loot allowing plenty of time for one employee to call police and another to jot down his license plate number.

Minutes later Abilene police spotted the getaway car on the outskirts of town and a chase ensued during which Hunter’s car was clocked at 90 miles per hour. Yes, it’s not just your great, great grandfather’s Buick any more!

Apparently for Hunter, outrunning police driving 90 miles an hour is like golf for other seniors. You want to score your age, eh?

When Hunter’s Buick was finally forced to a stop, he strongly denied any involvement in the robbery of the bank and vigorously protested his arrest.

Unfortunately police found $1,999 in a manila envelope marked “ROBBERY” under the car seat and Hunter’s shirt pocket yielded a Walmart receipt for one red magic marker and a manila envelope.

J.L. Hunter Roundtree will be released from Texas State prison at 104 years of age. Relax, because by then his driver’s license will have expired.

So when experts keep telling you to stay active, they’re urging you to walk, read and travel instead of rob, loot and pillage.

On the other hand, you’re probably still strapped for cash at the end of each month while the only debt Hunter Roundtree owes is the one he’s paying to society.

William Thomas is the author of nine books of humour including Margaret and Me about his wee Irish mother.

(Read more in the Nov. 20/09 issue of Senior Scope)


Senior Scope - highlighting the programs, services and savings for seniors.

Anyone who is a senior or knows a senior enjoys reading it. And who doesn't have a parent, grandparent, relative or friend who isn't aging? Better yet, who isn't aging? We all are.

Senior Scope offers useful and entertaining information with a focus on active, inspiring individuals, 55 and over, who are happy to share their stories.

Send your comments or story suggestions to






















Home | About | Archives | Events | To Advertise | Contact | Links










Senior Scope
Publisher: Kelly Goodman
Phone: 204-467-9000
Box 1806 Stonewall
Manitoba, Canada
R0C 2Z0