In the coloring book of life, friends are the ones who fill in the lines

IRON MOUNTAIN — There’s a fundamental truth in the idea that the world is simply not black and white. No matter how you choose to see it, or what lens you decide to look through, you will never not find some kind of gray area. The reality is that often times we want the world to be as simple as that, black and white, because there would be far less curve balls and far more home runs, but the cards that are dealt by the almighty “Oz,” so to speak, are never that obvious.

Growing up, I was never that girl who had tons of friends. I did, however, have one best friend. Officially, we’ve now known each other for 19, almost 20, years. Our friendship is an amazing one, because we only went to school together for about six years, and then we went to different high schools, colleges, and followed different life and career paths that took us to separate places. Through all those years, we managed to stay in touch, and whenever we were both “home” at the same time, the inevitable hang out was made, and we’d commence our annual traditions. In grade school, we would always have sleepovers in her basement, watch “Titanic” on a projector, and pretend to kiss Leonardo DiCaprio as he held Kate Winslet in his arms. In high school, when I would come home on my home leave once a month from academy, we would whip up a batch of oatmeal cookie dough, chocolate chip for her and plain for me, hide it in one of our overly large purses, and head to the movie theater. No teenager was harmed due to salmonella in the making of this memory.

When we were in college, every year before I would leave to travel states away to my institution of higher education, we would have a coffee date at the Moose Jackson; every time I would come home from college and she would travel down from NMU, we would again go to the Moose Jackson. Then, after I graduated and after she’d gotten married, I’d come home from Chicago to a new tradition of being “Auntie Samm,” and giving her a break so she could take a five-minute power nap on the couch. The beauty and amazing truth to our friendship was that we lived life in it’s rawest form; we were honest and open with each other; we cried with each other and laughed with each other, and even though we were never quite in the same place at the same time, we knew that what truly mattered was the love we had for one another, and that the differences in our day to day and year to year were simply the black and white, and we were the gray area.

In college, I met my next best friend. She and I have now known each other for seven years, going on eight. While we originally bonded because out of the 15 people in our orientation group we were the only ones not rushing a sorority or fraternity, we chose to keep the bond because while we were inherently different, it was as if we had been separated at birth. As cliché as that sounds, it’s the truth. We had different tastes in music and film; we both loved food, but never ordered the same things as each other; I was a cat person and she was a dog person, but if you were to look at us on a purely surface level, you would never know how truly opposite we are, because our love for each other was on an equal playing field. I held her on my couch while she cried at her darkest, and she held me at mine. We laughed at “Friends” at 11 o’clock at night and met each other’s families. We never lied to each other or hid who we were. We were always, and continuously are, unapologetically ourselves.

We too, had traditions. As seniors we frequented Olive Garden so much that the waiter knew our order, and always had a bag of breadsticks to send home with us. Every Tuesday, we would eat lunch together at Windsor hall, and every Thursday we would have a Starbucks coffee date in the over sized leather chairs of the Union. When I moved in with her while I was doing my student teaching in Chicago, once a week we would go to Cold Stone, and every time we would laugh as if we were our own comedy show on the drive back home. We celebrated our birthday on the 15th of March, because hers was the 14th and mine was the 16th. She was the kind of friend that I knew everything about, her intricacies and idiosyncrasies, and she knew mine. Her final year of college, we miraculously made it into the same Spanish class, and on that first day of classes, we had our very own movie moment; we both found ourselves sitting next to each other in desks that were far too uncomfortable, listening to a teacher begin his discussion on physics, realizing that during our year as seniors, we’d made a freshman mistake in going to the wrong class. Embarrassingly yet hilariously, we both exited at the same time.

Like my friend of 20 years, my friend of seven took a different life path than I. She went on to grad school, while I taught in the inner city; she lived in the burbs and I lived on the North Side, and U.P. She worked in the medical field, and I worked in education. We never lived less than an hour from one another, aside from college, but like my childhood best friend, we were only a car ride away. This month, I somewhat lose them both. On Aug. 10, my maid of honor from college moves halfway across the country to California, and on Aug. 20, my kindred spirit of 20 years flies with her family to France, and then to Togo, Africa, to devote their lives to the mission field. Both of these truest loves of my life will for the very first time no longer be simply a drive and playlist away.

The world is not black and white. Friendships, are not black and white. If you were to put either of these described friendships down on paper, they simply would not have worked out. The math and science behind them wouldn’t have added up, because with both, the courses of our lives were never in sync. Realistically speaking, it doesn’t make common sense that we are still friends, and yet we are, because life is colorful, and there are so many gray areas that thankfully, dilute the black and white. As we grow up, we realize it becomes less important to have a ton of friends, and more important to have real ones. To my beautiful sisters embarking on exciting new journeys: because of you, I laugh a little harder, cry a little less, and smile a lot more. You are my gray areas; my beautiful pieces of living color, and I will never see our worlds in black and white.

——

Freeman

Kingsford

Scenes and sounds, 11:45 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

Sunday: Uno, 1 p.m.; dunking donuts, 2 p.m.; church, 2:15 p.m.

Monday: Pretty nails, 10 a.m.; library cart, 11 a.m.; brouhaha, 1:15 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; ice cream, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Crafts, 10 a.m.; gardening, 11 a.m.; reminisce, 1:15 p.m.; Kentucky Derby, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; rosary, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Reading buddy, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 11 a.m.; what’s the word?, 1:15 p.m.; Crystal Hogan entertains, 2 p.m.

Friday: What’s cooking?, 11 a.m.; bunco, 1:15 p.m.; Golden K bingo, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Meet and greet, 10:30 a.m.; spinning records, 11 a.m.; Daily News, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Iron County Medical Facility

Crystal Falls

Room visits, 1 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

Exercise, 11 a.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

Sunday: One to one church visitors, 8:30 a.m.; room visits, 9 to 11 a.m.; Pictionary, 10 a.m.; bingorama, 2 p.m.; Church of Christ, 3 p.m.

Monday: Crafts, 9 a.m.; resident council, 10:30 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine Club, 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday: CF library, 9:30 a.m.; Book Club, 10 a.m.; Mass, 10 a.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; action movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Community breakfast, 9 a.m.; storytelling, 10:30 a.m.; name that word, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; Christ United, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 2:30 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; fair trip, 10 a.m.; fair trip, 1 p.m.; courtyard reminisce, 2 p.m.; classic movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Price is Right, 10 a.m.; taste test, 10 a.m.; trivia, 10 a.m.; geri gym, 11 a.m.; intergenerational social hour, 2 p.m.

ManorCare

Kingsford

Wet your whistle, 9:30 a.m. daily.

Movie, 10:45 a.m. daily, and 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Gathering place, 11:40 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 11:40 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Popcorn Day Fridays.

Protestant Church service, 3 p.m. Sunday.

Exercises, 10 a.m. daily.

Sunday: Wet your whistle, 9:30 a.m.; just jokes, 10:15 a.m.; inside out visits, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant Church, 3 p.m.

Monday: Who, what, when, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; pokeno, 5:45 p.m.

Tuesday: Trivia, 10:15 a.m.; Bob Larson entertains, 2 p.m.; movie and a manicure, 5:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Remembering when, 10:15 a.m.; Golden Throats entertain, 2 p.m.; flip five, 5:45 p.m.

Thursday: Crosswords, 10:15 a.m.; K bingo, 2 p.m.; Randy’s magic moments, 5:45 p.m.

Friday: ABC game, 10:15 a.m.; Mass, 2 p.m.; chips n’ chatter, 2:30 p.m.

Saturday: Current events, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; movie, 3:15 p.m.

Maryhill Manor

Niagara, Wis.

Rosary, 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Parachute, 1:30 p.m. daily.

Monthly support group for grief and loss, 2 p.m. second Monday of the month.

Weekend pet visits.

Sunday: Rosary, 8:30 a.m.; Mass, 9 a.m.; penny ante, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant service, 2:30 p.m.

Monday: Trivia, 10:15 a.m.; nickel jokereno, 2 p.m.; Baptist service, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Bob Larson entertains, 10 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6:15 p.m.

Wednesday: Protestant service, 9 a.m.; spelling bee, 10:15 a.m.; jokereno, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.; fireside, 6:15 p.m.

Thursday: Mass, 9 a.m.; Scattegories, 10:15 a.m.; parachute in the gazebo, 2 p.m.; whammo, 6:15 p.m.; Music in the Park: with Scott Johnson and Bill Morrison, 6:30 p.m.

Friday: Exercise, 10:15 a.m.; trivia, 10:30 a.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Pamper and polish, 10:15 a.m.; Elvis show, 2 p.m.; Elvis movie and popcorn, 5:45 p.m.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain

Exercise, 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Coffee clutch, 9:30 a.m. daily

Shopping days: 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, must sign up.

Sunday: Bible study, 1:30 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Monday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Left, center, right, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Mass, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Thursday: The Girls, 2 p.m.; Rosary, 3 p.m.

Friday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; dinner out, 4:45 p.m.

Saturday: Movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

Florence, Wis.

Sunday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; social hour, 3 p.m.

Monday: Balloon volley, 10 a.m.; bingo with Bette, 2 p.m.; one on one time, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Dyna Band stretch, 10:30 a.m.; NFL team craft, 2:30 p.m.; social hour, 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Chair exercise, 10:30 a.m.; Wheel of Fortune, 2:30 p.m.; music with Dave and Grace, 6:30 p.m.

Thursday: Pastor Jason, 10 a.m.; manicures, 2:30 p.m.; football party, 3:30 p.m.; Packers vs. Titans, 7 p.m.

Friday: Mass, 10 a.m.; 1890s show with Valri, 2 p.m.; room visits, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; Yahtzee, 2:30 p.m.; reading on the patio, 3:30 p.m.

Pinecrest Medical Care Facility

Powers

Life connections, 9:45 a.m. every Monday.

Busy bee, 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Rosary 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Sunday: Grace church, 10 a.m.; sensory, 10 a.m.; life stories, 2 p.m.; outside social, 2 p.m.

Monday: Van ride, 10 a.m.; song service, 1:30 p.m.; rosary, 2:30 p.m.; one to one visits, 3:30 p.m.; bowling, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Outside social, 10 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; Scattegories, 3:30 p.m.; one to one visits, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Gardening, 10 a.m.; Jim Clements, 2 p.m.; one to one visits, 2:30 p.m.

Thursday: Char chi, 10 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; ball toss, 6 p.m.

Friday: Mass, 10 a.m.; outside social, 2 p.m.; fish fry outing, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday: Coffee social, 10 a.m.; crafts, 10 a.m.; mind joggers, 2 p.m.; sensory, 2 p.m.

SENIOR CENTERS

Note: All centers ask for 24-hour advanced reservations for lunch. If you have meals delivered and will not be home, notify the center.

Alpha-Mastodon Center

906-875-3315

Meal noon every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Amasa Center

906-822-7284

Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Lunch at noon.

Bingo on Tuesdays.

Free meal drawing on Thursdays.

Breen Center

906-774-5110

Meals Monday through Friday.

Pasty sale every third Saturday of the month.

Cards and games available 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2 p.m.

Hostess on duty Monday through Friday.

Treats and coffee, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Center retail store is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday; volunteers and donations are welcome.

Birthdays acknowledged every day.

Evening meals are on the first and third Thursday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with dinner at 5 p.m. Donations are $4 for those 60 and older and $5 for 60 and younger.

Crystal Falls Center

Head cook, Lucy Korhonen

906-875-6709

Meals will be served on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 5 p.m., with the salad bar opening at 4:30 p.m. The dinner donation is $5 for those age 60 and older and $6 for those younger than 60. There is a $1 charge for take-out containers. All are invited.

Cribbage will be played at 1 p.m. Wednesdays and be concluded in time for dinner.

The center is closed Thursday through Sunday.

Monday: Soup, salad, chicken and stuffing bake, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, and homemade dessert.

Tuesday: Soup, salad, wet beef burritos, chips and salsa, nachos,and homemade dessert.

Wednesday: Soup, salad, brats, potato salad, corn on the cob, and homemade dessert.

Thursday: Soup, salad, pork chops, twice baked potatoes, applesauce, vegetables, and homemade dessert.

A site council meeting takes place at 3 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.

A blood pressure reading can be taken by request at any time while the center is open.

Crystal Lake Center

906-774-5888

The center is closed on weekends.

Monday: Woodcarvers, 10 a.m.; mahjong in dining hall, noon; Les Artistes Art Club, noon; Bridge Club, 12:15 p.m.

Tuesday and Thursday: Pinochle, 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: Billiards, 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday: Spinning Spools Quilters Guild, 1 p.m., crafters, scrap bookers and others also welcome; knitting and crocheting class, 1 to 3 p.m.

Friday: Smear, 12:30 p.m.

Last Saturday of the month: Music jam starting at 1 p.m. Admission is free.

Dances take place from 7 to 10 p.m. on the second and fourth Fridays of the month. Admission is $6; coffee is free.

The Photo Club meets 1 to 3 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month.

Evening meals are usually on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with the meal served at 4:30 p.m. A donation of $4 is accepted for seniors age 60 and older but not required.

Home-delivered meals are for seniors 60 and older can be delivered seven days a week. Suggested donation is $4 per meal. For information, call Chris Tramotin at 906-774-2256, ext. 235.

Transportation is available from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call the center to book a ride.

Felch Center

906-246-3559

Meals served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Wednesday.

Bingo after lunch on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

A congregate jigsaw puzzle is done daily.

Aging and Disability Resource Center of Florence County

715-528-4890

Director: Tiffany White

Suggested donation for seniors older than 60 is $4 per meal. Residents younger than 60 must pay $7. Reservations and cancellations needed 48 hours in advance.

The ADRC can assist area seniors and those with disabilities with transportation Monday through Friday. Transportation reservation should be made with meal reservation.

Four senior dining locations are listed below:

Fence Center/Town Hall

715-336-2980

Meal at noon Wednesdays only. Reservations are requested. Cribbage and cards are available.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall

715-528-4261

Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Jigsaw puzzles, cards, cribbage and board games are available. The coffee is always on as well.

Tipler Town Hall

715-674-2320

Serving lunch at noon on the second Thursday of the month.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora

715-589-4491

Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Jigsaw puzzles, cribbage, cards and board games are available. The coffee is always on as well.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Pam Haluska

906-498-7735

Meal is at noon Monday through Friday. Suggested donation is $3 for age 60 and older and $7 for those younger than 60.

Morning coffee is available daily.

Fifteen games of “fun bingo” are played each Tuesday and Friday, along with a 50/50 drawing.

Tuesday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Cards played in the afternoon. Call ahead to see if a game will be going on.

Friday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Monday through Friday: Walking in the gym, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A treadmill also is available.

Friendly interaction with other crafters.

Iron River Center

906-265-6134

Meals served 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; a $4 donation is encouraged from those 60 and older, and a $5 payment is required from those younger than 60.

Thursday meal, 4 p.m. salad bar, with dinner at 4:30 p.m.

DICSA operates all meals and transportation out of the Iron River Center. Rides are $2.50 donation for age 60 and older, and $3 required for younger than 60. Call 906-265-6134 to schedule a ride

Niagara Northwoods Senior Cafe and Center

Corrie Maule, Meal site manager, 715-251-1603

Jill Anderson, senior center director, 715-251- 4154

Noon meals served Monday through Thursday.

Transportation to the meal site from the Niagara, Wis., area is offered.

They welcome any senior groups that would like to use the meal site as a meeting place — join them for lunch and then stay for a meeting or social time.

Wii games, cards, puzzles and board games are available to play.

Other activities are in the works — suggestions are always welcome.

Those who have not been at the meal site/senior center are invited to give it a try. Those who haven’t been here in a while are encouraged to come back.

Norway Center

Director: Susie Slining

906-563-8716

Monday through Thursday: Meals served at noon, with salad bar. Soup also is available at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Milk, juice, bread, fruit, tea, and coffee served daily. Meal donation is $5. Reservation for the meal should be made in advance.

Two special-themed meals take place each month, with bingo, prizes and a 50/50 drawing.

Two evening meals offered at 5 p.m. on the first Monday and third Wednesday of the month, with bingo, prizes and a 50/50.

If Norway-Vulcan are schools are closed due to snow days, so is the senior center. If the schools are on a two-hour delay, the center remains open.

Cards are played daily after the noon meal.

Craft and exercise classes: Mondays and Thursdays.

Ceramic and art classes: Wednesdays.

Puzzles always in the works.

A senior coloring class meets daily. All are welcome. Some materials will be provided.

Telephone reassurance is available for any senior who doesn’t get out much and would like a friendly daily phone check to see that all is well.

Monday — Noon meal with baked cod, scalloped potatoes, peas, salad bar, fruit, juice, and dessert.

Monday — Speaker at 4:30 p.m. from the Dickinson County Medical Care Access Coalition will talk about preventative screenings that Medicare will pay for and answer any questions about Medicare that there may be.

Tuesday — Baseball dinner at 5 p.m. with pizza burgers, tater tots, green beans, soup and salad bar, fruit, juice, and dessert. Bingo and prizes with 50-50 available; sign up early.

Note: A CSFP food card (green card) is available to income-eligible seniors. Make an appointment to get signed up. File of Life packets available at the center.

Note: Ask about the Medicare Savings Program. This program helps people pay their Medicare part B premium. You may be eligible. The local MMAP counselor can be reached at 1-800-803-7174, or dial 211.

Sagola Center

906-542-3273

Meals: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11:45 a.m.

Cards: Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday.

Commodities every other month and quarterly commodities are every three months.

A puzzle table is available to enjoy.

Volunteers are always welcome.

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