Renown South Meadows Medical CenterMonaco Ridge Octogenarian Writes to Keep Mind Active
RENO, Nev. (Dec. 13, 2007) – Shakespeare once wrote “SHALL I COMPARE THEE TO A SUMMER’S DAY?…” Similarly, a sunrise is almost indiscernible from the sunset, and neither is less lovely. Comparisons of days and people have been in poetry…well, throughout the ages. But poetry can do much more than just compare, it can describe, analyze, paint word pictures and explain emotions in beautiful and rhythmic ways. Those who write poetry see the world and its inhabitants from a slightly different viewpoint.
For one octogenarian resident of Monaco Ridge’s Assisted Living center at Renown Medical Center, South Meadows, although the days have turned into decades, her enthusiasm for reading, language and writing poetry and prose has not waned with the years. Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1927, Dolores van Keuren is a 1991 Reno transplant who continues to write award-winning poems, articles and short stories.
Her most recent acknowledgements came from the 2007 National Federation of State Poetry Societies’ 48th annual contest in which she won first place in Category 23 for her poem titled “Arachnophobia,” and from a branch of The American Pen Women’s Society where she took first place for a short story entitled “The Moon Jar.”
When asked what she enjoys most about writing, she replied with a thoughtful expression, “As the piece develops, I get excited about it, and it is very satisfying to see the poem or story working in the middle and realizing how it evolves. I was just about to say something else, but it has escaped me,” she added with a chuckle. “That’s being 80.”
Publishing her first book, “How to Be Suddenly Slim,” (Frederick Fell) in 1969 and her second, “Think Thin,” (Paul Eriksson) in 1971, van Keuren has also written for Motor Boating Magazine, The American Hunter, Coronet, the Pennysaver Press, The Light and Life Press, Australian Women’s Weekly and the Gospel Publishing House, among others.
Questioned about her favorite authors, van Keuren replied, “I read very eclectically – I like Tom Clancy, Hemingway, Steinbeck – I read all kinds of authors and subjects, so it is difficult for me to pinpoint one favorite.”
She values her Washoe County library card and is currently reading “Rules of Engagement,” by Gordon Kent.
“Some have said that when they reach the golden years, the mind is willing, but the body is weak,” said Renown Health’s South Meadows Monaco Ridge Administrator Maureen Gresh. “Studies have shown that when seniors are mentally and physically engaged in something like writing, reading, crafts, etc., their health outcomes are greatly improved.”
Gresh stressed that finding an assisted living home that is engaging should be high on the list for family members who are deciding what sort of care is necessary for their parents.
Located in south Reno at Renown South Meadows Medical Center, Monaco Ridge is a 40-suite assisted living facility that offers residents the perfect balance between privacy, independence, community and personalized care. As the only assisted living facility in the region that is housed at a major medical center, comprehensive healthcare services including 24-hour emergency care, primary care physicians and rehab therapy are close by. Comprehensive services include in-room emergency call systems, bathing and dressing assistance, transportation, 24-hour professional and compassionate staff, laundry services, private suites with kitchenettes, three meals a day plus snacks, a variety of social and educational activities, and medication management. For more information or to schedule a personal tour, call 775-982-7055.
Sidebar: One of van Keuren’s favorite, award-winning poems.
The lighting claws the sky, and thunder booms.
The mountains cringe in clouds and hide each crest.
Rare sheets of rain – and then the desert blooms,
Red, white, gold, pink, splash-painting all the West.
Straight spear of lupine, military blue;
Each California poppy blows and sways
in color incandescent; meadow rue;
mauve thistles, and white mountain daisy’s rays.
An artist’s palette, shouting springtime lust.
A haze of green beneath the West’s huge skies.
The foothills smeared with blossoms’ yellow dust,
while snow-melt feeds the color till it dies.
Too soon it’s gone. Sun-wilted grass remains.
Then, sere and dry, the gray-green sagebrush reigns.
The sun rules the summer with high-heat light.
Clouds formed in layers and lenses and streaks
float lazily up over mountains’ height,
drawing cool shadows on desert and peaks.
Tahoe and Pyramid – sapphire each lake.
Canyons are shaded, far ranges look blue.
Crystals of sand and rock blister and bake.
Small desert creatures delight in night’s dew.
Rivers are running, but currents are slow,
gentle and tame and no longer so high;
respite from springtime’s too-frantic flow.
The wind is caressing, the warm air is dry.
And nights in the summer are blazing with stars –
Deneb and Altair, Jupiter and Mars.
There is a certain quality of light
that touches north Nevada in the fall.
The aspens turn from green to golden bright;
the crickets cease their endless summer call.
The geese fly high in perfect honking vees.
Migrating birds alight on pond and lake
to rest a while midst autumn-colored trees.
From weary flight they seize a welcome break.
The mountain rims seem pasted on the skies.
The big-horned sheep are poised on rough-edged rocks.
The hibernators start to dig their lies.
The cattle gather into huddled flocks.
Then, utmost tips of peaks are dusted white –
cold harbinger of coming winter’s might.
Each jagged mountain is painted clean white,
gleaming with snowfall and diamonds of sun.
Acres of powder for skiers’ delight;
brilliant casinos when ski-ing is done.
Wild life, now hungry, come down near the town;
Beautiful creatures on backdrop of snows.
Evergreens puncture the crust and drop down
siftings of crystals that dance when wind blows.
Sometimes a blizzard and sometimes cold rains,
then skies so clear and so clean and so vast,
like lovely blue bowls curved over the plains,
while basin and range lie dormant at last.
The calm and the power of nature at rest –
winter is glorious here in the West.