Before I even recognized something called “Brain Block” I found I have a cure for it!

When, in a telephone conversation earlier this week, my son Lee asked how I was doing, I told him I was stuck on writing the copy for this semimonthly column. His comment was “I think they call that writer’s block.” My reply was “No, it is brain block!”

I explained that I had no trouble putting words to a topic. My problem was deciding on a topic! Then a magical thing happened. Two days later I decided on a topic — How our children can bring special joy to our lives.

My three children all live in the Portland area and each contributes something special to my life. What is unique is how each has determined special ways to help me without interfering too much with responsibilities at work or with their families.

Lee owns a landscaping business and every 10 days or so he invites me to ride along with him on his work-related errands. These rides provide loads of time just to talk and often include opportunities for lunch. Both of us enjoy the time together and I’m learning not only about his business but also about parts of the Portland metropolitan area that I’d never seen before.

Currently my favorite among his clients is a regional supermarket chain with existing stores and new openings throughout our area. In addition to the initial landscaping, Lee is required to assure regular maintenance with monthly inspections and reports. Thanks to that contract I’ve seen various parts of our region that I’d never seen before.

A major eye-opener came from the economic activities at the Ports of Portland and Vancouver, Wash., across the river. For the first time I saw the industrial and commercial activities on both side of the river. All the grain silos and warehouses that had previously been unknown to me. I saw streams of newly imported automobiles that lined roadways. Truck traffic was intense. Long lines of vehicles waited for a chance to cross the railroad tracks.

An old adage says “a picture is worth a thousand words.” For me seeing that shipping and warehouse activity made me recognize that port activity is a major portion of the two states’ economy. Since that day, the significance of current labor and industry disputes about loading and unloading shipments became real facts for me rather than odd news items in the Daily Journal of Commerce or the business section of Sunday newspapers.

As I write this copy for my next column, Lee called to confirm our ride together for tomorrow. For some reason he needs to drive down to Salem, and assuming the weather report is free of freezing rain, we’ll have more uninterrupted time than usual to talk. I’ll continue to learn something new, and I’ll use my new cure for Brain Blocks to write more about how our children can bring special benefit to our lives.

Stories for Positive Aging is a semi-monthly column on senior issues written by Lake Oswego author of “ Facing Age, Finding Answers”Ardis Stevenson. She can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by regular mail at 17440 Holy Names Drive, Lake Oswego, OR 97034.

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