Dear Readers:

I just came across an article in the November issue of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter. It said studies indicate that people who enjoy "social support" -- good relationships with family, friends and partners -- tend to live longer, healthier lives. Here are some suggested tips for meeting new people:

1. Be a "joiner." Join a community organization, a special-interest group or a book club. Scan community calendars and senior center listings for ideas. Create your own group.

2. Travel. Contact a travel agent about special tours for older people or singles.

3. Be a good sport. Attend local spectator events. Meet fellow golfers on the driving range. Take classes in a new sport, or join an exercise class.

4. Get a pet. Pets are attention-grabbers. Take advantage of their magnetic personalities by making conversation with people who stop and talk.

5. Study up. Take a class in finance, gardening, computers or cooking. Finish your degree, or earn another one. Check community colleges for adult-education classes.

6. Share your knowledge or talent. Teach what you know -- financial planning, cooking, sewing, music, and so on.

7. Volunteer. Read with elementary students. Visit a homebound neighbor. Work at a local shelter, food bank or meals program. Be a mentor to a youngster or colleague.

8. Be neighborly. Invite a neighbor over for dinner. Start a friendship by asking a favor.

9. Attend worship services. Studies show that older people who attend religious services live longer than those who don't attend services.

Dear Readers:

This news story, which appeared in the Toledo Blade, was sent to me by Tracey Elmore of Maumee, Ohio. It was written by Carl Ryan, a Blade staff writer. The many so-called authorities on marriage would do well to check in with Floyd and Millie Bucher. He is 101 years old, and she is 97. These two speak from 78 years of experience.

Floyd and Millie live in a nursing home in Springfield Township, Ohio. Floyd says the secret of a lasting marriage is, "Keep your mouth closed when you get angry." Millie says her best advice is, "Keep your secrets. Don't let people know all your business. Then, they can't cause so much trouble."

Floyd met Millie in Toledo's Walbridge Park, and they married in 1921. Even though they had no money, Floyd said those days were great. He and Millie would play cards after supper, and the loser would have to do the dishes. Their financial circumstances improved when Floyd, who only had a sixth-grade education, founded his own construction company in 1945. His grandsons run the company today.

Before starting his company, Floyd was a homebuilder, and earned enough money to enable his wife to quit her job at a paper box company when their three children began arriving. Their daughter, Jane, said her father's lack of education never kept him from being a quick study when he wanted to get something done. "He could learn to build a stairway by reading a book," she said.

When Millie's health began to deteriorate, Floyd took care of her for seven years, until the duties became more than he could handle. She moved into the nursing home in May. He followed a month later. They live in different parts of the home, because Millie needs 24-hour care, but they visit each other every day. Floyd says, "The Lord has been very good to us. Life is grand."

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