Donna and Ann’s Excellent Adventure: Lions, Hippos, and Elephants, Oh My!

Ann Sofia
Donna McGrew

Escapades and adventures aren’t only the province of the young. While OLLI Connects readers are reveling in the reminiscences of our “salad days,” some of you continue to forge ahead and create new memories of extraordinary experiences. Whether it be snorkeling in Indonesia, journeying around North Africa, touring Southeast Asia, traipsing across France for weeks on end or taking a six month residence in New York City, our OLLI friends are no strangers to living on the edge. Today’s edition summarizes a recent African safari undertaken by Ann Sofia and Donna McGrew. Ann guides us through a daily journal of events describing this once-in-a-lifetime trek to several African safari parks in Southeast Africa and other adventures in Cape Town and Victoria Falls. Donna provides powerful photos of their encounters with the wildlife and the landscape. So take a walk on the wild side and remember, you are as young as you feel! — Editors

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Staring Into the Abyss of American Democracy

Don Menzel

Politics and Artificial Intelligence seem to constitute 90% of the news we consume this year.  Perhaps rightfully so. Both seem to have the power to drastically change the world as we know it. Whether that power is a threat or a promise is still very much up in the air.

We have nothing for you on Artificial Intelligence this week, but Don Menzel has shared another thought-provoking article on politics in America.

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Business Tycoons and Doctors

Robert Strozier
Bharat Pathakgee

Photo of Pathway Surrounded By Fir TreesOur invitation for tales of youthful indiscretions has brought in not only accounts of adolescent alligator wrestling (Kidding!) but also the often blundering, convoluted path to final career choices that so many of us went through. We have two of these for you today, one by Bob Strozier and one by Bharat Pathakgee. Knowing them now, it’s obvious to us that Bob was destined to be a writer and editor and that Bharat was always meant to be a cardiologist. But when they were in their late teens, their eventual career paths were, well, murky at best. 

Bob’s tale begins in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; Bharat’s begins in India. 

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Boyhood Tales

Bruce Zimmerman
Doug Guido

We are thrilled to have received so many excellent responses to our request for stories about youthful indiscretions. Over the next months your contributions will enable us to print a rolling series of memoirs sure to entertain and bring a smile. And if you are still thinking about submitting something, please turn that thought into action. We can never get enough!

Before jumping into your accounts of edgy moments and risky decisions, we are bringing you two true stories of childhood from the point of view of a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old, who grew up in two different eras. Sit back and reminisce about those carefree days and the choices made and lessons learned before judgment played a role in each decision. And….these stories prove that analysis of pros and cons and decisions to act were definitely at “play” long before adolescence and adulthood. So take a moment to read through Bruce’s and Doug’s tales of boyhood adventures. — Editors

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Diane Henrikson Russell

The moment I stepped off my Southwest Airlines plane at Midway Airport, I could feel the electricity in the air. It was Wednesday, November 2, 2016. Millions of Cubs fans, including me, were holding our collective breaths as we waited for the seventh game of the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians. We were still nonplussed at finding ourselves in this sweet yet precarious position, thanks to the guiding hand of Coach Joe Maddon (who coincidentally coached the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2008 World Series). The Cubs had last won the World Series in 1908.

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Youthful Indiscretions and Inadvertent Adventures

Al Carlson & Theresa Sokol

To all appearances, you are now a mature, sensible adult whose current reaction to adventures might parallel Bilbo Baggins’ when he said, “We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.”

But you weren’t always like that. There’s a twinkle in your eye and just a hint of a sly grin that tells us that you, like Bilbo, have had adventures and have come away the better for them. And we, of course, want to hear about them.

Adventures come in all sorts, and yours don’t have to involve Orcs and dragons. There are adventures you deliberately seek out, such as

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Life Lessons from Sourdough

Jane Applegate Belzer

The pyramids weren’t built in a day, and neither was a loaf of sourdough bread. When I retired, I wanted a baking challenge and decided that I’d up my bread baking game and learn all I could about making sourdough bread. You see, I was born into a family of bakers. No professionals, just good home bakers. We lived with my grandmother, Mary, who passed away when I was seven, but until that time I was in the kitchen with her every day (“underfoot,” as my mother would say). I watched her every move as she rolled out pastry for a pie or whipped, by hand, ingredients for a cake or lovingly made her “light rolls” for Christmas dinner. Occasionally, she would allow me to lend a hand, giving me that tactile sensation of a dough that feels just right. So my passion for baking came early and naturally, and has stayed with me through the years.

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Poetic Contours

Margaret Ryan
Cath Mason
Evelyn Ann Romano

In ancient and medieval Japanese society chanted, sung or spoken language sprang from roots found in the Chinese art called kanshi or shi. Over several hundred years the foreign impact blended into Japanese language traditions and evolved into a diverse selection of poetic forms, some of which are known to modern connoisseurs of Japanese literature and culture. Today’s blog focuses on tanka (a short form similiar to haiku) and a prose-like narrative form called haibun. — Editors.

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LOL Poetry

Victoria Dym has two gifts for you in this Poetry Month Special Edition of OLLI Connects: a new poem and an opportunity for an enjoyable night out.

We all know that poetry can be emotionally powerful, eliciting feelings of love, loss, despair, and wonder. We often forget that it can also be a hoot. Just ask normally-Mr.-Serious A.E. Housman.

Let’s talk about her opportunity to have some fun with poetry first.

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Subtle Observances

Kathy Winarski
Evelyn Ann Romano
Beth C. Bosserman


“Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.”

—  Lawrence Ferlinghetti



“April showers bring May flowers.” Here at OLLI Connects April is the month we celebrate poetry in all its forms. Today we feature four poems by three member poets. You will be treated to wit, reflection, and poignant reminiscence. So, grab your herbal tea, morning coffee or espresso and find a quiet place to savor the beautiful expression of these thoughts. Editors

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