Jody’s Words: Thanksgiving 2022

By Jody Johnson

This year has gone so fast – last January when we were still masked and getting over being locked down it seemed like the year would never end – but here we are thinking turkey and cranberries! Speaking of which – did you know the turkey got its name from Turkey – due to confusion about what to call guinea fowl imported from North Africa to Turkey – the little bird ended up just being called Turkey.

Most of us like cranberry sauce with our Turkey dinner – but the Indigenous Americans used cranberries for healing wounds and fabric dye. Besides Black Friday being the busiest day after Thanksgiving for shopping it is also the busiest day for plumbers! Does your family fight over who gets the wishbone – well the Ancient Etruscans dried the wishbone in the sun and kept it for a good luck charm. Speaking of good luck charms – Calvin Coolidge was given a live raccoon for Thanksgiving – to be eaten – but he and his wife adopted the raccoon instead and kept her – named Rebecca – as a pet in the White House – not exactly a good luck charm, but a loyal pet indeed. We hope you have a thankful Thanksgiving!!


News, Tips

Native Plant Growers – Planting Wild Violets Helps the Fritillary Butterfly

by Robin Wolf

Native Plant Growers
Tuesdays, weekly from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.
Meet at the garden with green fence & flags near the Community Center at the entry to the small parking lot.
No Drop-in fee.

The Seniors Club has a Native Plant Growers drop-in group. We are creating a habitat for butterflies, including the beautiful orange and black Fritillary. The Native Wildflower Garden is near the Civic Park Community Center.

California native violets are the only plant on which most Fritillary butterflies lay their eggs. In the fall, the female Fritillary deposits her eggs at the base of California native violets. The eggs spend the winter there in a sort of insect hibernation called dispause. When spring comes, caterpillars hatch and begin munching violet leaves. Like Monarch caterpillars who only eat milkweed, native Fritillary caterpillars only eat native violet leaves. Wild violets used to cover many parts of Contra Costa County. But these violets are disappearing along with California’s Fritillary butterflies.

Wild Violets are a beautiful, low-growing, sturdy perennial plant that is easy to grow. It makes a good ground cover or border for taller plants. Here are two native violets that our Native Plant Growers are putting into the Civic Park garden. They might interest you for your garden.

Dog Violet, Viola adunca, (also called Hookedspur Violet) is a perennial with blue, purple or white flowers in the spring and summer. This drought tolerant ground cover grows about 1 foot high, and spreads. It likes part shade but can take some sun.
Evergreen Violet, Viola sempervirens, (also called Redwood Violet) is a low growing perennial, 6 inches tall that spreads. It blooms with yellow or purple flowers in winter and spring. This violet likes full shade or part shade and is drought tolerant.

Planting California native violets will help increase the population of Fritillary butterflies.

Activities, News

Pétanque Has Closed Down


by Sharon Doherty, Leader of Pétanque

Pétanque has been cancelled because of low attendance. Pétanque was held on every 2nd and 4th Tuesday from 10:30 to 12:30. Our membership has been very low, and it seems the time doesn’t work for many of our old timers. Perhaps another year we can try again. It was lots of fun and making new friends along the way has been just great.

Activities, News

Medicare & Health Plans


November 3, 2022 at 2 pm


What’s happening with your Medicare prescription drug or Advantage plan for the coming year? Medicare Open Enrollment occurs from mid-October through the beginning of December. Every year plans change their covered drugs, copayments, physician networks and more. Even if you like your current plan, it may no longer be best for you in 2023. In addition, your health care needs may have changed. Attend this “Medicare Changes for 2023 in Contra Costa County” presentation. You’ll get an overview of the 2023 changes affecting Medicare Prescription and Advantage Plans in Contra Costa County. You’ll learn about your coverage options and receive instructions on how to access helpful Medicare open enrollment material. 

Civic Park Senior Center

Register online here      or by calling (925) 295-1490


Title IX: Women in Senior Sports

by Donn King

I would like to offer a prediction: it is my belief that within 10 to 15 years, the Creakers population will be at least 50% female. Women are in ascendency in every field of endeavor, and thanks to Title IX, none more than in women’s athletics. Title IX prohibited sex-based restriction to educational programs or institutions which received federal money. It was more a you-can’t-do, as opposed to a what-you-have-to-do, kind of bill. Title IX was written by Senator Birch Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, in 1972 and passed into law in 1973.

Here is the entire text: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

The bill was not explicitly about women’s athletics, but suddenly, women’s sports in schools were required to receive the same funding emphasis as men’s. If your institution wanted to continue to receive federal money, you had to offer equal opportunity to women, and that included athletics. Of course, there was a lag time, and inconsistent enforcement, and it took a while to take hold in schools all over the country, but eventually it did, and it changed the athletic landscape in the US for women, for all time.

Most of the current Creaker population grew up way before Title IX. Most of us are children of an era when boys played sports and women cooked and kept house. Consequently, our current aging sports environment is dominated by men. By the way, God bless us. Men have made lots of mistakes, but we’ve tried our best, and we’ve had a good run. But what will happen when the post Title IX generation wives and mothers who are retiring, their children out of the house, remember how good it felt to hit the ball hard and catch a fly ball? When will they start looking around for a senior softball league?

Spoiler alert: Women don’t throw like girls anymore.

And even more softball specific: Today, there are virtually no male fast pitch, or slow pitch, softball programs in high schools or college athletics. My informants who have daughters and granddaughters assure me of this. Those programs are all female. Where do we think these women will want to go to stay active now that they have some discretionary time? There are also arguments that boys spend more time indoors these days, on video games screen time, and less time on the playing fields. That may amount to less demand coming from senior males in the future.

Currently there are already several women in the Creakers. I predict that in the near future there will be a steady stream of women coming into the Creaker Nation. If you think it seems that all the accountants and physicians, lawyers, judges, and politicians are all female these days, just look around and see who is playing next to you at shortstop and behind you in left center. Can she hit a line drive on the grass, or stretch a single into a double? I bet she can; can you?


Let’s Sing Will Start Performing Again


Let’s Sing stopped performing at assisted living places during the shutdown. Now after more than two years, the group will resuming performing to brighten the day of residents. Let’s Sing participants are enjoying practicing on the shady front patio of the Civic Park Community Center in September. The group meets on the 2nd & 4th Thursday of the month at 1 pm.

For more information email or just drop in. A free lyrics book is available.



Advisory Board Meeting, March 21, 2022

Walnut Creek Seniors Club
Advisory Board Meeting
August 15, 2022

Present:  Fred Rentschler, Jody Johnson, Jeanne Wolf, Rolando Salazar, Robin Wolf, Richard Sanders, Donn King, Wayne Slater, Bob Mohler. Art Oller PROS.  Jane West, guest.

Call to order on Zoom at 9:33 am by Fred Rentschler

Minutes – no corrections

Treasurer’s Report – Rich reports that unrestricted checking was $57,229 on 7-31-22, down $226 from June.  Creaker restricted checking is $15,255, up $100.  For the month of July WCSC has a net operating loss of $138 compared to net income of $1856 in June.  The largest revenue was another Google grant of $3912 which is a pass through to Special Summer Camp.  In August $4061.40 was collected for April-June fees collected by the City related to WCSC programs. Further information on this will be available in the next report.  Two CD’s are coming due in September and October.

Correspondence – none

Manager/Coordinator Update – Kat out of town

Presidents Report – see below

*Presentation to the Board by Jane West regarding the Perennials Garden Club.  Jane summarized what has been accomplished so far since this new club began.  It met on Zoom at first after it began in August 2020.  Jane was requesting $500 for program speakers.  She is able to get some at no charge but some require a fee.  Non-profits often ask for donations.  After discussion, the Board agreed to provide $500 for the 2023 programs.

Unfinished Business

Newsletter – Fred will take over the newsletter as Robin has developed carpel tunnel and can no longer do it.  She is available to help Fred out.  Many thanks to Robin!

2022 WCSC Audit – this will be moved to September

2023 Elections – we need candidates for the November newsletter.  Fred will pursue.

Changing Banks – Due to the lack of cooperation from our current bank, we need a new bank.  Wells Fargo was suggested. Wayne moved that we contact Wells Fargo about an account.  Jody seconded the motion and it carried 7-0.

New Business

Perennial Garden Club – * see above

AED Batteries – the Creakers have 4 AEDs that were donated by an ambulance company.  The batteries are at the end of their useful life and need to be replaced for a cost of about $800.  Donn has been looking into replacement batteries.  After discussion, the sense of the group was that new AED units should be purchased.  A motion was made by Wayne with a second by Rich.  WCSC should pay 100% of the cost for new AEDs.  5 yes, 1 abstention. Motion passed.

Jeanne leaves meeting.  Robin continues taking the minutes.

Creakers will ask the City for shade cover for the dugout.  Fred will talk to City officials.  Art said the City has a shade plan and Fred will ask for a new shade plan to include dugouts.

Dues for 2023 – Rich made a motion to increase dues to $20 for 2023. Second by Donn. Passed unanimously.

Meeting adjourned 11:21 am.

Respectfully submitted,

Jeanne Wolf and Robin Wolf

Jeanne Wolf



Creaker Softball: AED 101

by Donn King

Question: What is the most useful and valuable appliance that you could ever possess, and hope that you never need to use? Answer: an AED, or Automatic External Defibrillator. AEDs are employed when a person is having a heart attack. Their heart is in “fibrillation,” an uncoordinated, dysrhythmic, ineffectual state. The heart is fluttering or has stopped altogether and needs to be shocked back into a regular rhythm. If this can be accomplished in a timely fashion, the person has a much better chance of survival. That is where an AED can come in mighty handy.

The beauty of AEDs is they are truly automatic. The machine is designed to not let you make a mistake. It is capable of assessing the person’s cardiac status, making the correct decision about whether or not to deliver a shock, and then and only then, delivering a shock to attempt to correct the problem.

Creakers have access to four AEDs in Walnut Creek. Three are at Heather Farm: HF1, HF 3-4, and HF5. There is an AED at Rudgear Park. ADs are easy to use but people are understandably afraid of using them. If you see a downed person on a playing field, or anywhere else for that matter, the first things to do are, call 911, start CPR, send someone to get the AED, and push the button to start the AED once you have it. When you turn on the AED it will tell you what to do:

*Open the person’s clothing to expose bare skin on their chest.
*Peal off the protective backing on the sticky “paddles.” and place them on the chest where the machine tells you to place them.
*Stand clear of the downed person and allow the AED to read the person’s cardiac
*If a shock is warranted, the machine will deliver the shock. If not, the machine will give you further directions, e.g. continue CPR.

By the way, in recent years CPR has been simplified: in the field, lay persons are no longer expected to give mouth to mouth breathing. Giving 30 chest compressions per minute is considered most important.

Here is the amazing truth, and I hesitate to verbalize it: in ten years, which is how long the Creakers have owned our AEDs, there has not been one incident of a Creaker going down in the playing field; we have never had to employ an AED. Knock on wood, throw salt over your left shoulder, and spit on the ground. On one hand, you might think that a bunch of over-exerting senior citizens would be a population rife with cardiac events. On the other, athletes of whatever age, especially seniors, self select into a low risk group. We intend to keep moving as long as we can.

News, Tips

Native Plant Growers – Swallowtail Butterflies Are Returning to Civic Park



Swallowtail Butterflies Are Returning to Civic Park

by Robin Wolf

The next time you come to the Civic Park Community Center, you might want to look for Swallowtail butterflies along the creek. These large yellow and black butterflies began returning to the creek bank after habitat restoration got under way. The WC Watershed Council has removed invasive ivy over a 200 foot stretch of the creek bank and replaced it with native fescue grass. As a result, Swallowtail butterflies are retuning to the creek area.

Swallowtail butterflies like to lay their eggs on the leaves of the valley oaks and coast live oaks that line the creek. Caterpillars hatch and eat those leaves. Then when full-grown, the caterpillars drop to the ground to make a chrysalis from which a butterfly will emerge. If the caterpillar drops into ivy, the chrysalis and emerging butterfly will probably be lost. The butterfly may emerge too deep in the ivy to be able to climb out without damaging her delicate wings. Butterflies only lay their eggs on native plants and ivy is not native. Thus, she will not be able to lay her eggs on ivy to create the next generation. However, when the native plant habitat is restored, the caterpillars drop into native grasses and can finish their life cycle.

If you take your grandchildren to Civic Park and happen to see a swallowtail, please ask them not to chase or touch the butterflies.


Advisory Board Meeting, March 21, 2022

Walnut Creek Seniors Club
Advisory Board Meeting
March 21, 2022

Present:  Fred Rentschler, Jody Johnson, Jeanne Wolf, Rolando Salazar, Kent Clancy, Wayne Slater, Bob Mohler, Robin Wolf, Richard Sanders, Donn King and Preston Jones and Kat Reisinger, staff.

Call to order on Zoom at 9:32 am by President Fred Rentschler.

Approval of Minutes of February 21, 2022 – approved.

Correspondence – there has been an indication from Carol Varian (sp?) of interest in leading the Bazaar Group but Fred has been unable to contact her. Her phone number doesn’t work.

Treasurer’s Report – Donn reports unrestricted checking is $55,069 as of 2/28/22 which is down from January. Creaker restricted checking increased $110 to $30,833 from January.  Looking at the comparative income statement, membership dues was the largest revenue at $1798 and field fees were the largest expense.  Twenty four checks were issued in February for a total of $1747. Money collected by the City (for drop in fees and dues) comes in quarterly so it will be received in April.  At the end of February there were 822 members.

**Managers Report – later. Waiting on Kat

President’s Report – will be covered elsewhere

Unfinished Business –

Newsletter – Robin continues to do an outstanding job.  The April newsletter is mostly ready.  Robin asked Bob to continue with his Trivia articles.  This newsletter will include a video.

Parking regulations – According to Fred’s discussion with Kat, they are not going to change. Still issued for 3 hour classes.  The Board members can get a pass.  More later from Kat.

In Person Classes – they attendance remains a bit low.  Possibly because of mask regulations among other things.  Wayne reported that the Investment Club has about 20 people including new members.  Mah Jong was down to 16, Bingo 24, Garden about 12 per Fred. Hoping as things open up the attendance will increase.

**Managers Report – Kat stated that the City no longer requires masks or proof of vaccine except for the bus travel.  She is getting ready for the spring programs. She is working on the presentation next month for the transportation grant which has been popular.  Regarding parking, she states that the permits are for between 10 am – 2 pm in the back lot where they are required, they can be in the front lot and library for longer than 3 hrs. To get a parking pass you must attend events at least twice a month.  Kat also stated that a membership card is not required to attend a class.  The drop in fee is $2 for members and $5 for non-members.  Robin reminded everyone that currently the membership card gets you two coffees for the price of one at the Library Café.

New Business

Creaker tractor -The Creakers have done their due diligence and found a tractor for $14,681.25.  Payment for the tractor will come from the Creakers restricted fund of $30,833.  The funds are mostly from donations to the Creakers.  They believe they need Board approval.  Bob made a motion to approve $14,681.25 for the purchase of the tractor.  Jody seconded the motion. The motion carried.

Zoom – Fred will be gone May and June.  Wayne will chair the Board meetings.

Not on agenda:

Kat – there have been staff changes and boxes need to be removed from the travel office.  Fred will deal with them.  Bob noted that the WCSC records must be kept for 5 years per the IRS.

Kat also noted that the Café is moving to the Assembly Hall and will need the cupboards there. Fred has worked on cleaning them out and the Board agreed to donate the items except for what is to be moved to WCSC storage closets.

Ambassador Reports – Rolando reported that the Walking Buddies have had about 20-25 people each Tuesday.  The Thursday hike is once a month.

Fred reported that the Tennis Club membership dues have been turned into the City.

Creakers – Donn reported that the season has started and will go through September. There are 220 participants.

Trivia – Bob reported that there seemed to have been a 3-4 person increase perhaps due to the article in the newsletter.

**Not on agenda

Wayne noted that a couple of CDs are coming due at the bank.  After discussion it was agreed that as rates seem to be going up the renewals should be for 6 months.

PROS – no meeting

Meeting was adjourned at 10:16 am.

Respectfully submitted,

Jeanne Wolf