Older folks may move a little slower than the impatient ones behind us in the check-out aisle would like, but that does not mean we have lost our intellect or ability to contribute to society.

That old lady fidgeting with pennies in her coin purse as you tap your toe saw Jimi Hendrix live at Woodstock, and the old guy having a tough time hearing the clerk while you sigh impatiently remembers the war he fought in Southeast Asia.

All of us have tales to tell and are wise with life experience and knowledge or, like that insurance company guy on TV says, “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.”

We know stuff like balling up tin foil around the ears of your TV antenna will improve the picture and putting bread bags on your kids’ feet will make it easier for them to slide into their boots.

So, we decided our good deed for 2020 is to share 10 bits of wisdom gained through years of living and the lessons we have learned along the way. All have been personally tested.

Check your firewood for aerosol cans and do not mistake them for kindling. The resulting explosion will cause temporary deafness, the possibility of flying shrapnel and your neighbors will call 911 making you look like a real dunce to the first responders.

When pulling into a tight parking place, avoid the open spot next to an unmarked police car. But, if you do, be prepared to scratch that vehicle and tarnish your otherwise unscathed driving record. Know that fixing the tiniest scratch (I could have rubbed this one out myself) cannot be settled privately. Scratching a government car requires an accident report followed by multiple calls from your insurance company and ultimately a few more dollars added to your next car insurance bill.

Do not go into labor on a full stomach (chicken paprikash) even though you are nine-months and one week pregnant and your OB-GYN told you that very morning “there is no way this baby is ready to deliver.”

Avoid running on ice unless you are on skates or have an extra six weeks to spend in a cast.

To stave off disappointment, such as “the Browns Blues,” do not believe the football flaks who promise the media that the bad old days are over because the team has a new (pick one) owner, coach, general manager or quarterback all of whom promised the bad old days are over. Believe this instead: There is crying in football.

Now a warning to the very young or extremely naïve: the above described disillusionment is fueled by misrepresentation of the facts (lies) by those who will benefit from ticket sales. This same scenario is present in politics, too.

Preventing those holiday disasters is easy. Test your little-used oven every so often throughout the year to be sure it is working, especially the week before guests arrive for the turkey dinner to which they were invited. Tip: green bean casserole, cranberry sauce and “out-of-the-turkey-stuffing” is not bad with Egg Foo Yung.

Always have someone who knows what they are doing change your tires. Trust us, singing a top-of-the-voice rendition of “I am woman hear me roar” has not been helpful in that situation, at least not from this driver’s seat. And imagine the surprise of watching your left rear wheel pass you as you are motoring along Russell Road.

On a similar subject. Never assume the brand new car you are about to buy has been supplied with a spare tire. Check the spare tire compartment to be sure. Spare tires, even those temporary emergency donut tires, no longer are standard equipment on many car manufacturers’ lists. So, there you are driving along when your vehicle suffers a flat. Because you have learned through past events that you are not a good tire changer, you call the dealership for their complimentary “road assistance.” Now imagine your embarrassment when the road assister person arrives, raises the lid to the spare tire compartment and it is vacant of the tire you thought would be there only to learn spare tires or emergency donuts are no longer supplied. The good news is you can buy a donut or a spare. Cha-ching.

Finally, for those impatient ones behind us in line in the check-out aisle. You would do well to remember old people can become cranky when you start sighing, clearing your throat and tapping your foot in your annoyance with us and our slow moving ways. If you cannot remember we are wiser than you, then try to remember that most of us have lost our inner editors and will say almost anything to you to cause you embarrassment and that some of us carry lethal weapons. We call them canes.

A veteran reporter and columnist, Barbara Christian has been covering Chagrin Falls since 1967 and is currently responsible for Chagrin Falls village events, government and school board news along with her weekly column "Window on Main Street."

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