One would think

A person would acquire

A great deal of knowledge

In seven decades of life.

Au contraire, my friends.

While I may have learned a great deal

About taking care of babies and children,

What’s good for diaper rash or colic,

Or what to put on cradle cap,

Of cooking and baking and cleaning,

Making jellies, jams, chutneys and pickles


How to properly iron a man’s shirt,

(even though almost) no one irons clothing anymore)

And how to (sometimes) remove thread or string that

Has become tangled in the vacuum cleaner*

And (sometimes) how to fix a typewriter*

How to navigate a computer and copy/paste

Or use spell check,

How to text messages to my granddaughter

Or how to balance my checkbook

And how to read a map.

There is so much more in life that I still don’t know how to do, much less understand.

I have no clue how to tape a program or

how “T Bow” works and I am still trying to understand

the mechanics of my Canon Digital camera

—luckily, I have discovered it’s a popular model

and when I was in Ohio recently,

both my brother Bill and a former classmate’s husband

had the same model camera and were able to provide assistance

—although in the final analysis, it was my sister-in-law

who actually figured out that the camera needed to be

recharged and put it on their charger.

It seems to me that, by the time I figure out a camera,

something new comes along to make my camera obsolete.

I have no clue how the television, radio, telephone (landline)

and I-phone work, only how to turn things off and on.

(I’m discovering that, the reason why something stops

Working is because it needs new batteries. Note to self;

Keep a lot of batteries on hand)

I don’t know how to quilt or sew, even though

I took sewing classes in high school and while

I have a rudimentary understanding of

How to Sew on a Button, the last time I attempted

to sew on a button, my fingers got tangled up in the thread

and I gave it up as a lost cause. So, for several decades,

a girlfriend does all my mending or sewing and I make a variety

of soups and stews for her and her husband in return.

I freeze the soups in two quart containers and when

I have half a dozen or so of the frozen bricks,

she comes by to retrieve the soups & stews and

transfers them to her freezer. It’s a barter system

that satisfies both of us.

The bottom line is, I really don’t want to learn anything else. I feel my brain is already overstuffed and cluttered with useless information and to the best of my knowledge, no one has figured out, yet, how to clean up your brain and discard the useless information in order to make space for new information.

What about fractions—how often have you used fractions

since the fifth grade? Or how about diagramming sentences?

Useless information! (with apologies to Sister Doris Marie

who taught fifth and sixth grades and believed no one should go throughout life without knowing how to diagram a sentence.

Or how about French seams? I had to learn how to make French seams

in sewing class in high school, when I was fool enough

to decide to make a pair of cute pajamas.

If I could hit a delete button for French seams,

there might be space enough in my brain to learn how to quilt. Or not.

* RE: Vacuum cleaner (back in the day, vacuum cleaners had a roller in its underbelly, which you could turn upside down and unwind string, thread or whatever else was attached to the roller

* typewriter back in the day, typewriters (before electric ones) had an inked ribbon—when the ribbon became worn, you had to remove it and put in a new ribbon.

As for ironing shirts – I’m guessing people take things that need ironing to a dry cleaners.

Sandra Lee Smith



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