Seeking the truth often means understanding everyday lessons

My friend, the philosopher, is always trying to get me to look at the big picture and share more of what I have learned in my 96 years of life. “Surely,” she says, “you must have come across a few truths you could pass on to the rest of us.”

She even quoted Oprah to me. Oprah, in her monthly magazine,  includes a section called “What I Know for Sure.”

Well, I have searched for the eternal truth.  Fifty or so years ago, one of my favorite activities was the Great Books Club.  The only other readers I remember for sure are Mildred Shaw and Bill Ela.  Mildred is gone now, and Bill has moved up the hill to raise peaches, a far cry from being a district judge. I am sure, though, that we both remember a few of the things we learned in reading and discussing the philosophy of the early Greeks.

Although I don’t remember many of the details, I do know that we spent a lot of time searching for an eternal truth.

And we never found it.

I have long since boiled my philosophy down to more mundane things and have discovered that there really are some things that are always true.

Take shirts. I can wear an old shirt to lunch for a month. But just let me put on a new shirt that I especially like and it immediately becomes a target for a spot of soup or gravy.

Another truth here at the Commons involves the little paper containers that hold cream. They can be more dangerous than you think. When opening one of them it is necessary to hold your hand over it. Otherwise, part of the cream may end up on you or a dinner companion, rather than the coffee. One day a very nice man sitting across the table from me failed to do it, and I had a face full of cream.

Some things that are always true, aren’t always. Number one on the list is Colorado weather. When I was seven or so, I got my first pair of roller skates for my birthday, which is in late April. A glance out the window that morning showed a foot of snow on the sidewalk in Englewood. The next day was beautiful. I made a “rule” that day that it would snow on my birthday and then we would have spring.

Then came 2010. So much for truths.

Another truth is that food servers often come along and ask me if I would like anything else — when my mouth is full.  I wave, meaning “Wait a minute” and they think I am being friendly.  I think the solution may be to learn sign language.

When, in my sleep, I roll over a lump, it means that not only I will get the day off to a rocky start — so will my cat. That’s because I have inadvertently rolled over on top of him. He protests this indignity by letting out a mighty yowl, and huffs off to a corner in the closet where he will sulk for a while. And I, of course, will feel guilty until I get my morning cup of coffee.

A friend who likes to spend weekends in a nice RV has a truth that definitely should be enforced: You should be sure the hot water tank has been connected for a while before you step into the shower. Otherwise, turn on the water and —Yikes! — ice water.

Those of you who have cats know cats are unpredictable, but they get out of sorts if their humans are ... unpredictable. To keep them happy, don’t sit in the chair they prefer.

One absolute truth is this: Make younger friends as you age. They keep you active, both mentally and physically. They make you think about things that are going on in the world which are different from those we know about. Some of them you could do without knowing, but they are interesting.

Also, they can still drive and have cars! And most of all, they are emotionally supportive. It’s true. Make younger friends.

I will never know the ultimate truth, but I have learned a lot of day-to-day truths.

Henrietta can be reached by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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