By Deborah Sherwood

What a lovely, peaceful afternoon. The Christmas tree and decorations are packed away, the gingerbread men cookie crumbs rest inside the vacuum cleaner bag, and according to the actuarial life table, odds are I’ll make it through another year.

Deborah Sherwood; Courtesy of Author

The pandemic prohibited me from hosting my annual New Years’ Day brunch for the Red Hat Society ladies, but that’s no excuse to let a few bottles of champagne continue to take up valuable space in the refrigerator vegetable bin. Besides, someday I may like to use the bin for actual vegetables.

I pour sixteen ounces of chilled, sparkling little bubbles into a large red plastic Solo cup, then lazily stretch out in my recliner. With optimistic enthusiasm, I take out a large, yellow legal pad, ready to catalog my resolutions for the brand new year.

Dusting off a pile of lofty intentions from previous years to use as inspiration, I notice they all include the same three goals: lose weight, eat healthier, exercise. Okay, that hasn’t worked out; obviously I need to change tactics and be more realistic. Perhaps, instead of listing what I intend to accomplish, a better objective may be to assess my mistakes and try not to repeat them.

The first item I want to change in my list of historic blunders is to stop trusting auto-correct. I learned this lesson after hitting the SEND button and finding sentences such as “I would like to chat” changed to “I would like to cheat”; or “I’m unavailable to participate” to “I’m available to participate”; and “We enjoyed a delicious polenta casserole” to “We enjoyed a delicious tadpole casserole.”

Another boo-boo I would like to remedy is being more discriminating about the men I go out with. Not long ago, I was enjoying coffee at a sidewalk café with a NASA physicist who specialized in space weather. I felt chilly and draped my pashmina scarf around my shoulders. He leaned across the table and bellowed, “You’re cold? Do you know what the temperature is right now on the moon?” I assumed it was unlikely I would see him again when he asked if I knew where he could meet women.

Then, there was the charmer who invited me to his mountain cabin in nearby West Virginia. The four foot high chiseled granite marker in the front yard inscribed “Martha Ann: Beloved Wife, Mother and Grandmother” was a bit disturbing, as well as his immense arsenal of semi-automatic weapons. But I really felt like I was in a horror movie when he warned me to watch out for rattlesnakes.

Resolving not to repeat past errors is a challenge. Hopefully, I will be more cautious and use commonsense  judgment prior to embarking on a potentially unpleasant adventure. Like the time I unintentionally mooned the entire Baptist congregation on Easter Sunday. But I’ll save that story for another day.

Deborah Jones Sherwood happily resides at River Park in Southwest DC.

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