"Do Not Discard!"

Join this bionic grandma in her battle against "the wrinkled years."

"Do Not Discard!"

The Best Laid Plans Can End Up in a Ditch

I received an email from a friend our age.


He wrote, “I had a plan for that day. I took my kitchen timer into the bathroom and set it for 35 minutes.  The time was 5:15 p.m. I wanted to be shaved and showered by 5:50 p.m. and I made that time.

“I got dressed in my best Sunday going-to-church clothes — white shirt, grey pants, red-striped tie and a blue blazer jacket. It took me 10 minutes to get a perfect Windsor knot in my tie. I even put on a new pair of shoes with leather soles.

“I was going to have a picture taken to be posted on a community Facebook news site.       

“At 6:15 p.m. I got in my car to drive to the town library where the photo was to be taken. I drove down Clancy Hill Road to the stop sign at the interstate. As I put my foot on the brake it slipped off the brake and hit the gas pedal. I went across the highway, missed five cars of oncoming traffic, took out a brick pillar marking the driveway of someone’s house across the road and ended in a drainage ditch. The air bag deployed and my car was totaled.    

“I was transported by ambulance to the hospital to be checked out.”

My friend is fine. His ego is bruised and he had a lovely shiner from the airbag. His photo-shoot was re-scheduled.

The culprit in all of this is his new shoes with leather soles. And my message is “check your pedals” 

By the time you get to be our age many of us don’t lease new cars every couple of years. We pay off the lease and purchase the car outright. Who wants to continue paying a monthly auto bill for the rest of our lives?  Our current car is often the one we had when we retired or became unemployed. I’m still driving the 2001 VW Beetle I bought after divorcing husband number two. How I hated his big pretentious Cadillac cars. Gaining my freedom I wanted small and cute — but that’s another story.

The point is many of us have been driving the same car for years without checking the rubber coverings on the clutch, brake and gas pedals. They too grow bald and wrinkled with age. Put on new leather-soled shoes, go out for a drive and you’re flirting with disaster.

You can purchase new non-slip pedal covers for a few bucks. They come in colors. Some are classy and chrome-trimmed. You can find them in an auto-parts store, a Walmart or look online.

We may know all the tricks of the road from decades of driving, have taken the AARP driving course and never received a ticket in our entire life. But ignored worn pedals and leather-soled shoes can be the reason you end up in a ditch instead of making it to your planned destination.  And a bill from that ride to the hospital in an ambulance is one you don’t want in your mailbox.  Be vigilant and preemptive.

(Have you got a story of a close call?  I’d love to hear it and possibly share it with your permission. Email me at AuthorDo-Not-Discard@charter.net.)