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It's best to laugh off life's embarrassments

When President Gerald Ford passed away, he was remembered as a man who could laugh at himself, amongst other good qualities. I have thought about that often, and how we need to chuckle at our imperfections and move on.

Sometimes life's lessons are hard to learn; others are just tough to accept. I'm referring to embarrassing happenings; those moments that creep up out of nowhere with no warning. They seem to be waiting for a time when your guard is down, and then they strike. I still cringe when I think of some of the events that have happened in my life.

When my children were young, they often drove me to the brink on Saturday mornings. I can't seem to shrug off memories of one especially bad day. The children were being impossible, so I sent one of my boys out to the garage. Throughout repeated knocking on the door, I constantly said, "No, you can't come in." After a few sessions of this nonsense, I looked out the front window and saw a nun from our parish driving away.

"Oh, Dear God, please get me out of this one." I went in the garage and pulled my son's flattened body out from behind the refrigerator, where he was hiding, and nurtured him back to normalcy.

I'm not sure how I explained this to the sister, but my prayer seemed to have been answered and my son and I were not scarred for life.

Then there was the Sunday we forgot to turn the clocks ahead. We strutted up the aisle in St. Mary's Church in Strykersville just as father was giving the last blessing. Some of our children were small and they could slowly slide underneath the pews, but not my husband and I. We had to endure the discomfiture, face our fellow parishioners and laugh it off with them.

When we were in our middle-age years, the children insisted we get a cell phone. We fought the issue as long as we could, but finally gave in to their wishes and purchased one. But we had a lot of trouble with that phone, and I had to go back to the store several times for assistance.

The final time, the associate gave me a strange look as I set it down. "Now what?" I thought, as I looked on the counter and saw to my dismay that I had picked up the TV remote instead of the phone. I grabbed it and hightailed out to the car, knowing he was probably on the phone to one of his buddies laughing. I did not find this humorous at all.

I thought in my golden years I would be free of these humiliating circumstances; after all, we live and learn. However, that's not the case. Last spring I took a glory day for myself to shop and browse around. Coming out of the sewing center in East Aurora, I somehow fell flat on my face.

"Just give me a minute to get a grip," I thought to myself, but I couldn't get up. Finally a friendly face came out from the bank next door and the woman called for help. The police report said that I was wandering around in the store. But officer, that is exactly what I had planned on doing. As the ambulance appeared, I said to myself, "Oh, no, not again!"

When your face hits the concrete and your broken glasses rest beside you, you surely see things in a different view. There is a time in life when a stranger's face is welcome. I now tread very cautiously, not knowing when or where the next encounter will be. I only hope I can laugh it off, although I have learned that it is often easier said than done.

Mary Ann Metzger, who lives in South Wales, tries to roll with the punches.

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