Senior Citizens Openings

Sharon Gale

For the first time in my life I go to the grocery store without coupons and with a list of things I buy that aren’t brand names.

My priorities have changed as to what I buy as I have gotten older. What I look for now is a product that is easy to open.

Cooking has always been a pleasure for me. I don’t follow recipes but kind of make meals as if I were painting. I enjoy the taste, smell, and the texture of the different foods I buy. The fresh vegetables and fruits are a pleasure to buy. I take time to feel the bananas, the cucumbers, and look closely for bruises on the fruit.

The trauma in my approach to cooking are canned goods, bottle goods, and of course products in plastic bags.

For example, I buy pasta in plastic bags and expect the plastic to open as I pull on it. No, that doesn’t happen. I try again and still nothing. The water is boiling and I have to put the noodles in to cook so I take both hands and pull on each side of the plastic and still nothing happens. So, running to the silverware drawer I grab the scissors and cut the plastic just as the water boils over.

Then there are cans to open. They are the ones with a small metal tab on top of the can. Whoever invented that was clever and many products have copied that type of opening. I put my thumb on the tab and pull backward. My thumb slips and nothing happens so I try again. This time the lid on the can comes halfway off. Of course, some of it spills on the counter but so what? I try again pulling slowly and the lid comes off, the contents spill and of course I cut my thumb.

There are many paper containers holding a variety of different foods such as cream cheese. After prying the top off there is another top that is very securely fastened to the top of the container. It has a very small tab on it which you are to pull and it will come off and expose the cheese or whatever is inside. I pull on the small tab and it breaks off. It crosses my mind I wish I could see the machine that puts tops like this on so tightly. I try to stick my finger in the top but it is too tight so again I run to get the scissors.

Opening glass or plastic bottles are somewhat tricky as some open easily and some don’t. My husband and I would visit his aunt once or twice a year in Boston. Before we left we would stack cases of bottled water in her basement. She begged us always to open them part way as she would sometimes have to go to a neighbor to ask them to open her water bottle. She was rather a shy person and she said that embarrassed her. Go figure?

Then there is the process of opening bottles full of mayonnaise, catsup, salad dressing, and other necessary food products. This has become a game for me. When I buy a new product in a bottle I guess what will happen when I open it for the first time. Will it come off easily or will I have to tap it on the floor a few times to loosen it? Or, heavens will I have to be humble and ask my husband to open it? I was going to cook pork chops the other night and my family loves garlic. I had just bought a very large glass jar of garlic the day before so I get to play my game. I tried twisting the lid. Would it come off easily? No, it didn’t open with my first try. I tried again, no luck. My son-in-law saw me trying so he said he would open it, no, didn’t happen. My daughter grabbed the bottle and said she could open it, nope! My husband in an authority voice said, “I will open it!” We all began to laugh as his face turned red as he put what muscle he had to the task. After listening to a few cuss words I said I will do what I always do. I took the bottle and tapped it on the tile floor. First tap nothing so I tried again and used more force. Hooray the top came off on the floor, garlic was everywhere as well as garlic smell. With all the commotion our dog, Scruffy, came running in and started licking up the garlic. His breath will never be the same.