Wise Words At The Farmers’ Market

It’s a scene familiar everywhere in America.

A group of retirees gathers every morning. They sit in the same seats. Over a single cup of coffee, they chew over all the problems of the world.

A group in Salt Lake City realized that all their wisdom, all that advice, went to waste. No one listened to them.

So one Saturday, they headed to the local farmer’s market. They hung a sign — “Old Coots Giving Advice” — pretty much as a joke.

To their amazement — and despite the disclaimer “It’s pretty bad advice,  but it’s free” — people wanted to listen.

Old Coots at a Salt Lake City farmers’ market.

Sarah Gross saw a CBS News story about the group. Suddenly, a light bulb went off over the longtime caterer’s head: There are plenty of older Westporters, with lifetimes of experience and a wealth of advice.

And we’ve got a Farmers’ Market.

Which is why this coming Thursday (September 19), a group from the Senior Center heads a few yards south on Imperial Avenue. There — under a table, tent and chairs — the writing group led by Senior Center coordinator of writing programs Jan Bassin will offer advice to anyone who wants it.

The official topic is “what we would have said to our 25-year-old selves.”

But feel free to ask about anything else, from turnips to Trump.

Just don’t call them Old Coots.

They’ve taken the name Westport’s Wise Words.


A couple of old coots at an early Westport Farmers’ Market.

FUN FACT: Robert Penn Warren rocked Sarah Gross in her crib, and Ralph Ellison held her in his arms when she was an infant in Westport. Her extended family was made up of  authors and artists and the like — and her father was a book editor and literary agent until his death a few years ago.

4 responses to “Wise Words At The Farmers’ Market

  1. We all miss the old coot on the left. I’m proud to have given some advice to my classmate Sarah Gross. I think it was decent advice.

  2. Frannie Southworth

    Great, fun idea Sarah!!! And we all need some fun and great advice. 💕

  3. born and raised here in westport..pharmacist here for 25 years plus!! I give free, thought out, and drug free advice.. I’d love to be part of this event! No One is wanting to do anything..especially for free!!..Or if they are held responsible for..they’re best advice. Our society has stopped us from being kind and advisable to others for free..for fear of being sued. it’s hurtful not to share my knowledge and experience for free.. and the many that know me..it’s always free and forthcoming..as we should all be in every trade.. a good neighbor, a kind person. with our whole community preservation as our goal. Just my thoughts.