Once you get past two facts--that this is not a celebrity book, and that, at first, the writer's voice, while firm, strikes you as that of a lecturing old granny's--some surprisingly readable words of wisdom come from the 87-year-old former queen of stage and screen. Hayes' little essays cover about 30 subjects including alcoholism and drunk driving (""I soon became by mother's mother and she the child""), nutrition, travel and limousines, women, grandparenting (""The very old, they are miracles like the just-born: close to the end is precious; like close to the beginning""--Hayes' quote from Herb Gardner's I'm Not Rappaport), mental stress, the scripts we agree to live by in daily life, how to allay anger (one of the few essays that lapse into triumphant truisms), and a knockout piece extolling olive oil as an aid to longevity, digestion, and fat-fighting ("". . .the mortality rate in Greece and Crete is among the lowest. It's one of the areas where olive oil consumption is highest. Among men in Corfu, 20 or less per thousand die of heart disease."" Of course, the mortality rate in Crete, as everywhere, is 100 percent--but we get her point.) She is also four-square for exercise, abreast of medical research in several fields, gives us her thoughts on very old age, widowhood, education and reading. Not very gingery, but with a built-in readership.