A Dose of Happy

This morning, I opened the door of my refrigerator, slid open the crisper drawer, and peered at the fruit lying there.  I have a bad habit of buying healthy food (with the best of intentions, of course) placing them in that bottom bin, and then, forgetting all about them until one day, I remember and ah-hah!!!! it is too late!  The once lovely fruit is now shriveling inside its own skin and maybe wearing a little fuzzy mold cap to keep it warm.  Well, I got lucky on this day!  There, still in the plastic bag from the grocery, were two beautifully ripe mangoes.  What a sight!  After battling the flu for a week, my body is craving some vitamins and I was so happy to see the forgotten mangoes.

I got out my favorite knife; one given to me years ago by a wonderful friend; and my large cutting board. ¬†I peeled it first, knowing that this is not the correct way but is still the way I like. ¬†Then, I proceeded to try and cut its flesh into bite size chunks. ¬†Each insertion of the knife made my mango’s juice spill, overflowing the cutting board’s large surface. ¬†What a waste!!!,¬†I thought. ¬†I ate the two slices that I had managed to cut off. ¬†The taste was pure joy: like sunshine, beaches, and ocean waves packed in its golden fibers.

I migrated over to the kitchen sink with my remaining treasure, leaned over the sink with the skinless mango dripping its nectar from my hands, and proceeded to feast.  By the time I had gotten as much of the fruit from its core as possible, my face and hands were sticky and wet.  I felt like such a child and I loved every minute of it.  It transformed me to my childhood backyard…to the small peach trees that grew between the fence and the swing set our father had made for us to play on.

My sister, my brother, and I spent many summer hours swinging back and forth with a peach in our hands; sneaking bites and letting the juices run down our chins, staining our clothes. ¬†If there were bug holes, I simply bit out the bad spot and spit it out on the ground. ¬†And, after I had taken my last bite, I sucked on the pit until it was completely clean. ¬†I enjoyed it’s rough texture on my tongue until the roof of my mouth got raw. ¬†Then, I spit out the seed and greedily went for another.

Peaches are like an edible memory for me, still, but only if they are allowed to ripen on their mother tree; the sun beating down on them until they are fully flushed like the face of a young girl after her first kiss.  Their flesh is soft and fuzzy and their meat is juicy, giving itself freely to lips, teeth, and tongue.  It only feels right to eat a fresh, ripe peach outdoors where you can make as much of a mess as you like; you can feel the sun on bare arms; and you can hear the buzz of bees swarming their sweetness.

That is what my mango gave to me, today.  It gave me a peach of a memory, literally.  It made me think of my childhood, my brother, my sister, my daddy, my momma…happy times.  Maybe that is what my flu-ridden body needed instead of the vitamins:  a dose of happy.

I have many friends who are dealing with illnesses much worse than the flu, today.  It is my prayer that you will find something today to lift you up.  When our bodies are weakened, if forces us to be a little stiller…and maybe, in that stillness you will find what God wants you to see.  I pray for your comfort and that you may know how much you are loved.

Aunt Ruby’s List for a Long Life

Aunt Ruby at her 99th Birthday Party

Aunt Ruby was my great-aunt; my maternal grandmother’s sister. ¬†She grew up in the community of Wagner, Texas; a farmer’s daughter. ¬†She and my grandmother, Lois married cousins so that even in marriage, they shared the same last name, Thomason. ¬†The two sisters had their differences, though. ¬†Ruby went on to further her education, moved to the big city of Dallas, and worked outside of the home. ¬†My grandmother continued on in the small farming community she was raised in, living right across the road from her childhood home, and there, she raised her two children.

If I was to try to describe Aunt Ruby, I would use the adjective “spunky”. ¬†Even as she progressed in years, she continued to work at Payne’s Grocery in Caddo Mills, Texas. ¬†She walked to work every day. ¬†If a train stopped on the tracks between her house and the store, she simply crawled under it and kept on towards her job as checker. ¬†Every one loved her and called her, “Momma Tom”: ¬†short for Momma Thomason. ¬†She made it her goal to live a productive life. ¬†Her sister, her parents, and even her husband preceded her passing from this life but she strove to make it to her 100th year marker. ¬†She almost made it. ¬†I was honored to attend her 99th Birthday Celebration. ¬†Ruby glowed with all of the attention showered her way. ¬†She was presented with a large box full of cards and well wishes and she wanted to read them all, right then. ¬†They placed a crown on her head and she was so pretty to me‚Ķlike a child.

I wish she had¬†made it to her 100th, but it was not to be. ¬†Her 99th was her last celebration and I’m glad that her children kept it well.

In her later years, Ruby was asked to make a list, kind of a recipe, of what she felt had let her have such a good, long life.  I am pleased to be able to present you with her list.

RUBY’S LIST FOR A LONG, HEALTHY LIFE

  1. Get up every morning about 6:30 am.
  2. Repeat the 23rd Psalm.
  3. Read the Bible.
  4. Pray.
  5. Attend church regularly.
  6. Devote your life to God.
  7. Exercise.
  8. Don’t smoke or drink.
  9. Think of ways to make life more enjoyable for others.
  10. Stay active…Senior Citizens: working in the yard, cleaning the church, visiting the elderly.
  11. Have a devoted family like mine…love them like I do!
  12. Have at least four kids.
  13. Take vitamins.
  14. Eat three regular meals a day.
  15. Drink 1 cup of coffee a day.
  16. Drink plenty of milk and water.
  17. Drink a moderate amount of tea.
  18. Don’t drink carbonated drinks.
  19. Have lots of hobbies…collecting neat stuff.
  20. Have a cat that loves you…like Kathy.

Love, Ruby Thomason

July 2007

Well, it’s too late for me to have a fourth kid, but maybe I can do most of the rest. I especially enjoy tip #10‚Ķvisiting the elderly. ¬†That just shows you how young Aunt Ruby was in her heart. ¬†I don’t think she ever considered herself to be in that category. ¬†Maybe, there¬†lies her secret.

Aunt Ruby, top right, pictured with her sister, Lois, their parents, her son, Bobby, and my mother, Theta