If you are ever having one of those days when you think you cannot go on – stop and think of a lovely lady I will call Mrs. H.!
She survived the Great Depression. She survived World War II in Germany. She survived leaving everything behind in Germany and immigrating to the United States – legally mind you!
She survived being widowed very young with 4 children. She carried on, exercising every day until her 90s. She has definite opinions about politics, enjoying a lively debate with those who disagree with her…but never making it personal. She is of a generation that puts one figurative foot before the other, uncomplainingly; trusting in the Lord that what will be will be for the best.
Luckily for our family, my brother married Mrs. H’s daughter, and to this day she retains her sense of humor, thoughtfulness for others, and an unflagging optimism that each day can bring something special.
I remember her thoughtfulness every time I bake one of her German desserts. When my brother was dating Mrs. H.’s daughter, she used to send over the most delectable treats for our family; German pound cake and her Apple Tart were my favorites! One day I asked my brother if Mrs. H. was sending him home with desserts for us; he laughingly told me Mrs. H. had “suggested” I learn from her how to make these desserts. I quickly learned baking with Mrs. H. was definitely different than baking with my own Polish grandmother, although both knew how to throw in a “pinch”, dab in a “bit” or add just a “wee bit” of spices. You see, she baked in “foreign” measurements, and back in the 70’s, no other baker I knew did that.
Last week Mrs. H. turned 103 yrs old and is preparing to celebrate the wedding of her granddaughter. When I asked how she was doing he replied “as the saying goes, she is still buying green bananas so I guess that says it all”. Yes, it certainly does.
So, when you truly think you cannot go on, when you think life is just plain unfair, go into a grocery store and think of a 103 year old woman who is still buying green bananas. Pick some up, put them on the counter, and wait. In a few days, both your outlook and the bananas will be sweeter.
Who knows, maybe the secret to a long life depends on being optimistic. Optimistic enough to know you will still be around to enjoy ripe bananas…even at 103 years old.