Monday, January 12, 2009

A Ruby Plus a Peppermint = a Gem

Matthew 13:45-46 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."

I have recently begun to be more active on my Facebook account, and in so doing have started “reconnecting” with some old friends and acquaintances. Waxing nostalgic is sure to lead to two conclusions: 1. Those were the “good old days.” 2. I’m getting old and I can’t stop the clock.

Growing old seems unfair in the grand scheme of it all. My buddy Barry and I were talking yesterday about the irony of having the energy of thoroughbreds and the brains of a brick when we’re young, but as we age and mature, our metabolism plummets like said brick thrown out of an airplane. Oh the gravity of it all. What a waste.

When we actually have the brains to make a difference, it seems our bodies relegate us to “supervision” as we try to convince the youngsters they don’t have a clue and should really listen to our instruction – you know – like we listened to our parents. Snort – cough. The only revenge is the “I told you so” and the threat of spending their inheritance, which in our case includes a box full of expired Sonic coupons and some old clothes the Goodwill wouldn’t take.

This past Christmas I had an opportunity to visit with some relatives I hadn’t seen in a while. My cousin’s widow Renay was there and she entertained us with a couple of stories about her mom “Ruby” who is 84. Allow me to share a couple of those priceless stories with you.

Recently Ruby needed to update her photo-I.D. so they took here down to the DMV to have her picture made and her profile updated. When it was finally her turn, the clerk asked Ruby if she was ready to which Ruby responded with a “flip-of-the-bird” and a hearty “yes!”

Holding middle-finger in place she sported a smile that everyone but the clerk appreciated. She apparently found the only clerk in existence that showed restraint. That is a pic that I would have taken immediately – just before the “do-over.” This has apparently become Ruby’s modus operandi as seen in this pic below of her and her great grandson.

Ruby’s other “new thing” is her ever-increasing fondness for peppermints. This has become such an issue for her that Renay and family have had to start rationing these little gems out to her. She has apparently begun hiding them from others to ensure the integrity of her stash and an uninterrupted supply.

On a recent trip to Carrabbas Restaurant, Ruby spotted the giant bowl of peppermints at the hostess stand as they entered. The plotting immediately went into motion on both teams. Ruby began to wonder how she could score some of those mints while Renay began to worry about the obsession.

As mealtime came to a close Ruby told Renay to make sure she got her some peppermints. Renay took the bill up front and asked the hostess to hide the bowl of peppermints so her mom wouldn’t see them on the way out. After she paid the bill, she brought back 3 (count ‘em 3 and only 3) peppermints for Ruby.

Ruby was having none of that so time to implement Plan B – The Frontal Assault. As they headed for the exit, Ruby executed the veer offense and headed straight for the hostess podium as fast as the walker would crutch along. With every step closer you could hear the scoot and plop grow faster until the scoot-plop scoot-plop rapid-fired into scooplop-scooplop.

Finally reaching the stand she, with the forcefulness that would have made Bonnie and Clyde cringe, demand the booty! “Give me the peppermints!” she ordered. With the deer-in-the-headlights look of a deer-in-the-headlights, the hostess responded with, “Um…we’re all out.”

Shoving her walker into the podium as a hockey player checking another into the boards, and raising her voice to the proper decibel level in which to gather enough uncomfortable attention from the other patrons, Ruby replied “The hell you are! I saw a whole bowl of them when I walked in! Now give me the damn peppermints!”

Hesitantly reaching beneath the podium, the hostess retrieves the bowl and hands it to Ruby, no doubt assuming Ruby would take a handful and be on her way. Ruby takes the bowl and empties the entire contents into her purse. Success!

While these anecdotes are funny there are many principles one could glean from them, one of which is to never underestimate the savvy ways of a grizzled veteran. What we lack in energy we make up for with shrewdness and/or determination. An old KLIF sports analyst Leon Simon used to say “‘want-to’ beats ‘can-do’ every time.”

Obviously there are things in our lives that seem insignificant to others that we find worth the fight. The challenge is determining whether or not they give us a real benefit or is it something that is truly a problem for us that we should eliminate or limit in our lives. So what is your peppermint? Is it fault or a gem?


1 comment:

Barry Garrett said...

Ha! I think Ruby is a gem.