My grandmother always told me, “Betty, life can be explained with one simple object: prunes.” Granted, she also ate wild mushrooms from the front lawn, but I have taken her words to heart. Every morning, I rise with the troupe of wild squirrels by our front window, and splurge on a handful of prunes (so what if I have diabetes, what’s wrong with living a little?).Life really is just like a prune. Sure, it may look decrepit, sour and shriveled, but it is in life’s overlapping layers and wrinkles where the truth lies. Nature’s tart purple gem invigorates my day and cleanses my periodically-checked colon.
I want to pass some wisdom on to you, before my 3:15 nap, and before you graduate and step into the world.
As our lives progress, we must unfold not only what’s in front of our very eyes, but also ourselves. Life presents us with very distinct, always diverging, paths to choose from, and we always have choices to make. I have mulled over this theory since my days as a young girl at the Tennessee cereal factory packaging breakfasts: in life you have the option of being like a raisin in Raisin Bran Crunch, my favorite cereal (also the only one I eat: I have a monogamous relationship with my cereal), rare and tantalizing, or you can be a pedestrian bunch.
Me, I lived like a raisin, and I have the wrinkles to prove it.
Let’s begin now. I was born in 1932, in a Memphis hospital beneath the pumpkin-colored October moon. My mother always told me that from the moment I was born, I was up and moving. I even slapped the doctor before he could slap my tush.
Life is about going places, and from the moment I could crawl, I went everywhere. To a child, the world is a grand and mystical jungle, one that slowly becomes thinner with time. It’s hard to lose oneself amongst the trees as the body and mind age, but the trees never leave us.
Speaking of which, I absolutely adore trees. Although, my dear friend Eleanor and I did run into some trouble when we climbed the maple tree in the park last year to put a fallen bird’s nest back and, well, let’s just say that the gentlemen at the fire department are very strong (and rather dapper in their uniforms).
Our children told us afterward that they would prefer we find entertainment at home and not through exploring the world, but what do they know? They haven’t studied biochemical engineering, belly-danced for European dukes, or climbed mountains like I have.
Today kids have television for entertainment. Psh.
When I was a gal we had the earth for our entertainment. In fact, one time I remember, in high-school, my girlfriends and I went on a cow-tipping spree during the middle of the night. Sure it was dangerous, but it was exhilarating.
Life, my dears, is about taking chances and not letting fun slip away.
So, my dears, let me just say this: when life gets dry, pour some milk (preferably 2 percent) over yourself, wake up, and go about into the jungle that is life.
Don’t let the world slip through your fingers, and always, always follow your own rhythm; but don’t be afraid to change it.
Life cannot be replayed, paused, or rewound: it only moves forward, and it’s our job to keep up.