My dear email, dance, delightful friend Steven Behr, Sr. from Washington State always emails me about every week. He tells me of his activities in the dance world and he and Mary Peterson just came back from Hawaii, where they were for almost two weeks. While there, they teach ballroom dance and tap dance. Steven will be seventy-four and Mary is in her mid-eighties. They both look like they are in their sixties and they act and do things like they were that age.
At the end of the email, Steven wrote the following words to me "Make it an unbelievable day." Some days are really unbelievable and that can be taken two ways. A good unbelievable day is one you always keep in your memory. A bad unbelievable day is one you want to throw out of your memory, as soon as you are able to rid yourself of it.
There is a saying that says "Anyone can make you smile or cry, but it takes someone special to make you smile when you already have a tear in your eye. That is a wonderful knack, gift and know-how accomplishment. When we were children, our moms could soothe us with a hug, a cookie, a balloon, a colored band aid, a promise of a new toy or most of all with calm, sweet and loving words whenever we had a problem or fell and hurt our knee or hand. My mom use to tell me how pretty I was and that when I grew up, I would be gorgeous. I guess that did the trick and comforted away the various hurts, physical or mental which we all have growing up.
My grandmother use to say that small children are small troubles and grown children are big troubles. She must have meant this in a loving manner (I never knew her, she was gone before I was born) because she had seven children. School teachers will tell a parent that their child is a wonderful and sweet child, but perhaps they should give him some help with his math (formerly called arithmetic) and take away his hesitancy in doing the subject. They tell the parent to coach the child on the home front because basically, they do not have the time to single out children with individual school skills because their classes are getting larger and larger every year due to budget cuts. I know of several elementary teachers who are giving up teaching to pursue something else that is more a nine to five job and no taking home papers to grade and projects to think of. They find it unbelievable, the burden that large classes have become.
It is sometimes hard to try and make the day good unbelievable rather than bad unbelievable. When you leave some retail stores, the clerk will say "have a good day or have a good weekend or holiday." Do you think that he or she really cares if you do or do not? It is a nice phrase and should be repeated often to all of us. Some people think to have a good day is perhaps to go out for dinner at a restaurant. It does not have to be fancy, full of ambience or high priced. When my mom moved into her new apartment after Dad died, she always said she missed him the most when having a meal. They use to enjoy each other while they ate and conversed. It did not matter what the meal consisted of in the food line; whatever she made, he loved it. She had some nice neighbors who would invite her often to go and have a Sunday meal out with them usually at a Chinese restaurant. She looked forward to it all weekend before Sunday arrived and The Solomons were fine neighbors and dear people. Mom would dress up in her pretty, acrylic, button down dresses and she matched her purse and shoes to the dress. She had her hair done on Saturdays; so she was ready for the restaurant event on a Sunday. They took her in their car, they lived across the way from her and brought her back and I always was happy when she told me the Solomons had invited her again. She paid her own way and the tip, but the most fun was having them to eat with and to converse with. When my daughter got married, Mom was gone; I invited the Solomon’s to the wedding ceremony and reception. Mrs. Solomon asked me why I had done that and I replied "you were so good to my Mom and took her out to dinner for many years; this is in honor of you both doing that, since she is not here to be a part of it." Mrs. Solomon had a tear in her eye.
So she had an unbelievable day doing just that and when she came on Saturdays to my house, she had a nice Saturday night light dinner with the four of us. She was so delighted, it did not matter what I served, made or got in as carry-out (really should be called carry-in). She was happy and to her, the simple thing of eating with us or the Solomon’s or other friends was unbelievable.
We all celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Easter, Passover, 4th of July, and other days with what we call very nice meals. We cook, clean, serve and have fun with friends and relatives on those days and we count them as unbelievable days. In my family, we honor our birthdays with a meal, usually a carry-in meal or one at a casual restaurant. We give gifts, cards and most of all hugs and love to be ‘ present’ in the birthday gal or guy or children’s world that day and the present we have is to be ‘present that time.’
Dad use to give Mom a present on his birthday and I asked him why. He said that even though finances were tight then, Mom was his gift being his wife and so he wanted to present her with a gift from him, even though it was his day. That was a very unusual sentiment and a very dear one. I bring the younger grandkids (did it also for the older ones) a gift for each of them every time I visit. It does not have to be pricey, though things are now for children, what with all the electronics, DVD’S, CD’S and videos. Even books are expensive; that is OK, I want them to always remember Grammie and Grandpa giving them something, because they were so loved. In the beginning, when they are real young, you can get something in the Dollar Store. As they grow up, there is not anything there, they would want.
Mom use to bring my children something every time she visited. It could be a candy bar, a bag of fresh roasted peanuts from the specialty peanut store downtown near where she worked and sometimes she baked them each a special piece of chicken that they liked how she cooked it. Several times, she got them Pez candies and various Pez holders. It is not the cost; it is the deep sentiment that comes with it.
Small things, large things, small words, big words, small sentiments, large sentiments, eating out in a restaurant once a week, visiting, buying a book, baking a birthday cake, these are all items that can add up to an unbelievable day, as Steven Behr said in an email to me today.
We all can remember little things. I remember my mom’s sister Aunt Elizabeth who passed on when I was three and one half years. When I visited her, she took care of me for a few hours once and she made me chicken for lunch and I can see her seventy-four years later, cutting up the chicken in tiny pieces, so a three year old could eat it. She was not only fixing me lunch, she was being unforgettable and left a lasting, unbelievable impression on me with her love towards one of her only nieces. Especially, since I was Mom’s daughter and she and Mom were more than devoted sisters, they were good friends to each other. When she passed on at age thirty-eight, Mom mourned her so much. I as a small child realized that Aunt Elizabeth was an unbelievable person.
Steven and Mary are unbelievable people themselves as they go each and every year for over twenty-seven times to teach the Hawaiian people dance and to entertain them and to make people happy in retirement and nursing homes. They shine in the pictures they send me showing me some of these times in Hawaii. I have been to Hawaii way back in 1974, so much has changed. The people are nice and people like Steven and Mary join in with lovely folks to give them a great time and the anticipation before they arrive by the people is amazing.
They in return are rewarded with the love of these people, knowing they are doing something unbelievable for others and having a delightful time themselves.
Some folks get a ‘high’ out of traveling, eating out, golfing, dancing, tennis playing, listening to music, reading, swimming or whatever turns them on. I get a ‘high’ writing these articles and reminiscing about my past of which I use to think I had led a boring life as a child and a teen. When I look back, I see it was kind of colorful, interesting and fun. My friend Debby said to me today, "I do not know how you keep on writing, so many articles here online and you do not repeat yourself." Sometimes, I do intentionally repeat a phrase; because I feel the person reading it may be new to this and will not know what I am talking about, when I mention something.
As Steven said, go for many unbelievable times, unbelievable days and most of all an unbelievable life. It is never too late to start. It will be unbelievable.