Major Pleasures

Major Pleasures  Google: Ruth McRoberts Ward blogs

When a friend asked about my next blog, I mentioned that two words—major pleasures--had come to mind that morning. “Does it say anything to you?” She pounced on it.

Oh, yes, I have two major pleasures. Going to the beach in March or April early in the morning when the only noise is the sound of the giant waves rushing in and out spontaneously and strongly which to me is both awesome and soothing. And then to watch the pink and reddish sunrise appear above the endless sea. Absolutely breathtaking! Having a private, unstructured day is such a treat for me! There’s no spontaneity in my work--on my feet 8-10 hours a day, six days a week, washing, cutting, perming, styling and listening to chatter and noisy dryers. My sons wonder why I don’t take their phone calls when I’m at the shop. I tell them that I don’t hear cell phone beeps above the noise and have no time to talk. My second pleasure is when our two sons and their girlfriends come and we are all together—our family unit.

Later that morning, I queried my sister-in-law, Eileen, during our weekly phone call, with the same major pleasures question, and again was intrigued with her immediate excited reply.

I especially enjoy being in a room of strangers and getting acquainted with each one. Mac can be in the same room but never moves from his first spot. He spends the entire time chatting with one guy about many different things. My next pleasure is reading. Years ago, I always had a book in my hands. Now, without my sight, I depend on Mac who reads to me and on our children when they visit.  You’ll remember, Ruthie, how I loved to cook, bake, shop and take care of our home. I loved being independent. I miss that. A current pleasure is Izzy, my little dog. She snuggles next to me and brings me great joy.  When she sees a squirrel from the window, she will bark and want to go after it.

I asked a friend if those two words triggered any thoughts, he said, “Sure; I helped to put a roof on my daughter’s house yesterday, which I really enjoy doing.  But I did notice that climbing up the ladder, I was a bit shaky. He chuckled when he said, “Probably 75-year-olds should find a new pleasure”.

When I asked a workman—a long-time friend—who came to make a repair, he said “Yes, when my wife and I indulge in celebrating our anniversary”.

I asked myself the same question and was surprised with the list of my major pleasures—reading counseling, studying, teaching, writing, homemaking, and flower-gardening. No doubt, my major pleasure is communicating with siblings, children and friends.

An adult granddaughter’s birthday party involving an afternoon and evening of extended family-time took precedence to my finishing the blog for which I was glad because the next day’s activities involving that same birthday group with the little kids, highlighted the significance of past pleasures.

Early that next morning, as I worked on the blog, photos arrived via my phone of the eleven family members venturing, of all places, around Hershey Park for the day. The familiar surroundings turned a memory-light on when Jim and I made that trip many, many times with our kids and house guests, a genuine ah ha moment of a second significant source of major pleasures for those who are more home-bound--reminiscing retains an important part of life.

Research: Reminiscence increases confidence and builds on people's remaining skills. It concentrates on early memories that remain vivid when recent events fade. It also allows a person to return to a time in their life when they were active, healthy and productive.

Hershey Pennsylvania was one of the first towns we visited when we moved to York in 1967 with four children under the age of eleven. It wasn’t famous for Hershey Amusement Park back then, but featured tours through the chocolate factory to see employees behind glass stirring vats of chocolate, making and wrapping chocolate products followed at the end with a Hershey ice cream treat. Then a visit to a small museum and a train ride around beautiful flower gardens. Vivid memories! Years before Hershey Amusement Park. What they’re doing today is what Jim and I did when we moved to York with our children, church outings and guests from other states.   

Years later, Jim and I decided to visit Hershey for the day to see the Hershey Gardens. We saw that the recently completed Chocolate Town building was open so we walked in.  We noticed that the tourists were all dressed up and wore name tags. But we followed the crowd and got in one of the little two-seater cars that took us on a delightful new twenty-minute scenic musical historical trip of harvesting chocolate. We saw in big screen pictures what we used to see on the factory tours, and all the other chocolate products that they made. When I took the hand of the guide and stepped out of the little car onto the platform that I could see was actually moving, I asked “Do many people fall when getting out?” to which he said, “I don’t know; this is the first day.”  We had walked in on shareholders day.

Reminiscing pleasant experiences with family and then just with Jim, even though alone, was enjoyable. Allowing the elderly to share former major pleasures is a marvelous gift to bestow, both to the ‘hearer’ and the ‘teller’.  Granted, some people live in the past constantly and what they share is often negative and sad, but sharing pleasant memories is not the same.  It’s also true that stories told by the older generation are told exactly the same way for years.  They become upset if interrupted by questions or being reminded, “I’ve heard that story a million times.” Listening does become tedious, but is a small price to pay to bring great joy to the elderly story-teller.

Probably the most major pleasure for me is remembering what Jim and I did together, whether it was making hospital calls, being involved with hundreds of weddings and funerals; attending conventions where we’d see college/seminary friends. Having photos to remind us of major pleasures is mentally and emotionally healthy.

I’m reminded of the pleasure of getting personally acquainted with my newest great granddaughter, ten-month-old Eloise, who came to my 90th birthday party. Crawling everywhere, she displayed every move she could manage and all the new sounds she had mastered. What a treat to get acquainted with her and watch her learn new things.

Eloise’s Uncle David, my son, was sitting at the table with his back to her with a little white ball in his hand that she had played with.  She crawled up closely to look at the ball. He wiggled his fingers to keep her attracted, and said, “get it, Eloise”. She almost took it once. Then, paused to look him and that hand over carefully. Then, she took the ball and we all clapped, which brought a smile from her.

 Wrapped up in all these memories are the spiritual reminders of the marvelous world in which we live; the equally marvelous bodies, minds and spirit that each of us has been given and worthy purposes to keep us looking ahead with hope.

Your comments and stories are very welcome, and if you’d like to suggest a topic, please do so.

This is the day that the Lord has made, we will be glad and rejoice in it. Psalm 118:24 (NIV).

At that time, Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. Mark 10:21 (NIV).

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:3-6

FB: Have you ever pondered your major pleasures? Hopefully, It will make your day!