Enthusiasm at any level is worthy of praise

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Ramblings from the heart

In all of our lives, there are certain events and people that affect us in such a profound way that we are inspired to take a step back and realize the significance of the moment or person. An exercise in extremes has inspired me to appreciate one such moment and person in time.

A while back, I attended a girls’ high school basketball game and was swept up in the enthusiasm of the participants as they ran up and down the court and appeared to never become drained of their energy.

The daughter of one of my friends plays on that team. She displays a youth and exuberance appropriate for a young lady her age. Her world is contained within the confines of her family, friends, school and sports activities. She’s at an age where anything is possible and adventure is sure to be had by embracing all opportunities that present themselves with an open-mind. Her entire future lies ahead of her and her exuberance was notable.

In the crowd of spectators that day was a person who was closer to the other end of life’s journey. This lady, mostly confined to a wheelchair, watched her granddaughter’s energy and excitement with a great amount of interest. Though she was not as energetic as her granddaughter she still possessed an enthusiastic nature that seemed tempered from her many experiences of being a farmer’s spouse. She raised their nine children on a farm just outside of the town and yet was able to earn a nursing degree and work in that capacity for many years. To have a conversation with her, it is evident her experiences in life were many and varied. Raising a large family and working outside the home to make ends meet, this lady did whatever she had to in order for her children to grow up and have productive and meaningful lives upon reaching adulthood.

With many mouths to feed and undoubtedly little money to go around, nothing was probably ever wasted. Years ago, I witnessed her thriftiness in action. At a local restaurant, her very young granddaughter was being fed by her mother when all of a sudden, the child hiccupped and the entire contents of her stomach came spewing out of her mouth and onto the table reminiscent of Old Faithful or a Linda Blair movie featuring exorcisms and similar issues of the intestinal tract. I was beyond horrified to have witnessed this but taking it all in stride, the child’s grandmother scooped up the puddle with a spoon and redeposited it into the hungry child’s mouth. No fuss; no muss. A lesson in frugality was observed but to her, it was nothing she probably hadn’t done for her family in an earlier time.

Another event proved she’d probably seen everything a child could possibly do to get into trouble. Case in point:

One very long and cold winter a long time ago, her family’s septic tank had frozen over and they lost use of their indoor plumbing. Two of her sons took it upon themselves to remedy the situation by placing a stick of dynamite and blasting cap into the frozen tank and commenced trying to set the charge off with a firearm of some kind; thus rehabilitating the spastic sewer system to its’ original grandeur by removing some of the ice blocking the tank’s inlet. Well … the ensuing blast blew in all the windows on the side of the house facing the frozen tank and the domicile was deluged with large pieces of concrete and other unmentionable contents from the now destroyed top of the cesspool. The fellow I know who was involved in the deed tells this story from time to time. To hear him relive this fateful experience is evidence of its dubious significance in his life.

This elderly lady and her basketball-playing granddaughter possess equal amounts of enthusiasm but are on totally opposite ends of the “enthusiasm scale.” Even though one would tend to think a very young person’s gusto has more value than that of a much older individual, in the end, all are equally worthy of our admiration, praise and hope for the future.

Allen Hrubes is an occassional columnist for the Ranger-Review. He can be reached at metalal@midrivers.com.