A friend said this to me the other day. I thought I was going to crack a rib laughing. I had to admit that my family supplied little to no examples of exercise.
My dad occasionally played gold and hand ball. When I say occasionally I mean maybe a few weekends a year that I recall. Granted I was thirteen years old when he died. But, I can safely say my memories are my own.
Then, there was Mom. She never exercised a day in her life. That I know of. Still she lived to 73. Even though she had multiple heart attacks and strokes. Her father rode a bicycle in the park on weekends.
My father’s parents never ever exercised. Neither did any of his siblings as far as I know. Though, they were nearly all quite obese most lived into their late seventies.
The exceptions are my mom’s youngest brother and his wife. He walks all the time. Though, I am not sure this began before his forties. My aunt however, played tennis, even now in her seventies.
There is my mother’s sister. She is thin. Always, elegantly dressed and well mannered. I don’t know what her exercise regimen was. I am sure of one thing: She agonized over every bite of food that she saw and reached her hand out for. Her eyes saw a world of chocolate wonder. She never let her mouth have a taste of it.
Even at her grandson’s Bar Mitzvah at eighty-two she refused to allow herself even a bite of chocolate cake. Earlier I was sitting next to her youngest son, the father of the Bar Mitzvah. He leaned over to me and said, “Watch. My mom will not eat a bite of chocolate cake. But, she will say to us, “How delicious that chocolate cake looks. I haven’t eaten a bite of this cake in years. I cannot remember the last time I had a bite.”” My cousin was 100% correct. Even at eighty-two with bone crushing osteoporosis that her mid-section is shrunken and twisted in what can only be excruciating pain she could not allow herself to enjoy a piece of chocolate cake. What would a bite of chocolate cake or three do to her? Kill her? I wanted to yell at her, as I am sure her son did, “FOR GOD’S SAKE YOU ARE EIGHTY-TWO YEARS OLD. GO AHEAD. EAT THE DAMN CAKE!”
She is eighty-four now.
Jews and exercise do not generally go together. At least, in my experience. There are two absolute exceptions: My son and daughter. They are very active and determined to exercise regularly.