“My mum always said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.’
– Forrest Gump
Judy Garland, Johnny Mathis and Doris Day all sang that “Life is just a bowl of cherries”, while philosophers, comedians and poets have for years expressed what life is a bowl.
I thought about all of this recently when I saw an interview with now-retired journalist, talk show and tabloid host Maury Povich and his wife, former national anchor, Connie Chung. I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing her a few years ago when she spoke to a publicity group in Bangor, Maine. She was quite lively. When she speaks, her hands fly so expressively and uncontrollably that she says cameramen always had to shoot her in the chest or neck in close-ups. It’s not an affectation, it’s just his overly energetic personality. She is the real deal. The Povich family has always had ties to Maine, as Maury’s father grew up there, and every other Thanksgiving he and Connie venture to the family home of Bath. Just ask her and she’ll sing a ditty that includes every county in the state.
Chung and Povich are now retired and spend a lot of time on their ranch in Big Fork, Montana. I remember when I met Connie Chung, she was just a little taller than me. Everything has changed now on both sides! We’re the same age and height now, and you’ll probably have to kill us both to get those numbers! During the TV interview, Chung likened herself to a prune, “shrinking and shrunken.” Shit, she made it! It comes with age. It made me think, however, that life is not just a bowl of cherries, but a whole lot of fruit.
When you are young, you are like a little grape. During childhood, your cheeks have the pink of fresh Washington State cherries. As you enter adolescence, you slowly ripen like a fine peach or plum. The boys even have the “peach fuzz” they crave so much that they soon realize shaving becomes a daily chore. If children or young adults seem to follow in a parent’s footsteps or take on their characteristics, whether good or questionable, people will often say, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” and we all have heard that An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” That’s not true if you stuff a bunch of them into a lard-laden pie crust, add butter and sugar, and top it with tons of sugar.
In our 20s and 30s, we enter the working world. Some will become the best bananas in this fruit bowl of life, while others might aspire to be carambolas, also known as carambola, which are both sweet and sour, like most of us sometimes they are.
Passion fruit helps to grow the family and often as we get older we take on the shape of melons.
Young adult author Sharon Creech says, “Life is like a bowl of spaghetti. Every once in a while you get a meatball. But if you buy into Mrs. Gump’s theory that life is a box of chocolates, you might also make a good point here. In my life I have met people who are soft, while others had hard shells but soft centers. Some have adorned themselves with too many nuggets, and God knows I’ve also met my share of nuts.
So as we get older, as we all eventually do, maybe Connie’s comment about shrinking like a prune isn’t so bad. After all, prunes have been shown to aid digestion, are rich in potassium and vitamins, are a good source of iron, strengthen bones and muscles, lower cholesterol and help lower blood pressure. All in all, it’s not a bad deal, and as my holy mother always preached – she’s a big proponent of old wives’ tales and the like – “Prunes will keep you regular.”
And at the end of the day, Connie Chung is a pretty ordinary person. She’s smart, she’s healthy, she’s got a great sense of self-deprecating humor, she still has the energy to flap those arms around when she talks; and if that, plus age, makes her a plum, then I’d be more than happy to join her in the fruit bowl.
Rona Mann has been a freelance writer for The Sun for 20 years, including her “In Their Shoes” articles. She can be reached at six07co[email protected] or 401-539-7762.