“Oooh, we’re going to have some nice music.” Molly was delighted to see me arrive in the dining room with my keyboard. Her pink, sequined sweatshirt matched the glow in her face.
Tablemate Beryl wasn’t so sure. “How do you know you’re going to like it?”
Molly’s answer was matter-of-fact: “I make up my mind that I’ll like it.”
I observed that attitude throughout my hour. When her food arrived: “I don’t know what it is, but it looks good.” To a fellow resident eating lunch by herself: “Would you like to sit with us?”
A server asking “Are you ready for dessert?” received a swift, enthusiastic “Sure!” The tulip-shaped dish of raspberry sherbet set before Molly seemed to please her immensely. I’m sure she would have approved of the magnet my daughter bought me years ago that read, “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”
Molly’s behavior started to remind me of “look on the bright side” songs from the Depression era, tunes written to lift spirits: “Happy Days Are Here Again,” “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries,” “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams.”
When Beryl commented, “I’m not feeling well today,” Molly grew impatient. “You say that every day.” She clearly was not interested in hearing any more about Beryl’s maladie du jour. Like the song says, accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative.
When I finished my hour of playing, Molly was the only resident left sitting in the dining room.
She talked to me as I packed up. “Thank you for the music. I liked it. No—I loved it. Is it still raining outside?”
I reported on the weather I’d observed during my drive there. “It stopped raining, but it’s wet and cold and windy.”
“Well, at least it’s not raining. We have good things to think about.”
I need to take optimism lessons from Molly.
Copyright © 2015 by Paulette Bochnig Sharkey
All rights reserved.