The wholesome child
Granny used to say I was a ‘wholesome child’ being brought up on her stolen cabbages and scrumped apples. I had a weekly bath in an old iron tub in front of the fire and always smelt of carbolic soap! The pantry consisted of dried and fresh herbs, plenty of fruit, lentils and vegetables galore. Potions were sealed in jars and placed out of my reach and there was always a smell of lavender. And in the garden, we had lots of pet rabbits and chickens. These animal friends of mine would die mysteriously on a weekly basis and always when I was out. You know where this story is going and every word is true. But granny was a crafty witch so I never suspected the meat on my plate was Polly, Snowy or Willow. I discovered the truth many years later and was traumatised for life. So if this is what granny meant by wholesome, then I guess I was a wholesome child.
By the time I was seven, I could steal vegetables from a farmer’s field, as good as any crook. Granny said the farmer had plenty and that he wouldn’t mind us taking some cabbages, potatoes, beetroot, parsnips, carrots and just about anything veggie you can think of. I stole all year round! Thankfully my stealing days ended when my father returned and granny had to go shopping. It was years later, the farmer confessed he knew about the theft and said it amused him to see granny and her friends teaching me how to eat and live well. I was mortified!
Yesterday, the memories of the stealing fields came flooding back, when someone in passing said I was wholesome! Yes, wholesome! I looked at myself in the mirror and frowned. I am not overweight (but could do with losing a kilo or two!)and my cheeks are not ruddy. My stealing days are over and granny and her friends are long dead. So what is wholesome?
If being wholesome means stealing from the farmer, then I do not qualify. But, if wholesome means eating a healthy diet, taking daily exercise and being a positive thinker, then I am in with a chance. However, I do love chocolate, swear occasionally (my kind and unassuming husband does not swear!) and I sometimes succumb to negativity. During these times my kind and unassuming husband always fills my cup until it’s half full and reminds me that there are more good people in the world than there are bad. Perhaps my kind and unassuming husband and others like him are more worthy of being called wholesome!