Here’s a little story I call: Pete’s Peaches. It’s a true story and one that continues to remind me of how important it is to treasure the simple things in life; I hope it inspires you to live in the moment a little bit more. I am still thankful for an appreciation of simple pleasures that has stayed with me from meeting one my father’s rehabilitation hospital roommates in the year before my dad died. The fellow patient was a gentle man named Pete who was just diagnosed with advanced cancer and was waiting on a hospice bed at the same time my dad was starting rehab for a broken hip.
During my daily visits to cheer my father on in his recovery, I initially felt sad for Pete that he had no better days ahead. But that wasn’t how Pete saw life–he always had something to look forward to: “My daughter is bringing me something special tomorrow. She is bringing me canned peaches! I can already taste those peaches…there’s nothing in the world as good as canned peaches.”
I had some trouble appreciating the specialness of CANNED peaches. As a longtime convert to organic foods and weekly trips to the farmer’s market, to me the notion of canned peaches didn’t seem like such an improvement over the dreary hospital food.
The next afternoon when I walked into my dad’s room, Pete greeted me with a hearty welcome and the declaration, “My daughter’s bringing me canned peaches today!” As I sat with my father who was drifting in and out of a state of mild delirium, Pete’s daughter came in the room, kissed her dad on his forehead, and said, “Do you know what I have for you?” He exclaimed, “Canned peaches!!” as she pulled the can out of a bag and handed him a spoon.
A while later while a nursing assistant was helping Pete to the bathroom, I asked his daughter about his love for canned peaches. She told me that Pete had been an infantryman during World War II and spent the war eating K-rations, dreaming of the day he returned stateside with a vow to eat as many canned peaches as he could find.
I remember thinking, how wonderful that Pete, in the middle of his last battle—this time with cancer—should focus again on the same hard-won simple pleasure. I treasure that memory and remain thankful for an appreciation for simple things that I have carried on from meeting Pete.
A quick note from our founder-
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