The Parable of the IPOD and the Plum

By: Pam Ben Rached
May 16, 2011

One beautiful Sunday, I went out for a run. It was a perfect day – sun shining but not too bright, blue sky, etc. Soon however, my luck was about to change.

I was running up on Pineville Circle which is a flat loop in my neighborhood. All of a sudden, my music died. What happened? I looked down and much to my dismay, the power was out in my IPOD. I was a novice runner at the time so I was unaccustomed to running with only the music of the birds.

If this wasn’t enough, a second life changing event occurred. Directly in front of me, I saw an older Chinese lady who was often out walking at the same time I was running. Although I had discovered in my past runs that her English was limited, she always gave me a big smile and an encouraging pat on the arm. As she approached me, I thought she was going to give me the same warm gesture but she held out something for me to take (sort of a running parting gift!) She handed me a VERY ripe plum with the juices about ready to burst from its fragrant core. This was an interesting turn of events! How was I going to run with this overripe plum in my hand and no music as well? My friend, however, was not to be dissuaded. She quickly handed me the sweet fruit, waved her hands and spryly walked away. What was a gal to do? No music to listen to and if I clenched my hand even slightly I was going to get a big wad of juice down my hand. Now you might ask – why didn’t you just wait until she was far enough away that you could chuck it? I did think of that but my Catholic upbringing quickly settled in. I couldn’t waste a beautiful gift from such a nice lady. By now, you’ve guessed it – I ran along with the plum and a dead IPOD. I would transfer it from hand to hand from time to time and for 3 miles I ran this way. I finally made it home, ate the plum (it was delicious) and recharged my IPOD.

I have thought about this incident many times. How often in life do we have to handle unforeseen events or delicate situations? Squeeze too hard and you are out of luck – go out unprepared and you may have to make your own music. Forest Gump was right – life is like a box of chocolates – or a handful of plums.