When my grandmother moved to the Fair City of Perth, she believed that she’d arrived in some great metropolis. Any reader who knows Perth in Scotland will be puzzled by this statement, as they will know that we are speaking about a very small city. However, you must understand that my grandmother came from a small croft in the Highlands, near to the town of Bonar Bridge, about forty miles north of Inverness.
The bustling life of Perth was quite befuddling for her.
Her first shopping trip to the High Street, with her wicker basket over her arm, ended with some purchases from the butcher’s shop. When she emerged onto the pavement, she spent thirty minutes waving at passing buses. The drivers either ignored her, waved back, or gave her a thumbs-up and a wide smile.
Eventually, the butcher, who had been puzzled by her strange actions, left his shop ad approached her.
“Excuse me, Madam. Are you trying to catch a bus?”
“Yes. But none of them will stop for me.”
“That’s because you have to stand at a bus stop.”
“I don’t know what you mean. What is a bus . . . stop?”
He pointed. “Those poles over there. And you have to be standing at the correct one.”
“How do I know which is the correct one?”
“Where are you going?”
“Where do you live”
“33 Needless Road.”
“Ah! You need to be on the other side of the street. That middle bus stop is the one for you. When you see a number ten bus coming, just hold out your hand and it will stop for you. It goes up Glasgow Road. Tell the driver that you want to get off at the top of Needless Road. He’ll let you know when you reach your stop.”
My gran was worried.
“Won’t he take me down to my house.”
The jolly butcher laughed. “No! He has to stick to his route.”
“But I’ve got a heavy basket of shopping. Where I come from, the bus driver, who is also the postman, would take me home if I had a heavy basket of shopping.”
“That doesn’t happen here in Perth, I’m afraid,” chuckled the butcher.
The point that I am trying to make to you is that my gran was an incredibly naïve woman. Despite this, she was also an incredibly insightful woman. There was a day when she inspired me with one of the wisest pieces of wisdom that I have ever heard. She imparted the true meaning and origin of the word ‘wealth.’
It was on a day when I was bemoaning the unfairness of how much wealthier some people were than others. She was unimpressed by my undisguised envy.
“Do you know the real meaning of the word, ‘wealth’?”
“Yes. Of course! A wealthy person is one who has many expensive possessions and lots of money.”
“No, Lance. You couldn’t be more wrong. The word is a combination of ‘well-being’ and ‘good health.’ If you are not healthy and you aren’t happy with your life, it doesn’t matter how much money you have or how many possessions you own, you cannot be wealthy.”
When you think about it. This is very true.
My gran had hardly any money. She had the same carpet on her sitting room floor for forty years. Yet she was probably the wealthiest woman I ever knew. And, in my humble opinion, she was definitely the loveliest woman who ever walked this Earth.
I will always love my very wealthy grandmother.