Category Archives: Richard Simmons

Weighty Subject


My Mom raised her shirt to show me while she was in the bathroom,

I was putting on a dab of makeup for dinner. She said, “Look at my

abs, Robin!” I looked at her loose skin that is spread across her petite

body and said, “They look great, Mom, what have you been doing

to get those?” She replied, “I remember Jack LaLanne, do you

remember him? He was a good motivator for exercise and good


When I looked up Jack LaLanne, he had lived from 1914 up until

2011. Quite a long life with some very extra special motivations that

included good and peppy words, toning and lifting weights. He was

ahead of his time!

I repeated my question to get Mom ‘back on track’ and said, “So, what

have been doing differently to create those abs, Mom?”

Mom pondered for a moment and said, “I pick up leaves and stones off

the sidewalk, I lift my legs when I walk the dog in the dark, like I am

marching to get this flab off the back of my legs. Then, I sometimes

will do arm stretches and touch my toes. The dog thinks I am nuts!”

I smiled warmly at my mother who I absolutely love so dearly, hoping

against hope that she will be here for many more years. I told her one

thing I remembered her emphasizing during my college years of eating

pizza and “pigging out” on all the junk foods she never allowed in our

household, like ‘ho ho’s, twinkies, glazed honey buns,’ and the salty

treats from the machines in the basement of our dormitory. I would

frame the junk food in the terms of my form of “rewarding studying”

and “getting down to business.”

“Mom, where did you hear that phrase ‘tuck in your tummy and

pretend there is a string on the inside of your belly button pulling it

towards your back’?”

She looked at me, “Didn’t Richard Simmons say that on his television


I responded, “I am not sure he had his own show, but I will check on

that after dinner… he was a guest often on talk shows and he was

quite a character!”

Oh, by the way, Richard Simmons was born Milton Teagle Simmons

in 1948 and is now 65 years old. He is still featured in commercials,

some movies and he is a big facilitator for dancing and exercising to

the “Oldies!”

She said, “Oh, he was so funny in those short shorts! Only Twiggy

looked good in those kind of outfits!”

This subject, weight, is a challenging one. It is a sensitive topic. I am

often afraid to approach it. With my daughter in law who still struggles,

at age 27, to lose her “baby weight.” To my best friend, Jenny, who gets

worried now that she is retired, that she will get heavy. I remind her of

how loving she was when I gained during my forties, due to worries,

menopause and not having a busy sex life. I remind her that my Mom

was cruel and would give me zweiback crackers and cheese while she

would make my ex-husband huge roast beef sandwiches upon our

arrival from traveling up Rte. 4 to Vermilion.  I keep the subject light

when some of my table mates make fun of my quinoa and brussel

sprouts meal that tastes like General Zso’s (Cho’s?) delicious Chinese

food. (My daughter uses red wine vinegar, sesame seeds and roasts

the brussel sprouts in olive oil. I am not sure other than red pepper

flakes, what spices she uses.)

But the subject of weight comes up so often, I had to broach it with

you! I had to ask, what are your weaknesses? What are your best


I love walking and talking along the paths in parks, miles can go by,

not worrying about the pace, but somehow it slides by. I enjoy hiking

trails that are up steep inclines and I wish, personally, that I didn’t

have to work in the hot, hot warehouse where I do eat anything, but

at what “cost?” It seems so strenuous, I always wonder, silently,

“Will I last for as long as I would like my Mom to last? I would like

to be here on Earth for years and years, for my grandkids’ and great

grandkids’ sake!”

Should we worry less and just enjoy life?

I am glad to have my Mom to give me a light hearted take on the subject.