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The Minnie Stories

Cleaning Up Your Act - Part 8

Having A Minnie-Break!

“Right Mum”, says Sarah Jane, as soon as I open the door and see her waiting on my doorstep, carrying a huge parcel “Come on, let’s get this inside”.

And in she comes, with Sam following; he gives me a kiss, smiles, and shrugs as if to say “What can you do when she’s set her mind on something?” And he’s right of course – when my Sarah Jane gets a bee in her bonnet about anything, nothing will stop her ‘til she’s let it fly free!!.

So in she marches, puts the parcel down on the sofa, and says,

“Right, Mum, come and open it!”

“But what is it? Why have you brought me something? It’s not my birthday….!”

“What, we can’t give you a present unless it’s your birthday!? Enough already! Open it!”

So I carefully start opening the wrapping paper, and folding it as I’m going, ‘til she grabs one edge of it, and starts tearing it off……

“Oh come on,Mum, I mean this year! - I want you to see what we’ve got you!”

And as I pull the last bit of paper off the parcel, I see that inside is…….

”A suitcase? You’ve bought me a suitcase!? It’s a lovely one, darling……but what do I want with a suitcase?!”

“What you want with it is this,Mum - a person going on holiday needs a suitcase!”

“What do you mean, on holiday? Who’s going on holiday?”

“You are, Mum!” she says, laughing, and hugging me.”You are! Now open it and see what’s inside”.

So I do, and it’s an envelope, with my name on it. Now I’m really confused……I open the envelope, and inside there’s a little white cardboard wallet thing……and inside that is something that says it’s a ‘confirmation of booking’ , and also some voucher things for a facial, and a hair-do, and a manicure and pedicure: and colour photos of a beautiful country house in Sussex!

Well, I don’t know what to say, I just don’t understand what’s going on ……

“Sarah Jane, Sam - what is all this?”

And then Sam sits down next to me on the sofa, and puts his arm round me, and says ,

“Mum, we think it’s time you had a bit of a break. You’re always so busy looking after everyone else, it’s your turn now.”

“But I can’t go away! I’ve got all my jobs - I can’t let them down!”

“You won’t be letting anyone down!” Sarah Jane laughs. “It’s only a weekend! I suppose you can call it a Minnie Break….! You’ll have massages, and all the wonderful health & beauty treatments, the whole package!”

“But I don’t need it! I’m fine…..”

“Yes, thank God you are. But you haven’t stopped, even when you had the operation, you kept on working…..your body was ‘mugged’, remember?”

And we grinned at each other - she was reminding me of years ago, when my sister-in-law had had an operation; when she went for a check-up 4 weeks afterwards, the Consultant asked how she was, and she burst into tears! And when she apologised, and said she didn’t understand why she was crying, the Consultant told her

“It’s because you’ve been mugged”.

“No I haven’t”, protested Ruby.

“Oh yes you have, my dear……just because you gave your consent to the operation, and had an anaesthetic, all your body knows is that it was attacked with a knife - you’ve been mugged! And it needs a bit of gentle TLC, to recover”.

“So you see Mum, your body needs time to be pampered now - and that’s what this is…….it’s our way of saying we love you, and we want you around for a long time………so you’re bloody well going to do this for our sakes even if you won’t do it for you! Right? Right! So let’s have no more arguments….you’re going!”

And off she goes with the case, into my bedroom, and I follow her, like a child! And she says we’re going to go through my clothes, and choose what to pack, and she’s so excited, even more than I am, to tell you the truth.

But then gradually I begin to imagine what it’ll be like at that beautiful place - just being totally looked after, pampered, spoilt, relaxing, eating wonderfully healthy meals, which someone else has cooked!….and best of all, for me, meeting a whole new lot of people…….and then I finally admit to myself, and to Sarah Jane……

”You know what? I can’t wait! Thank you both so much!”

And that was it……the following Friday morning Sarah Jane drives me down to Sussex, to this Health Spa……oh, it was like a stately home, in its own park! And my room was a suite, can you believe….huge, with my own bathroom, and a bed as big as my Jack’s beloved White Hart Lane! And my own sitting room, even!

A palace, I tell you - and me the Queen of Sheba! (mind you, I’ve always wondered where that was, Sheba……and did they really have a queen?) Then I see, on the table in front of the window, there’s a big vase of flowers, and a card, welcoming me, and inviting me to change into the bath robe that’s hanging in the bathroom, and go down to the Spa treatment rooms for my first massage, at 11am.

The young woman is called Anna - she tells me that she’s my masseuse for my stay here. I think she’s Polish. And she asks me some questions first, about my health and so on…..and then she says

“So what’s the main thing that you want to get from your weekend here?”

To be honest, I don’t see why she needs to know! Maybe she’s just making conversation? So I explain that actually I didn’t plan to come, and I tell her about Sarah Jane, and Sam, and that’s why I’m here. And I’m taking off the bathrobe and lying face down on the table, as she puts a warm towel over my bottom half, and starts massaging my back and shoulders, and I’m almost falling asleep, it feels so good…..!

“So you came because you really just wanted to please them”? ,

“Yes - I like to make them happy….”

“So what’s important about them being happy?”

“Well if they’re happy I’m happy as well”

Funny…..her voice sounds further away, but somehow clearer too….and she’s saying

“And what does you being happy as well get you? What’s important about it for you?”

“How strange…..I’ve never really thought about that, about what’s in it for me…” I’m almost too relaxed to speak, but I hear myself telling her

“If we’re all well, and together, I’m happy”

And I can see their faces, looking so worried when I had my operation, and I realise that maybe that’s what’s important to them as well. Which is why they bought me this ‘Minnie- break’…..and why I accepted it;- we were all driven by what was most important to us!

As I had a shower, and got ready to go for lunch in the Light Diet Room, I thought about that too……..about how I decided to have the light healthy salad and fruit lunch, and not the full cooked 3 course one. And you know what? It was true - I was making my choice because of what was important to me… be, and feel, better!

After lunch, I was booked for a facial - me, a facial! But still thinking about not having the full cooked lunch, I said to myself,

“Minnie, think of what this is costing the kids………shouldn’t you have had everything that was offered? Wouldn’t that have been…..what do they call it in Morrison’s?.....oh yes - VFM……..Value For Money!”

Then I could swear it was my Jack’s voice in my head, said

“So? All this isn’t value for money anyway?” And looking round me as I’m sitting being spoiled rotten in this wonderful place, yes, of course he’s right.

But what’s more important is how I feel after my healthy, light lunch….i know how much I mean to my family, as well as how much they mean to me. And I know that that’s why I do everything I do - because I’m passionate about loving them: that’s the most important thing in the world, that’s what keeps me getting up every morning, since my Jack died.

And I might be wrong, but maybe, just maybe, what I’ve learned this weekend is that VFM is important, sure………but to me, VFL - Value For Life - is even more so!

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Cleaning Up Your Act

Introduction To The Story Collection

The Minnie Kerchevsky Stories

Real wisdom can often be found in the most unlikely places....not from teachers, coaches, professors and so on, but from ordinary people who have their own life experiences to draw on to help others.

Cleaning Up Your Act is a collection of the stories of one of these very special people.........

Minnie Kerchevsky is a so-called ‘ordinary woman’, a cleaner, a 'daily', with no pretensions, no super-ego... just a desire to make things better in any way she can; helping those around her to “clean up their acts” in her own unique and heart-warming way!

Minnie believes that what stops us being happy is thinking we don’t have choices - and that feel-good is a state of mind we can always choose to be in!

So in ‘Cleaning Up Your Act’, we gradually learn about Minnie’s own life and events - and how she dealt with challenges and learned how to see raindrops as sunbeams in disguise! - interwoven through the stories she shares about the people she impacts with the homespun wisdom that is the essence of who and how she is, because of who and how she has been.

Each of us has met Minnie, or someone like her, in our lives... and if we haven’t, we’re the poorer for it - so here’s our chance to put that right!



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