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To Life! Raise A Glass For Life Itself

Our pieces on the health-related travails of an important industry member, Jan Fleming, CEO of Strube Celery and Vegetable Company and daughter of Bob Strube, Sr., affected friends, acquaintances and strangers:

I do not know Jan or the Strube family, but I sent her an email to pass along my prayers and well wishes. To my surprise, she wrote me back! She mentioned things were going well which I was relieved to hear.

Thank you for bringing her health issues to your readers so we can follow along with her as she pushes onward through her journey. I also read your piece on your father’s health scare — you are a wonderful writer.

I enjoy all your articles and look forward to good reading every month in PRODUCE BUSINESS as well as each edition of the Perishable Pundit!

— Sandy Bach
Trading Assistance
Blue Book Services, Inc.
Carol Stream, Illinois

Life often hands us the sweet and the bitter — sometimes in one package. Jan has a very serious illness — that is the bitter truth. Yet, Jan has the love of family and friends, the best medical care the world has to offer and she finished her surgery in Pittsburgh in time to be home for the holidays. There is sweetness in that.

She also has an attitude that can’t be beat — that is what e-mailing total strangers such as Sandy is all about.

There is a line in the song To Life! from Fiddler on the Roof, which is based on the stories of Sholem Aleichem that capture the sensibility of the people of the book living in the reality of the world:

Our great men have written words of
Wisdom to be used
When hardship must be faced;
Life obliges us with hardship
So the words of wisdom
shouldn’t go to waste.

As we gather for the holiday season, it is important to remember that each friend and relation is special and, what with car accidents, illness, natural disasters, you can never know when a meeting will be the last. That makes each meeting with a loved one a cause for rejoicing. The world would be a richer place if we thought of things in that manner.

There is another line in the song, which is actually sung to celebrate an engagement, it goes like this:

God would like us to be joyful
Even though our hearts lie panting on the floor;
How much more can we be joyful,
When there’s really something
To be joyful for.

Certainly the chance to be with loved ones is something to celebrate.

The song also reminds us of how often we take the most precious things for granted:

To life, l’chaim!
L’chaim, l’chaim, to life!
A gift we seldom are wise enough
Ever to prize enough,
Drink l’chaim, to life!

So in our celebrating, let us not forgot to raise a glass to life itself, this most precious of blessings.

They sing a slightly different version in the movie than they do in the Broadway show but here is a clip of the song from the movie version of Fiddler on the Roof:

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