Sunday, November 23, 2008
The Wooden Bowl
A couple of weeks ago I posted about my great-grandmother's blue bowl. My husband saw the post and it made him think of this story and he asked me to post it. As a geritrician this story has special significance for him. Unfortunately he has seen situations all too similiar to this one. So on behalf of dh and all of the elderly out there in need of a little patience and love here is the story of The Wooden Bowl.
A frail, little old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table, but the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor, when he grasped the glass, the milk spilled on the tablecloth.
The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about grandfather", said the son. "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor." So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner; there, grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.
The 4-year old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with the wood scraps on the floor, he asked the child sweetly, "what are you making?" just as sweetly, the boy responded, "oh, I am making a little bowl for you and mama to eat your food when I grow up." the 4-year old smiled and went back to work. The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days, he ate every meal with the family and for some reason; neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.
"The wooden bowl"
Image courtesy of Allposters