The Wooden Bowl…

No humor today, but one to think about as we age…

I don’t know who wrote it, but it DOES make you stop and think…

A frail 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, milk spilled on the tablecloth.
The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.

“We must do something about father,” 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 four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with 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 in when I grow up.” The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. 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.

On a positive note, I’ve learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

• I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things: a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

• I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life..”

• I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

• I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back sometimes.

• I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you.


The Wooden Bowl… — 17 Comments

  1. I remember seeing a bumper sticker one time on a car driven by an elderly lady: REMEMBER: YOUR CHILDREN WILL CHOOSE YOUR NURSING HOME.

  2. I see folks eating from their “wooden bowl” daily. I see the tears, too.

    I asked one of my cast-off residents yesterday if he minded me holding his hand while I helped him eat. He said he didn’t, then he added, “It feels so nice for someone to touch me kindly.” and I nearly cried.

    If we’re lucky, we’ll all get to the time in life that we spill some milk & drop a fork and I just pray someone is kind enough to all of us when we get there.

  3. That one hits awfully close to home here. I have been in that situation more than once but have never given the wooden bowl. In the long run the elderly give us more gifts ( and I don’t mean financial or physical ) than we can ever give them.

  4. WSF- I try that, then have to go back and gather up all the pieces that fall off… sigh…

    Fuzzy/Keads- Yep

    Bob- Yep, seen that, had my kids remind me…

    Julie/Wai- Yep

    Snigs- I don’t see how you do it, but I’m glad you’re there for them.

    FM- Yep, it does

    DB/CS- It does get your attention…

  5. My daughter is a CNA working in a medicaid funded nursing home. No way will I ever willingly go to such.

    BTW, one of the hardest lessons I learned was my own limitations. A very painful lesson, too.

  6. well that one got too me as I approach that milestone. Shaky hands,drop things etc. but I don’t thing MY four year old going on forty granddaughter would let that happen! She is one opinionated little girl that loves her grandpa!!!

    Thanks guy.