Wooden Bowl

  1. The Wooden Bowl
    I guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow,
    a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.
    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

    When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometime 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

    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 so 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, regardless of your relationship with your
    parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.

    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.

    I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But
    if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your
    work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.

    I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I
    usually make the right decision.

    I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.

    I've learned that every day, you should reach out and touch

    People love that human touch -- holding hands, a warm hug, or just
    a friendly pat on the back.

    I've learned that I still have a lot to learn!

    I've learned that you should pass this on to everyone you care
    about. I just did.
  2. Very heartfelt. I realize as I get older, I appreciate the things my parents have done for me much more now. TFS!
  3. :heart: awww that brought a tear to my eye... waahhhhh, that was so touching
  4. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
  5. Beautiful story. I'll remember it forever. Thanks for sharing.
  6. I remember reading that story before...it's beautiful, thank you for sharing!
  7. nice story
  8. Oh, I am so glad you posted that! Mr Puff saw a variation of it several years ago and told it to me, and you are right, I have not forgotten it, and I never will! :smile:
  9. I have a story that is analogous to this one, in my personal life. In my home, grandparents were the most respected people, their words were listened to, and we grew up with our grandparents around us. When my grandfather died, my grandmother came to live with us for several years. I learned from my mother how to care for the elderly, how to benefit from their wisdom, and which words to ignore (because elderly people sometimes get crotchety).

    SO never knew his grandparents very well. When his grandfather passed away, his family (though his grandmother was not very old) made her move into a elders' home. I have been dating SO for five years - during that time he has maybe been to see his grandmother once. His mother has maybe gone to see her twice a year.

    Now that SOs siblings are grown and have moved away, his mother keeps saying that they never call, they never come to see her, they never write. She is not by any means a hard person to get along with or anything. Her children have just left her and moved on. Am I the only one who sees a connection here?
  10. A few years ago, on another forum, someone posted a message complaining about how much her aging mother in law bothered her son, calling him at work, how his siblings did not do their share, they were just going to have to put her in a home, they were all professional people, for goodness sake! They did not have time to attend to her constant demands. Calling him at work! During a meeting!

    Her post Inspired me to write a short story, and your post Inspires me to share it here. Warning: It is nowhere near as good as the Wooden Bowl story, so if you have high expectations, just scroll on past it.
    Grandma's Bath

    When she was a young mother, the baby's cries, his constant needs, occupied all her time. She couldn't get any work done. She had to wait until he was asleep to even take a bath.

    There were plenty of nights when she didn't get any sleep at all. A cold here, colic there, she walked him, rocked him, sang to him, softly, both to calm him, and to avoid waking up her husband, who worked all day in a factory to pay for the little house they lived in, food for them all. He would have gotten up and let her sleep, but he operated machinery, she didn't want him to have an accident because he was sleepy.

    Once he started to walk, she found she had to be even more vigilant. Things she never thought of as dangers were everywhere. She learned to put her household cleaners on high shelves, tape over electrical outlets, she got a latch for the kitchen door so he wouldn't go in and turn on the stove when she took a bath.

    His little sister wasn't really planned, but then neither had he been. Her second pregancy was harder, maybe because she still got very little rest. He was a bundle of energy! And growing so fast! It was harder and harder to pick him up, carry him, with her ballooning belly. Her husband worked overtime.

    If taking care of one filled her days and nights, two had them bursting at the seams! She had to plan her time carefully, to be sure to make time just to play with them, to love them, not let that get lost in the endless chores of feeding, washing, changing, snatching the matches out of little hands.

    She was almost unhappy when she learned she was pregnant again. Almost, but she would get through it, they would get through it and love this little one as they did the others. More overtime for him, even less sleep for her. Dark circles appeared under her eyes, and never went away. But the youngest, the baby, made it all worth it. She was a special child, made them all laugh.

    The years passed. They were always poor, but somehow, she made sure that they always had something nutritious to eat, clean beds, clean clothes, a clean house.

    The kids were growing up. She took a job during school hours. Her husband insisted that they put everything she made in the bank. For "three orders of college," he said. She laughed, she didn't make that much.

    The factory made him foreman, and he put his raise in the bank. They stayed in the little house, it was crowded now, but full of laughter, full of love, she made sure the kids studied hard, and when the time came, they all got at least some scholarship money.

    They were so proud of them, when they'd come home on breaks, how they had all grown up, her son so handsome, her daughters so beautiful. She kept on working, two small, but beautiful weddings, two new sons! Then one more, another beautiful daughter!

    At last, she and her husband were alone again in the little house. They were like teenagers, doing silly things, they ate in bed, they took off their clothes and danced naked in the kitchen, she took long, long baths, bubble baths.

    When her husband died, she wanted to die too. She almost didn't notice that her youngest, that special baby who made them all laugh, had moved back into the little house, with her own husband, and her own baby boy.

    It was her grandson who brought her back to life, made her realize that her work wasn't done. Go take a bath, she told her daughter, I'll watch him.

    He grew up like his mother, strong and happy and smart. He loved playing with his little brother. Watching them grow, she saw her husband's eyes in one, heard his laugh in the other.

    How much the world had changed, she thought, smiling to herself. Their haircuts, their music, all these new electronic things. She stood with her hands on her hips, determined to get the sequence of buttons right on the microwave. First power, then - time? no. Enter. No, enter was the computer. OK? No that was on the DVD. I got your back grandma, said her grandson, his fingers flew over the keypad, her oatmeal was hot.

    So many keys and buttons. Maybe that's why she was having these spells. Just little patches of time that went away, time when she wasn't sure why the little house had someone else's furniture in it, who were those young men? Where was her husband, what happened? And then she would be all right again.

    They were packing her clothes into a suitcase, talking to her but she couldn't understand the words. Then she did, but she didn't want to. They said the little house wasn't big enough, that she needed to be somewhere where people could take care of her. They couldn't, they said, they are not professionals. But you are! she wanted to say. That's why we worked so hard, why we ate beans so much, so you could all be professionals. She shouldn't call her son so much, he can't get any work done, they told her, we just want what's best for you.

    Her son-in-law had gotten a promotion. And a transfer. So far away. They were all far away now, her children. They would try to come at Christmas. She sat on the bed, not her bed. They sold her bed, sold the little house, so she could be here, in this place. The nurse was smiling, friendly. How about a bath this morning?
  11. As per usual, perfection! Thank you Shimma, you are amazing.