Literary Zone

Poetry—The Wooden Bowl

21 January 2009 at 05:21 | 1080 views

The Wooden Bowl

By Josephine Ansumana, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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 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 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 someone.
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.
I am not going to be the one who let’s it die. I found it
believable —
angels have walked beside me all my life—and they still
do.

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