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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 15 January 2002 Issue

Wooden Bowl

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 cup, coffee 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 coffee, 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, 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 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 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 cheeksThough 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, coffee 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 three things: a rainy day, 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 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.

I've learned to regard, respect, protect and share this planet with all living creatures.

Humans as well as companion animals love a human touch -- gentle hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

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

Return to Animals in Print 15 Jan 2002 Issue

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