The Wooden Bowl
The family ate together at the table.
But the elderly granmother's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off her spoon onto the floor. When she grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.
"We must do something about mother," said the daughter. "I've had enough of her spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor."
So the wife and husband set a small table in the corner. There, grandmother ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since grandmother had broken a dish or two, her food was served in a wooden bowl.
When the family glanced in grandmother's direction, sometimes she had a tear in her eye as she sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for her were sharp admonitions when she dropped a fork or spilled food.
The four-year-old granddaughter watched it all in silence.
One evening before supper, the mother noticed her young daughter playing with wood scraps on the floor.
She asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?"
Just as sweetly, the girl responded: "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Father to eat your food in when I grow up." Then 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 mother took grandmother's hand and gently led her back to the family table. For the remainder of her days she ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither wife nor husband seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.