Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sunday.... Some thoughts fer y'all....

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 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.

....and If'n ya believe in such........I do......



by Catherine Moore

'Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!' My

father yelled at me. 'Can't you do anything right?'

Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my

head toward the elderly man in the seat beside

me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in

my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared

for another battle. 'I saw the car, Dad. Please

don't yell at me when I'm driving.' My voice was

measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I

really felt.

Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled

back. At home I left Dad in front of the television

and went outside to collect my thoughts. Dark,

heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of

rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to

echo my inner turmoil.

What could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and

Oregon. He had enjoyed being outdoors and

had reveled in pitting his strength against the

forces of nature. He had entered grueling

lumberjack competitions, and had placed

often. The shelves in his house were filled

with trophies that attested to his prowess.

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time

he couldn't lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but

later that same day I saw him outside alone,

straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever

anyone teased him about his advancing age, or

when he couldn't do something he had done as

a younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had

a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the

hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to

keep blood and oxygen flowing. At the hospital,

Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was

lucky; he survived.

But something inside Dad died. His zest for life

was gone. He obstinately refused to follow

doctor's orders. Suggestions and offers of help

were turned aside with sarcasm and insults.

The number of visitors thinned, then finally

stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.

My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live

with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh

air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust.

Within a week after he moved in, I regretted

the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory.

He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated

and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger

out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue. Alarmed,

Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation.

The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments

for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking

God to soothe Dad's troubled mind. But the months

wore on and God was silent.

Something had to be done and it was up to me to do


The next day I sat down with the phone book and

methodically called each of the mental health clinics

listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem

to each of the sympathetic voices that answered. In


Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices

suddenly exclaimed, 'I just read something that might

help you! Let me go get the article.' I listened as she

read. The article described a remarkable study done

at a nursing home. All of the patients were under

treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes

had improved dramatically when they were given

responsibility for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After

I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer

led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant

stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens.

Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired

dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs

all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each

one but rejected one after the other for various

reasons -too big, too small, too much hair. As I

neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the

far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the

front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer,

one of the dog world's aristocrats. But this was

a caricature of the breed. Years had etched his

face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hipbones

jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes

that caught band held my attention. Calm and clear,

they beheld me unwaveringly.

I pointed to the dog. 'Can you tell me about him?'

The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement.

'He's a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat

in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring

someone would be right down to claim him. That was

two weeks ago and we've heard nothing. His time is

up tomorrow.' He gestured helplessly.

As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. 'You

mean you're going to kill him?'

'Ma'am,' he said gently, 'that's our policy. We don't

have room for every unclaimed dog.'

I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown

eyes awaited my decision. 'I'll take him,' I said.

I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside


When I reached the house I honked the horn twice.

I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad

shuffled onto the front porch. 'Ta-da! Look what I

got for you, Dad!' I said excitedly.

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. 'If I

had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I

would have picked out a better specimen than

that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it' Dad

waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward

the house.

Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my

throat muscles and pounded into my temples.

'You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's staying!'

Dad ignored me. 'Did you hear me, Dad?' I

screamed. At those words Dad whirled angrily,

his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed

and blazing with hate.

We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when

suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp.

He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front

of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw.

Dad's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted

paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The

pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees

hugging the animal.

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship.

Dad named the pointer Cheyenne. Together he and

Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long

hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective

moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty

trout. They even started to attend Sunday services

together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying

quietly at his feet.

Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the

next three years. Dad's bitterness faded, and he and

Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night

I was startled to feel Cheyenne's cold nose burrowing

through our bed covers. He had never before come

into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put on my

robe and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his

bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly

sometime during the night.

Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I

discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad's bed. I

wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on.

As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I

silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me

in restoring Dad's peace of mind.

The morning of Dad's funeral dawned overcast and dreary.

This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked

down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was

surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had

made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It

was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed

his life. And then the pastor turned to

Hebrews 13:2. 'Be not forgetful to entertain strangers.'

'I've often thanked God for sending that angel,' he said.

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle

that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that

had just read the right article...

Cheyenne's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter. . .

his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father. .

and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood.

I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.

Thanks to Pat frum A Day in the Life...PRH, and Sue Gertson fer the above messages...