A Wooden Bowl 一只木碗

有一个虚弱的老人,他的手有颤抖的毛病;他的眼睛也看不清,所有的东西对他来说都是模糊不清的;他的行动不便,走路拖拖拉拉。就是这样的一个老人与他的儿子、儿媳妇、和一个四岁的小孙子一起住。

全家人在一起吃饭,但是这个老人因为手又抖,眼又看不清,吃饭对他来说已经不是一件容易的事了。小豌豆从他的勺子里掉到地上;当他要拿杯子喝牛奶的时候,他把牛奶撒在桌布上......

眼看他把一顿美餐弄得那么乱七八糟,他的儿子和儿媳妇就感到不耐烦了。“对我爸,我们应该有些规定啦”,那儿子说。“我看够了他不断地打翻牛奶,听够了他吃饭像猪吃食的声音,更看够了他把菜撒满一地的状态了!”

于是这对小夫妻就在一个房间的角落里放了一张小桌子,让这位当爷爷的老人独自一个人在那里吃饭,而家里的其他人都在餐厅的餐桌上享受美餐。因为爷爷颤抖的手不至一次地打破了碗碟,所以给爷爷吃的东西就都放在一个木碗里了。

虽然爷爷吃饭的形象已经从家庭的饭桌上移去了,但是时而可以看到爷爷单独一人吃饭时眼睛里的泪水。餐桌上的交谈已经没有爷爷的份了,小夫妇在爷爷吃饭时仅有的对话就是当爷爷把叉子掉在地上或者把菜撒到地上时的严厉斥责。

那四岁的孙子默默地把这一切都看在眼里。

一天,在快要吃晚餐的时候,看到他四岁的儿子在地上玩弄一些木块。那当爸爸的就很兴致勃勃地问儿子,“儿子,你在做什么好东西啊?”那四岁的孩子很天真地 对他说,“我在给你和妈妈做个木碗,当我长大以后,你们可以用它来吃东西。”他给他的爸爸一个那种幼儿所特有的微笑后,又继续他那木工。

这简单的儿语,对这小夫妇却是沉重的一击,他们俩无言回答,只有眼泪从眼睛里涌出来。小夫妇相互没有说一句话,但是大家心里都明白下一步该做什么。

那天晚餐的时候,小夫妇温柔地搀着爷爷的手,把爷爷请回到家庭的餐桌来一起用餐。在爷爷以后的日子里,他每一餐饭都是与家人一起在餐厅的餐桌上用餐。小夫妇再也不在乎爷爷把叉子掉地上、把牛奶打翻、把桌布弄脏,也不在乎爷爷把菜撒在地上了。

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, his steps 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 put your food in 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 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 was soiled.