70: Food for Thought

70: Food for Thought

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grand and Great

Food for Thought

A child needs a grandparent,
anybody’s grandparent, to grow a little more securely into an unfamiliar world.

~Charles and Ann Morse

Heart failure had robbed her of her husband, and now macular degeneration was stealing her eyesight and osteoporosis was plundering her body.

I worried about my elderly neighbor’s loneliness and her diet. Lack of appetite and motivation kept Gwen from cooking. More than a quiet street separated the two of us. Her life had been derailed, while mine was a locomotive on a fast track as I raised a house full of kids and maintained a demanding time schedule to match. So I turned to Koy, our little redheaded caboose, for help.

“Do you think you can carry these muffins over to Mrs. Potter’s?”

“I fink I can,” he nodded.

With me watching from our front door and Gwen waiting at hers, three-year-old Koy cautiously crossed the street, carrying the plate of fragrant goodies. And so began their long relationship.

“I fink Grandma Potter needs me,” he would say. Or, “Don’t you fink Grandma Potter wants some of those cookies?” And, “I fink Grandma Potter likes cupcakes.” Then off he would go, thoughtfully bearing a plate of this or a sandwich bag of that, and always taking time to settle in for a nice little talk. Well, Koy talked; Gwen listened. A lonely last child; a lonesome lost widow.

Those regular visits continued through the years, sometimes at her invitation and other times at his instigation. As his age, sensitivity and caregiving expertise grew, Koy did more than take food. He ran her errands, did light chores and drove her to doctor appointments. On prom night, he and his date even dashed through the rain to model their finery before an admiring Grandma Potter.

Finally, as we stood arm-in-arm in the street waving Koy off to college, Gwen turned to me.

“I’m certainly going to miss that young man and his visits. You know, when he was little, he rarely came empty-handed.”

I nodded agreement, remembering all the baking I used to do.

“But, when you didn’t send something, our little Koy must have raided the pantry.” She winked. “No matter what, he always took good care of me.”

“What do you mean?”

“Over he would come, his pocket filled with raisins, pretzels, popcorn or even Cheerios. Whatever he could scavenge.”

I laughed in motherly embarrassment. “Oh, good grief.” I could just imagine grubby little boy hands and fists full of crumbs. “What did you do?”

“Why, I got out a serving plate,” she smiled at the memory. “I watched as he proudly piled his offerings on the kitchen table. Then... well... then the two of us sat down and ate them, pocket lint and all.”

~Carol McAdoo Rehme
Chicken Soup for the Caregiver’s Soul

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