The Silver Sugar Bowl

The Silver Sugar Bowl

From Chicken Soup for the Grandparent's Soul

The Silver Sugar Bowl

The love of my family is my estate.

Horatio Nelson

I was traveling home to New Hampshire after visiting with my grandma and grandpa.

While waiting to go through security at the airport, I noticed an older lady in front of me struggling to open her carry-on bag. Apparently, there was something in her bag that looked “strange” on the X ray.

After emptying everything on to the table, she pulled out a silver sugar bowl. The security inspector checked it over and then waived her through. As she struggled to repack her things, I offered to assist her. We got everything back into her bag, but the unpacking and packing had made her rather upset. I tried to calm her down, and we headed towards the gate.

We looked at our boarding passes and realized that we were sitting next to each other on the plane.

We talked about many things during our three-hour flight, including our families. She told me that she was going to visit her great-grandson. His wife had just given birth to her first great-great-granddaughter, and she just had to get to Vermont to see her before it was “too late.”

“You see, I have cancer,” she explained, “and I’m not going to be around for much longer. I just want to be able to see my new grandchild and give her parents the silver sugar bowl. It’s been in our family for many, many years. My great-great-grandmother gave it to my father more than eighty years ago.”

She looked up toward the overhead bin where I had put her bag and the bowl.

“Yes,” she continued, “that bowl may be well-worn from all of the loving hands that have polished it over the years, but it’s part of our family and it has to be given in person.”

As we were talking, I discovered that I actually knew her great-grandson. He was a vendor at the small store I was working in at the time.

Walking off the plane, I thanked her for the most enjoyable conversation.

With a twinkle in her eye, she agreed, “Yes, dear, the time seemed to fly right by.”

I carried her bag for her and she held on to my arm as we approached the arrival area. She was met by her great-grandson and her new great-great-granddaughter who was honored with the same name as her great-great-grandmother, Marion.

The luster and shine of the silver sugar bowl seemed to return as the family embraced. Tears streamed down the old woman’s cheeks when she saw little Marion’s smiling face reflected in the small vessel.

I wished them a wonderful visit, and I didn’t see her great-grandson until two or three weeks later. He told me how much his great-grandmother had enjoyed our “little talk.” When I asked how she was doing, he told me that sadly she had passed away just one week after she arrived.

Apparently, only days before, she had written down the history of the silver sugar bowl for little Marion in the hope that one day she, too, would pass her family’s precious heirloom on to the next generation like her great-great-grandmother Marion had done with her—in person.

Karen Carr

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