Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Week(s) (02/10/11)
TITLE: A Memorable Sundae
By Cherry Bieber
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It was Valentine’s Day and my son had been invited to play piano for the party held for the elderly at our local nursing home where he plays piano every Friday. When we arrived, the main area was filled with residents, some sleeping soundly and some waiting expectantly for him to start playing. The atmosphere was filled with the typical heaviness noted in these end-of-life waiting rooms of our society. As the music began, one could feel the heaviness lift a bit. One resident wheeled his chair over closer to the piano and requested something “lively.” Our son, a very God-gifted pianist who plays mostly by ear, gratified the man with an upbeat tune created on the spot. My heart was filled with joy as I saw the pleasure in the elderly gentleman’s eyes and then noted that several of those who had been sleeping were awakening and smiled with approval of the tune he was playing. Before long, a young woman came through pushing a cart containing the fixings for ice cream sundaes. I watched as she went from chair to chair offering the choices of flavors and other toppings. Those aging eyes lit up as they slowly savored their sundaes accompanied by the sweet, lilting music from the piano…and then it happened…
It had been a long, hard three months. First was Mom’s heart attack and subsequent catheterization, which led to her nearly bleeding to death. From that point on, it seemed to be one hit after another. I was losing my mother. She was weaker by day. One day in particular about four days following another release from the hospital, I had to take her in for an appointment with the doctor. When I arrived at her home, I was blessed to see her smiling and looking better than she had since the heart attack, although she was still quite weak. I had that warm, sweet sensation that we were going to have a wonderful day.
With the appointment over, we headed down the road toward her home when she said with a soft smile, “You know what I would like?”
“What would you like, Mom?” I asked, glancing over to see her beautiful face with that warm, soft glow. “I am at your service.”
“Ice cream.” She said simply. “I would like some ice cream.” Mom always enjoyed ice cream, but hadn’t had a taste for it since the heart attack, so I was encouraged by her request.
Because she was still too weak to walk, I searched for and found a drive up ice cream shop. She ordered a chocolate sundae. We sat in silence for a time just enjoying the simplicity of our sundaes. As I watched her, it seemed to me that she looked much younger sitting there and I knew that the moment was engraved on my memory forever. Mom had a stroke and died four weeks later.
The sound of “Topsy Turvey,” one of my son’s most recent piano creations brought me back to the moment. I watched with increased satisfaction as the beautiful elderly men and women savored their sundaes and I noted that my eyes saw each one of them looking somewhat younger than they had twenty minutes before. I was especially warmed by the presence of those whose grown children had come to spend the day with them and I prayed that the Lord would engrave the sweetness of the moment on their memories to be recalled at a later time as salve to their souls and ease their loss.
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