Sunday, March 25, 2007

For Whom the Bells Toll

I live in an old folks home.  It is called "assisted living"..

A short time ago, as we remember it, we were independent, real people, who earned a living, kept a house, fed ourselves and our children  our grandchildren even.  We dressed ourselves, we drove, we shopped, we went to movies, even R rated ones if we chose.

Now we merely gather three times a day and someone prepares and brings us food.  It is like magic.  We sit, and food magically appears on the table before us.  We don't have to think how that happens...usually.  What humans are back there in the kitchen serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

What if...those humans, being human, have events small or large, that prevent their coming to feed US?  What if they are busy feeding themselves or their children?  What happens to US? Alas, today we found out.

Only ONE cook and ONE servers showed up to feed the EIGHTY of us.  You know what cups remained unfilled, some people got oatmeal and some got nothing, waits were interminable.  So eighty of us, who used to take care of ourselves and others, were suddenly HELPLESS. HEAVENS! Without a waiter we may starve.

So what happened?

Some waited patiently and said nothing.  I am proud to say I was silent, though just how patient I was, I will not state.  Others grumbled and complained loudly. "That table was served, and we have nothing." And one even got up and walked into the kitchen to complain to the cook.  That did no good, complaining to the cook who DID show up, about the cook that DID NOT.  Just slowed things even more.

Eventually everyone got something to eat...I think.  But the morning adventure made me helpless we are, we who once were able to take care of ourselves and others.  We who ran the utilities, the airlines, fought the wars, governed the nation, can scarcely find our own food. 

Those of you who are living normal lives, scraping together a living, micro waving your frozen dinners, savor your independence.  Send not to know for whom the bells toll... they toll for thee. 



madcobug said...

I'm glad everyone finally got something to eat. I hope more people show up to cook and serve the other meals for today. We have made use of the frozen dinners here the last couple of weeks since Ken has had his surgery and my back is acting up really bad. Things could be worse for us. Hope your afternoon goes well. Helen

msecz said...

thanks Chuck for reminding me of my blessings..... sometimes I have things I try not to grumble about too. take care. Sandra

garnett109 said...

People do get sick , unfortunately when it happens in the health care system, people don't get the quality care they so deserve.

jckfrstross said...

oh man what would they have done if no one showed up? hope your day gets better


tellsg said...

Aw shame that two people didn't turn up.  Its a shame when that happens and puts everything out of sync.  I hope the rest of the day went better for you all.  Hugs, Terry x

desannie said...

Alas Charles, it's happened here too.  I'll bet it's common among all facilities of this type.  One morning I went in to breakfast to find that the morning cook had not shown up and the assistant director was cooking!  Also, there have many a time when the waitstaff have not shown up and we find the director, assistant director and anyone else who will "volunteer" serving.  We recently got a new head chef and had great expectations of him.  But they hobbled him with a sharp cut in the food budget, so the quality of the food has gone down.  Annie

pharmolo said...

Salutary warning, it may happen to any of us - sooner or later :-\

jocalodave said...

Helpless? Not the Chuck I know.

You're just using a minor inconvenience as a writing prompt -- and with your usual effectiveness, I must say.

But having only a fraction of ones servants show up on a given day is definitely NOT a bad day in the scheme of things.

Katrina was a bad day. 911 was a bad day. And, in your life (and too many others who have served our country in times of real trouble, March 5, 1943 was a very bad day.

If it were up to me, Chuck, those who've sacrificed far less than you for our country would get crepes Suzette or whatever they want for breakfast every day -- they'd be first in line, or served in bed, if they wish.

On the other hand, next time you find yourself in this situation, I say order out -- and present the tab to your management.

Better yet, if I'm back in town, give me a call and I'll take you to IHOP -- my treat. By my reckoning, about 300 million of us owe you a lot more than a breakfast, so feel free to collect whenever you like.

And if we ever get into REAL trouble again, I have a feeling that you won't prove to be as helpless as you claim. You've still got what it takes. And when it comes to independence . . . well, you are one of the most independent THINKERS I've met.

Have a better day tomorrow -- and if you don't, count your blessings and make the most of the one you get.


kateh2ocolorart said...

I thought dB's comments were fabulous, down to the last dotted i and crossed t....
And...I loved the suggestion made to order in and charge it to the owner!
AND....I laughed because you didn't scooter across the street enmass to IHOP!
I guess the ombudsman should hear about this though!
Love, Kate
P.S.  Maybe in addition to talking watches, you could sell plates of microwaved waffles and cups of juice from your doorway!  ;-)

tendernoggle said...

aww Chuck..wish I could have been there...your breakfast probably would not have been of the healthy, lean, no salt,and no flavor type...but at least you would have gotten it! ( And I beliee you would have liked it...I am a pretty good cook, if I do say so myself! :-)
Hope tomorrow is better!...
love ya,

monponsett said...

Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet... I would have took 4 grandmothers and fed the lot of you.... Catholics know all about feeding huge scores of people, which is where beef stew came about.