I have never eaten at a five star restaurant and I doubt I ever will. Truth be told I have never wanted to and at this stage in my life, I doubt seriously that I ever will. Without a doubt the best meals I have eaten are those which have been set around the tables of my family and in my mind they have surpassed far and above those which are offered by the finest five star restaurants in the world. However there is one meal that will forever stand in my heart as the best meal I have ever had and I ate it in of all places a hospital bed.
When I was thirty-eight years old, my collar bone was badly shattered and the only means of it healing was reconstruction surgery. I had been extremely blessed in that I had never before undergone any sort of surgical procedure, nor had I ever before been admitted to the hospital for any reason. At that point in my life my exposure to hospitals had been limited to my youngest sister's stays as well as the frequent stays of my grandpa. And while it goes without saying I was not looking forward to having surgery, the pain was so intense I welcomed any procedure that would offer relief.
The morning of my surgery my parents picked me up and not only drove me to the hospital but stayed with me throughout the entire procedure. Initially they were told my surgery would take about forty-five minutes, however it ended up taking several hours as they damage turned out to be far worse than the doctor thought. The first thing I remember was being wheeled out into the hall and seeing my parents waiting for me and my mom taking my hand. There was a bit of a delay in getting me to my room, so dad told mom to go talk a walk and he would wait with me. Eventually I was wheeled down the brightly lite hallway dad following closely behind.
When we arrived at my room and I was transferred to the bed where I would be spending the night, I was brought a tray of food which they told me I needed to eat. It was the most horrific looking tray of "food" intended for human consumption that I ever saw and in truth I remember thinking I had seen dog food I would have found more pleasing to look at. The tray included watery, lumpy cream of mushroom soup, orange jello, chocolate pudding and some sort of beverage which at this point in time escapes my memory. I think it goes without saying that I wanted nothing to do with the tray of food that had been set before me; however the nurse convinced my dad it was necessary I eat at least a part of what they had brought.
As soon as the nurse left the room I told dad I didn't want anything to eat and asked him to take the tray away. He said he would but only after I ate a little bit. I still made no effort to eat and deciding to take matters into his own hands, dad sat down on the bed beside me, picked up the spoon that laid untouched on the tray and began to feed me while he talked to me. As I started eating the food tasted even worse than it looked but the funny thing is the taste improved with each spoonful dad fed to me. There I was at thirty-eight years old with my daddy spoon feeding me, something I don't even know if he did when I was a baby. By the time I had finished what had begun as the worst meal of my life had turned into the sweetest, most memorable meal I had ever eaten.
Today my dad would have turned seventy-seven years old and I still miss him terribly; in fact it seems to me the longer he is gone the more I miss him. I will always be sad that our time together was so short but I am thankful for the time we did have and the sweetness of the memories I have of that time. We must hold our loved ones tight and cherish each moment we have together being ever mindful that we never know when we are in the midst of living a moment if it will become one of our most cherished treasures.
Until we meet here again, I pray God bless you and keep your loved ones safe.