Caring for Others
"Good morning," I yelled as I came into the room. "What are you yelling for?" Mr. Frederickson hollered back. "Oh, I am so sorry, sir," I said, setting the tray down on the table in front of him. "Sure, sure," he said, waving his hand for me to leave. I quickly grabbed his trash can to empty as I left the room. As I came back into the room, he glared at me as he picked up the green dome that was covering his breakfast. "How do they call this food?" he asked, looking at me, setting down his now empty trash can. "I'm not sure, sir," I whispered, knowing what he meant. The bacon barely cooked, the sausages were rubbery, and the pancakes for today looked grayish colored. "Well, maybe one day you will bring me something worth eating," he said, shoving his tray away from himself with his gnarled, weathered hands. I moved on to the next room, bringing trays of the same food to each person, with a minor complaint from the rest of the residents. "So, what's up with Mr. Frederickson?" I asked the nurse in charge for the day. She was a stout, meaning looking woman. She had worked at the nursing home for many years and knew all the residents. "What do you mean?" she asked curtly, still looking down at the chart she had in her hand." "Well, he seems furious about the food," I said.
"Oh yes, he used to be some sort of chef in the city," she said as she walked away.
Prior to the lunch meal, I grabbed some ingredients from the kitchen and made a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Maybe I could cheer him up a bit with at least one thing that I knew how to make. I placed a cookie lovingly on his plate with a note that said, "hope this helps you to have a better day."
As I approached his room, I could feel my heart pounding in my chest in anticipation of giving Mr. Frederickson the treat. Would he like it or still throw his tray away from himself? My heart beat more as I went into his room and set the tray on the table in front of him. As usual, he lifted the green dome off his lunch, and to my surprise, he smiled. "What is this?" he said as he picked up the note. "Just a little something to brighten your day," I said with a smile as I left the room. Before I walked out the doorway, I turned around to see Mr. Frederickson bite into the cookie and close his eyes.
I handed out cookies to all the residents on the rest of the floor with their trays of lunch. I heard a lot of thanks and a few 'God Bless you' from the residents. ###
The following day, I made a special omelet before I left the house, with eggs, ham, cheese, onions, and green peppers. After I arrived at work, I heated the omelet and placed it on Mr. Frederickson's plate before quickly covering it with the green dome. "Good morning, Mr. Frederickson," I said as I entered this room with his breakfast tray. "Oh, good morning, my dear," he said, smiling. I couldn't believe my eyes; Mr. Frederickson was actually smiling. He was smiling at me. Not looking all mean and in a nasty mood. "Here is your breakfast. I hope you like it. I made it special for you," I said proudly. He quickly tore off the green dome and took a huge whiff of the omelet. He sighed before grabbing a forkful and shoveling it into his mouth. "Amazing," he said, smiling. I curtsied dramatically, saying, "why thank you." "Looking forward to our lunch date today," Mr. Frederickson said with a smile as he continued to eat his omelet. I delivered the rest of the trays and went down to the kitchen to whip up a batch of hamburgers and fries for the residents for the day. I had purchased the ingredients the night before and was happy to help make our residents happy. ###
With my trays of cheeseburgers, slathered in mayo, ketchup, with crisp lettuce and juicy slices of tomato, along with crispy fresh French fries, I headed down the corridor and stopped at Mr. Frederickson's room first. I knocked and heard him sing out, "Come in."
"Good afternoon," I said as I brought his tray to the table in front of him. He was grinning at me. "Good afternoon, my dear," he said and grasped my hand with his gnarled fingers, brining it to his lips. I felt his chapped lips against my skin. I blushed; my cheeks felt hot beneath my embarrassment. "I guess you are feeling good today," I said as I grabbed the garbage near his bed. "I am and what did you bring me today?" Mr. Frederickson asked as he uncovered the plate. The steam rising from the hot food underneath. He put his nose close to the burger and sniffed deeply. He sighed before setting down the green dome. "This looks and smells fantastic," he said, picking up a French fry and popping it into his mouth. He leaned back against the mattress of his bed, sighing, almost moaning. "You made these perfect," he said with a smile. "Thank you," he said before taking a big bite of the cheeseburger, mayonnaise leaking out from the edges of his mouth. I walked over and grabbed a tissue, dabbing at the corner of his mouth. He gently caressed my arm as I cleaned off his face. "This is a wonderful surprise every day. I finally have something to live for again," he said with a smile, as I smiled back, wiping his mouth. Written by Stacy Brevard-Mays
Stacy Brevard-Mays is a mother, wife and entrepreneur. She spends her days publishing books under her new publishing company, Hear Our Voice. When she is not editing work, you can find her in the South Carolina sun with her family or writing at her desk.
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