Berkeley's Sandwich


Stuck! After an hour of effort, I was completely bored with everything I'd written. Blah! If the content was a snore to me, I could not expect it to interest my readers. I erased everything because what I'd just written was sort of like being on a bad date. You know the kind where you desperately want to check your watch to see how much longer you both have to endure tedious chit chat before employing exit strategies.

Whatever was wrong, I knew it needed to be fixed. But how? Maybe, I told myself, maybe I’m trying too hard to be exciting and scintillating. (I love that word, scintillating; but everything in life isn’t brilliant and dancing with lights.) What, I asked myself, do people really want to read?

I wasn’t sure I knew the answer completely; but I do know this, people are desperate for something to bring a smile to their faces. I decided to daydream until something made me feel happy.

The first thing to make me smile seemed awfully ordinary, but the memory was gentle and sweet. Our world needs a little more gentle and sweet; so here goes.

After relocating back to the Northwest, I worked from my parents’ house for several months. My office was their upstairs landing – previously mom’s sewing station.

Soon after I arrived and upon my insistence, Mom and Dad took advantage of my presence to take a well-deserved vacation. I could easily get Berkeley, my brother with Down Syndrome, off to work and be there for him when he arrived home each day.

Berkeley is fun and entertaining, but his Down Syndrome causes him to tire easily. And to say he has a regimen is a bit of an understatement.

After 49 years of parenting (including all of us older kids who were, I’m sure, a delight each and every day of our young lives), I felt my parents deserved some time away without children.

The week flowed along smoothly until Thursday at lunch time. Thursday was Berkeley’s day off; and at precisely 12:00 noon, he climbed the stairs to my “office” and said, “What’s for lunch?”

Arghh! I was in the middle of a huge project and did not have time to stop and make him lunch.

“Oh Berkeley, I’m really, really busy right now. Do you think you could make yourself a sandwich?”

His forehead furrowed while he thought it over, and then he answered. “Yes, honey! Yes!”

“Oh that’s great, sweetie. I’m really busy.”

As he turned to leave, I realized I was hungry too. “Do you think you could make a sandwich for Laura? Maybe a cheese sandwich?”

This took more thinking because everything processes slowly for him.

Then he smiled, “Sure honey.”

“With pickles?”

“Sure, sure! Be right back.” He patted me on the shoulder and was gone. Below I heard sounds of cupboards opening and closing and a jar scraping across the counter and then his feet padding up the stairs behind me.

In one hand he carried a plate with a cheese sandwich cut perfectly in half. A small pile of crackers sat beside the sandwich. In his other hand he carried a glass of water.

“For you, honey."

Maybe Berkeley’s careful cutting of the sandwich or the addition of crackers and a glass of water were what made my lunch extra special that day; but even now, as I finish writing this blog, I’m smiling.

#sandwich

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