The Scar

Many years ago, Edith and her husband had scrimped up to save enough money to buy a beautiful, dark, luxurious, bureau for their family. They needed a place to store clothes and this was to be the perfect piece of furniture. After all, with two children at home and three more to eventually join the family, it was a necessity in the small Philly row home.

A few years later as all the children were in their teen years, Edith was about to put some away some clothes when suddenly she felt her heart drop and the clothes fall from her hands. There on the face of the beautiful bureau, the one they had saved for and cherished for years, was a horrible, jagged gouge.

A family meeting led to the children admitting they were playing and a toy was thrown and the gouge was the result. Edith remembers being so angry and wondering how they could do that to the precious bureau. However, she shortly found it in her heart to forgive the kids.

The years went by and the kids moved away. Her husband passed on and she was left alone in the row home. She didn't have much in the way of money but what she did have she shared with the neighborhood kids at Halloween and Christmas. Neighbors remembered she never had a cross word for or about anyone. She loved to sit outside on her front stoop and watch the kids play in the street.

Sometimes they might get carried away with their screaming and racing up and down the street playing kick ball and whatever game sprang up. Parents would sometimes come outside and yell at them to keep the noise down and to stop bothering Edith who was now elderly. She would always wave and smile and say let them be kids. They were no bother to her.

One very hot day when the kids were being especially noisy and rambunctious, one of Edith's neighbors came outside to yell at them to quiet down. Edith was sitting outside so the neighbor invited her to come to her house to chat a while. She knew she didn't have air conditioning and she always tried to have Edith visit when the temperatures soared.

They were sitting and talking when the neighbor once again apologized for her kids being so noisy. Edith got a faraway look in her eyes and she said she wanted to tell her a story. She went on to tell her about the bureau, how they had saved to buy it and then how the kids had put a gouge into it and scarred it.

Then her voice got soft and she said, "At least once a week, I go into the upstairs, back bedroom where we keep the bureau. It's still there. I go to it because, as you know, my husband is dead and the kids are grown and have moved all over the country. So, I go to the bureau and I rub the scar left in the wood by the kids. And, when I do, it's as if I can see and remember all the wonderful times my husband, kids and I had together back then. Often, when I'm touching that scar, I hear your kids playing outside. I wouldn't trade the memories of my family or the sound of your kids playing for all the money in the world."

Edith passed on years ago. The neighbor never forgot the story and told it on to me. I'm passing it on to you because I know that the people who read this blog are spending lots of time working on their careers and their businesses. Sometimes it's easy to lose track of time – to lose track of what's really important in our lives.

The next time your tempted to cancel that trip with the family, work those extra hours, or even yell at your kids to be quiet – maybe you'll think of Edith, the bureau, and the scar that turned out to be a work of art.

I like to think Edith would have liked that.

4 thoughts on “The Scar”

  1. Here’s another ending.
    “The next time you’re tempted to decline that employee’s request for time off to see her daughter’s play, or insist on night and weekend work to make that project deadline that you promised somebody, or even yell at your employees to get with the (your) program (and go home and take it out on their spouse and kids) — maybe you’ll think of Edith, the bureau, and the scar that turned out to be a work of art.”

  2. That story brought tears to my eyes. With 2 young kids and a young business that is making me increasingly busy, that story is just what I need to make me take stock.
    thanks,Bob, a great post as usual.

  3. Wow…what a touching story….we all do at times forget the ones we love with our lives being so hectic….great timing with the holiday season approaching.
    Thanks for helping us all remember the true reason for family.

  4. That made me remember Edith so vividly, and brought tears to my eyes as well. She was a wonderful person. God rest her beautiful soul.
    Thank you for the delicious pitzels Edith.

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