I Believe In Eating Ice Cream Without A Spoon

Jarid - City, New York
Entered on May 27, 2010

Age Group: Under 18
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As the nighttime sky rolled in, my sister and I gathered around our flecked kitchen table. Our 90-year-old grandfather had just taken us out for ice cream as a final goodbye before he began his journey back to Queens. I took my usual spot at the table, across from my sister and to the right of whoever happened to be at the head. In this case, it was my grandfather. He rarely comes to spend the evening, so we made the best of our time together. Instead of breaking out into different rooms like we did every other night, we decided it would be best to eat together too.

I sat at the table taking large spoonfuls of my chocolate ice cream and eating it decorously. Most boys at 15 have outgrown the immaturity of eating like a pig or using their shirt as a napkin. However, as I continued to eat, I noticed my sister chuckling from across the table. I looked up and found her covering her mouth, trying to contain her laughter. Her face was as red as a tomato. She was staring straight at my grandfather, who to my surprise had his whole face in the cup of his rainbow colored ice cream, eating it like a dog would eat his or her kibbles.

What I watched confused me tremendously. Why would an old man eat ice cream like that? I had long ago learned that my spoon worked better than my face. I was so surprised and it started to bother me. When he lifted up his face, ice cream was smeared from his nose to his cheeks, dripping down over his chin. My sister continued to laugh even harder. As the watery rainbow ice cream melted from his face and hit the table, I looked at him in a way that must have said, ‘‘You can’t eat like that, you’re 90 years old!’’ He returned the look to me, smiled and winked, as if to assure me what was going on in my head was as audible as a megaphone. From there, he went back down face first into his dessert. After a few more minutes of this insanity in the kitchen, he looked at me and said something so boldly and confidently that it caught me off guard.

“Now, son, this is how you live.”

Those words seemed very little but meant so much. At that moment in time, I realized something. My grandfather and I had switched places. He was Irving Gold, the 16-year-old man, and I was Jarid Rubin, the 90-year-old boy. He was more of a child in that moment, than I ever was, and he loved it. I was judging him, but he was already free from judgment. I understood then that nobody in the world could have taken that away from him.

As I watched him take a deep breath, close his eyes and smile in his chair, I did the same. It became apparent to me that everything in a person’s life is always changing, but their youth can be the one thing that is kept with them forever. From birth to death, old people never lose their youth because youth is the best part of life, and this I believe.