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Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Gift of a Glove

My mother is spending a week with us, so we can celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday together. Bow and my mother have a special relationship, one that has grown over the years. When I first started Project Bow, my mother was not thrilled about it, but as Bow has  matured, while he's alienated a lot of people, surprisingly he has won my mother over.

My mother spoke to us over the phone before her visit this year, and she told Bow she was going to bring him a present when she came. Sure, enough, on the first day of the visit, my mother announced that she had a gift for Bow. At first, Bow did not seem interested, but after a while he took my hand and spelled out, rather primly, that he would like to see the present after all.

My mother brought out a little plastic elephant, and eventually, I passed it along to Bow. He accepted the gift, put it aside, and then proceeded to interact with my mother. In time, he played with the elephant, although the playing mostly consisted of mouthing it. Every once in a while the elephant lost part of its anatomy: the tip of its tail, then each of its tusks, then some part of a foot.

Did Bow enjoy the present? Yes, but he seemed to enjoy more the fact that my mother had given it to him. That was on Tuesday.

The next day at breakfast, my mother had two other gifts for Bow. One was a small piece of chocolate. (She had shared the same kind of chocolate with me and Sword the night before, after Bow went to bed.) The second gift was a small metallic packet of peanuts that she got on the airplane on the way here. Bow had trouble opening the packet, but he appreciated the peanuts very much. He actually went out of his way to say "Thank you, Grandma."

This morning, Thanksgiving Day, my mother came into the pens for breakfast carrying a small cardboard box, and Bow kept looking at it all during breakfast. Finally, after the meal was over, he motioned that he had something to say, then took my hand and spelled: "Why doesn't Grandma give Bow the present?"

My mother had no idea what he was talking about. "What present?" Then we realized that Bow probably thought the package she had carried in with her this morning was a present for him. My mother hastened to explain: "No, Bow this isn't a present. These are just some things I need to help me prepare the turkey."

Bow was reluctant to accept this explanation, but he eventually let the subject go.

All morning long, my mother worked on the Thanksgiving Feast in the kitchen, and Bow was very impatient. (My main culinary contribution of the day was the boiled eggs I prepared in advance to help tide us over.)

When my mother announced that the meal was ready and I started carrying the food in, Bow emitted lots of excited food cries. Nobody appreciates food as much as Bow.

After the meal, when Sword had already left to do her own thing, my mother and I stayed and talked about how tender the turkey had been this year, and my mother, picking up the oven mitt that was lying on the table, said: "This is a really good oven mitt. I would buy one for myself, but I seldom cook anymore."  (It was an oven mitt she had given me a few years back, an 'Ove' Glove. ) And then we talked about a lot of other things, family memories, previous meals, while Bow chewed his cud happily.

After about an hour of this, Bow motioned for me to come in with him, because he had something to say. He took my hand and spelled: "Give Grandma a present."

This surprised me. "You think I should give Grandma a present?"


"What should I give her?"

He spelled in Hebrew:   ".תני לה דוקא כפפה"

The word davka is one that is hard to translate. Bow had said: "Give her davka a glove." Now roughly translated, that means: "It's exactly a glove that you should give her!" or "Of all the things you should give her, a glove is the one." Or "In fact, it's a glove you should give her." There's no such word as davka in English, but that's what it means.

My mother and I exchanged glances. "I think he means the oven mitt, " I said. I pointed at the mitt and asked: "Is this the glove I should give her?"

"Yes," Bow spelled.

I went over to the other side and presented my mother with the glove. "Bow would like you to have this as a present."

"Thank you, Bow," my mother said. "That's so thoughtful of you!"


  1. I enjoyed reading about your family's Thanksgiving. Bow is really thoughtful towards your mom, his grandma.

  2. Thanks, Jewel and the Sun. He can be thoughtful, sometimes, and we cherish those moments as a family.