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Behind the Grindstone: Bernice

By Bill Bunting

May 10, 2024

We met Bernice along the way as we traveled across the country helping start or supporting Cowboy Churches. Bernice was an elderly widow lady living alone on a small plot of land in rural America. She loved going for slow drives in her car and tending her flower garden. After she was admitted to the nursing home ‘Ole Cheryl would often stop by for a visit.

She sets in the hallway
Bernice is her name
A chair at the corner
Every day is just the same

“I like this old corner
More people walkin’ by
I just set here and watch them
While I’m waitin’ to die”

“I sure enjoy your visits girl
You’re the only one
Though your visits seem mighty short
They’re always so much fun”

“I used to enjoy the trips
I took in my old car
But they took my drivers license
So I couldn’t drive it far”

“Then the family came to visit
But they didn’t come to stay
They just came for a visit
And to take my car away”
“And I sure miss my flowers
And the work in my yard
But there at the end
It sure was gettin’ hard”

“And the family thought
The place looked run down
And that I’d be better off
In this home here in town”

“So they put me in this rest home
Where they say I have to stay
Sold my house and my land
Then just moved away”

“I sure miss my friends
And I hope they’re doing well
But when no one comes to visit
It makes it hard to tell”

“Show me to your room
I said with a smile
Maybe we can sit
And talk for a while”

“You can show me family pictures
And talk of days of old
I know you must have stories
That are needin’ to be told”

“Oh, there’s nothin’ of mine
In my room she said
Just a chair or two
And a hospital bed”

“I didn’t bring anything
Of mine on that day
They sold it all at auction
Took the money and moved away”

“And I like it better
Out here in the hall
There’s lots more to look at
Than a dreary old wall”

“The thing that she told me next
Made me want to cry”
She said, “Girl they don’t bring us here to live
They just bring us here to die”

“And I sure miss my friends
And I hope they’re doin’ well
But no one comes to visit
So it’s really hard to tell”

Well, the chair in the corner is empty
And things just aren’t the same
She has gone to meet her Maker
And Bernice was her name.

Could it be there’s someone in our lives we need to visit today?

At least, that’s the view here from behind the grindstone.

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