Keep Your Fork – Two True, Very Different Stories!
Story Number One – The Best is Yet to Come!
Attributed to Roger William Thomas
Submitted to Ann Landers by Kay in California
A woman was diagnosed with a terminal illness and given three months to live. She asked her Pastor to come to her home to discuss her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at her funeral, and what scriptures she wanted read, and which outfit she wanted to be buried in.
Then she said, “One more thing… I want to be buried with a fork in my hand.”
The pastor was surprised.
The woman explained, “In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably say to everyone, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite time of the dinner, because I knew something better was coming, like velvety chocolate cake or deep dish apple pie – something wonderful. So, I want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and wonder, ‘ What’s with the fork?’ Then, I want you to tell them, ‘ Keep your fork, because the best is yet to come.’ ”
The pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he bid the woman goodbye. He realized she had a better grasp of heaven than he did, and knew something better was coming.
At the funeral, when people asked him why she was holding a fork, the pastor told them of the conversation he had with the woman before she died. He said he could not stop thinking about the fork, and knew they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right.
“Keep your fork. The best is yet to come.”
Story Number Two – “I Told You to Keep Your Fork!”
Many years ago I was attending a work related conference at a beautiful, rustic but high class Adirondack Mountain Resort in northern New York State with my wife, Lynn.
It was the custom of that resort to import college age men and women to wait tables, bus dirty dishes, greet incoming guests, etc. The clientele of the resort especially enjoyed the Irish dialect or “Brogue” with which they spoke and the gracious demeanor they displayed.
This time, however, the conference was in early May and the Irish workforce had not yet arrived.
The resort used available local workers to do the needed tasks. Some of these workers were retired from various jobs and others seemed to be there just to earn a little extra money with less than a full understanding of the job requirements or the ambiance which they were expected to convey.
One evening Lynn and I were seated at a table with several high ranking telephone company executives. Our waitress was a lady of retirement age whose approach to her job and to her table guests was very direct.
First, she nearly threw the menus at each of us then barked that she would return in a few minutes and that we should be ready to place our orders.
She took our orders on a typical restaurant writing pad and when she returned with our food she loudly demanded to know who ordered which entree, putting each plate down less than gracefully.
Her parting shot to us was this: “Keep your forks because the good silver isn’t out yet and we’ll run short if you don’t.”
As we finished the main course she returned to take dessert orders and subsequently returned with them.
All this time the company president seated across from me was talking and talking and only minimally paying attention to the waitress’s instructions. So, when she put a dish of apple pie in front of him he noticed that he had no fork and said to her, “Oh Miss, could I have a dessert fork.”
She scowled at him and responded, “I thought I told you to keep your fork!”
To which he curtly replied, “So shoot me, I forgot. Now please bring me a fork.” His back was to the direction she walked but all the rest of the table guests watched her in shock as she sauntered up to a huge tray of dirty dishes, pulled out a fork and swiped it under her armpit to “clean” it.
She marched back to the table and roughly placed it in front of this somewhat agitated company president.
All of us at the table quickly assessed the situation and discreetly nodded to each other to remain silent – which we all did until the company president’s pie was in his stomach. Then and only then did we confess to him what had happened behind his back and that we all knew it.
Fortunately, he was in good humor toward us and laughed the incident off.
This story has been repeated many times in my family and probably in the four other families at that table in that fancy Adirondack resort that featured its well-trained and charming Irish staff starting at the end of May each year and continuing until September, when the local staff returned to finish the season with a distinctively different ambiance.
Many times in our house, we have heard the command “Keep your fork.” Like the first story, we always took that instruction as a signal that The Best Was Yet to Come.