Saying ‘Grace’ at mealtime was always a family habit. It was mostly said from the head of the household and as we grew older, my brother and I were required to come up with something. Like our nightly prayers before sleep, we kept it as short as possible.
On Thursday, family and friends will all get around the table full of abundance and before gorging be asked to say ‘Grace’.
Some will sit quietly, hold their hands together, close their eyes and bow their heads while the person who is going to carve the bird will pontificate on the meanings of this holiday and the wonders of having family around to celebrate. This speech can go well beyond the day and become a family yearly scrapbook of those present and those who couldn’t make it. Some will stand and hold each other’s hands and the request for each to give ‘thanks’ for their life. Meanwhile the gravy is solidifying and the turkey is getting cold.
The idea of blessing those who brought you this meal is fine but hard to do when you pop open the microwave or unwrap a paper wrapper or wait for the delivery. There are a lot of people, legal or illegal, who pick and ship and wrap and cook and ultimately prepare and present our food.
I suggest a prayer that may sum up our desire for a day with hopes that mashed potatoes won’t be thrown over political discussions or how to revive the drunken relatives to get them back home so you won’t have to deal with them in the morning.
“Dear Lord God Almighty please blesses the bounty here before us. Bless the tomatoes grown from the backyard garden and sliced with only minor accidents to present such a wonder on a plate of lettuce picked in California by people who are just here to pick our food and not reap the reward of their efforts. Bless the Brussels’ sprouts that no one will eat along with the yams and the cranberry sauce, the seven plates of string bean casseroles and the creamy buttery potatoes mashed by hand as a game for the children that is just one of our starches with our baked rolls and finely seasoned stuffing making our elastic pants essential holiday wear.
Bless the health of all the people surrounding this table with hopes they do not have a heart attack or need a Heimlich maneuver to get through this meal.
Please bless Grandma Nana who secretly passed down her special recipe for the pumpkin pie that never tasted as good as when she was here.
Bless the children sitting at the small table in the other room watching their electronic devices to nourish their road to obesity.
A special blessing for mother who spent hours in the sweltering kitchen drinking spiked coffee and smoking cigarettes while the others of us were singing and having fun telling stories and watching football while depleting the stocks from the bar. May she please not poison us all for our lack of civility?
And forgive me Father for my sin of gluttony is about to begin. Amen. Let’s eat!”
At Puppywoods, it is a little simpler.