Giving thanks with grace has many twists

By Grant McGee: Local columnist

It was a sunny December afternoon and I was riding home on my bicycle.
It was a wonderful afternoon with blue skies and a light eastern New Mexico breeze that carried the fragrance of something that I thought smelled like chocolate. A long-forgotten tune came to my mind for no particular reason.
“The Lord is good to me
“And so I thank the Lord,
“For giving me
“The things I need

“The sun, the rain and the apple seed
“The Lord is good to me.”

It’s a song from the 1948 Disney movie “Johnny Appleseed.” Maybe the melody just came up because it was such a beautiful day. Then I remembered my brother once used it as his family’s table grace. That got me to thinking about table graces I have known.

Some folks say grace at the table, some never have. My family had a standard-issue ditty: “God is great, God is good, and we thank him for our food. Amen.”

Now, that looks pretty short in print, but as a kid it seemed long and thoughtful. Our family’s table grace was usually reserved for the big meal of the day, dinner. My mom and dad always liked to have the whole family around the table for the evening meal. No television, no fighting; those were the ground rules. And it all began with our family’s table grace.

I don’t know the source of our family’s pre-meal prayer. It wasn’t handed down. My grandparents started dinners with recitations that seemed as deep and long as a Sunday sermon. I liked our family’s table grace. I went on to teach it to my kids.

I remember a new table grace I learned when I went off to Boy Scout summer camp. It was in the camp dining hall I heard the members of another troop recite the quick and snappy, “Good food, good meat, good God, let’s eat.” In my infinite 13-year-old wisdom I thought this newfound ditty was a lot quicker than our family’s. Faster table grace meant getting to eat sooner.

I used my new table grace at the first meal I had after coming back from camp. My mother laughed so hard tears came from her eyes. My father was not amused. He gave me a quick and snappy lecture on why the table grace I thought was new and improved was inappropriate for our family dinner table. He then told my mom the whole thing wasn’t funny. She laughed even harder.

Nowadays when asked for a table grace I do what I think a lot of folks do, give thanks for the food, appreciation for the folks seated around the table and good thoughts for the loved ones and friends off in other places.

Giving thanks for food makes sense to me. I remember a passage from the book “If the Sun Dies” by the late Oriana Fallaci, an Italian journalist who had a great interest in the U. S. space program. Astronaut Pete Conrad was asked about giving thanks. Conrad said it was good manners. He explained if he asked a total stranger for a match and the guy didn’t have one he’d thank the matchless guy anyway. “So I ask myself,” Conrad said, “Why should I be polite to him and not to God?”
Sounds to me like one good reason to give thanks.

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at:
blisscreek@plateautel.net