Thanksgiving this year was small, a ragtag group of us, including one ex-boyfriend from 35 years ago, who managed to find me via the internet through husband #2, and has managed to charm his way back into my life. And God-only-knows-why my family, especially current and final husband are all FINE with it. Well, except for two family members who are highly critical of everything I do, ever did, or might do in the future. But the way I look at that is, their problemo.
My sister, my mother, and I being the main cooks and bottle washers conferred on how to make sure the food was hot and the order of prayer. Nothing like being starving, having a big plate heaped with all the wondrous Thanksgiving traditionals, and the prayer takes so long, the food gets lukewarm or even cool. (Well, there ARE much worse things, but this was just our concern of the immediate moment.) We decided and announced to the only other people there, four large hungry guys, that we would make our plates, buffet-style, adjourn to the dining room, eat, talk, etc., then we would pray last. I added the comment, "don't let this stop you from saying a quick prayer in your head, if you're more comfortable with that."
So, after much hilarity, second helpings, and storytelling, my sister starts her prayer aloud. Now she's got a gift for this, so we all just let her do her Baptist thing. My Mom went next, and was mainly just thankful to be alive, then began adding other small things, until I had to stifle tears. Now, we do joke about my husband being an atheist who sometimes has been known to say a grace or two, but he's still stewing about the car accident, so my ex-boyfriend added his AA prayers, my two sons abstained which was all right with God and the rest of us. I ended the prayers and honestly can't remember what I actually said except the ending, which was "and bless all those near and dear to us, especially those far away, whether it be in mind or body." My mother giggled, since the first part ending with "far away" is often how she ends her blessings before meals; I'm guessing it was my addition of "whether it be in mind or body". I looked across the length of the table, past the candles she thought were the wrong color, and was silently thankful I could make her laugh, even if it was just with seven words.