My mother loves to pray....she prays things most sincerely, it is not an act. Prayers at Sunday lunch would tend to be longer, reminding us of those less fortunate; people going through difficult times...well you get the idea.
The longest prayers, however, have always been at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We have a family tradition of all holding hands as we pray at the table. Once this lovely turkey that you see had been put on the table....a table my father actually had made from a heavy solid wooden door and screwed on spindly legs that were the diameter of a filter tip cigarette....well you get the idea...None too sturdy...the turkey stood proudly in the center.
We all hold hands. The prayer starts.
"Dearest Heavenly Father, we come to you on this special day to thank you for our many blessings and gifts, that...." At this point in 1964 there were no medications given for children who were hyperactive (that would be me). So already my mind was racing. I looked around at the pine paneling with the knot holes trying to make faces out of them, scanned the table, already heavy-laden with simply the TOP of the table being on those matchstick legs in addition to the turkey, vegetables and the largest open bowl of giblet gravy you have ever seen. My hand was holding sister Sara's. She of course, being the usually perfect child she was, had her head bowed.
"We know that we have been blessed much more than most, Father, and know that..."
Oops. Lost interest, but was fascinated with the bowl of giblet gravy...somewhat iridescent under the lights, some things bobbing around in it at that I could identify, some not. And then there was my hand.
My hand was holding Sara's hand across the table. It was simply too much of a temptation and my mother should have known it. Our hands were held together over this glistening bowl of God only knows WHAT giblet gravy contains. I had to do it.
"And now Father as we eat this meal together, please..." Holding tighter to Sara's hand, I slammed our combined fists deep into the giblet gravy. The prayer stopped immediately, because when Sara screamed, hit the edge of the table, 8 completely full glasses of iced tea turned over at once, saturating everyone and everything in sight.
I immediately realized this was not going to be pretty. The soft, prayerful tone of my mother's voice immediately reverted into her normal soprano that only dogs cans hear.
The aftermath is a little harder to remember. There were tears all around and I was sent to my bedroom. With no supper. To think of my misdeeds.
Fortunately the Cub Scouts were selling turtles at the time....you remember, those gooey chocolate-caramel peanut confections, wrapped in paper and stored in boxes. I had been given ten to sell. Those ten boxes got me through the night.
It was a sad Thanksgiving.