I remember a long, long ago Thanksgiving Day that has always held a special place in my memory. I was very young, but I remember it with mind and heart.
The hunting season opened in early November back in that day and many came from distant cities and towns to the more rural areas (where we lived) to enjoy the sport. The sportsmen came with much eagerness and in that eagerness were often careless. During one particular hunting season, my Grandpa, walking from his house to his barn, was mistakenly shot by one of the careless hunters. Fortunately, the bullet struck him in the leg, but even so, it was a serious wound and Grandpa was hospitalized just a week or so before Thanksgiving Day.
My mother and father hosted our family Thanksgiving dinner each year at our home. (My grandparents hosted the family Christmas dinner). Grandpa and Grandma each had a special seat at our Thanksgiving table, and it was always Grandpa who gave the prayer of thanksgiving as we all sat down to partake of the bountiful feast. Grandma was present that day, but Grandpa was still in the hospital. I remember all us moping about and feeling like somehow this particular Thanksgiving Day would not be the same without Grandpa. Just as we were about ready to sit down at table the local ambulance showed up. What a surprise to see Grandpa, with his crutches, helped out of the back of the ambulance and led to his special seat at the head of that Thanksgiving table—and just in time to pray. I do not remember what Grandpa said in his prayer—I only remember being at one with the many grateful hearts gathered about that table—we were living out the words Grandpa prayed.
“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything thy goodness sends…” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Grandpa would pray: We give thee thanks, O Lord. Amen.”