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In the South, everybody gets a little religion on the holidays. There’s something about deep-fried turkey, cornbread dressing, and cranberry jelly that’s still in the shape of the can that induces prayer.
Since many of our people haven’t done much praying since January (aside from a few supplications during ball games), the Thanksgiving blessing ends up being the time they choose to catch up on their devotions. And at our place, grace was always long.
It’s a miracle I’m still alive. I thought that I was going to starve to death at some point between “Dear Lord” and “Amen.” It felt like pre-dinner benediction consisted of reading the Bible cover to cover, and then holding forth on the finer points.
The problem was that I could smell all those wonderful groceries and could even feel the hot steam rolling off the beans on the side of my cheeks. So the longer the prayer, the more of a heathen I became. Grace was always long.
I couldn’t appreciate it then, but boy I sure do now. Uncle Tony, always a wild one, has finally managed to quit the booze and the hard living. Dad is doing a lot better since mom died, but this will be the first holiday without her. Granddaddy is feeling his mortality more these days, but it seems to be making him more patient. Grandmother is forgetting things more than she should, and it’s bothering her. But we already know that grace is long. It will last. It will keep us until the last “amen” is said.