Sunday, November 11, 2012


One of my earliest memories was my grandfather saying “Grace” before every meal. I called my mother’s father, Floyd Franklin Walker, “Bebaw,” from the time I could talk, and my grandmother, Velva Marie, “Memaw.” We would gather round the table, with the tantalizing aromas of breakfast, dinner, or supper filling the room, and look expectantly toward Bebaw to say grace before digging in. an outwardly serious man with a gruff voice, inside Bebaw was deeply emotional, and every time he recited the blessing that his father before him said, everyone knew he was talking to God from his heart.

The prayer never changed, in homage to his father and grandfather before him, and the words became indelibly imprinted in my memory. I remember the last Thanksgiving I shared with my grandparents, in their house at 1324 Della Street in Texarkana, sitting at the big table with various aunts, uncles, cousins, and other loved ones, so many that the children were served at a table in another room, my grandmother directing the team of womenfolk who brought steaming platters to the table. Bebaw was sick with the cancer that killed him. He’d lost weight, becoming a shadow of his former dominant physical self, but when all eyes turned to him, expectantly waiting for the blessing, his voice sang out powerfully and sure.

On this Thanksgiving, despite all the travails, I have much to be thankful for, and I want to share the blessing that my grandfather bestowed to me. My dear friend, Libby, will be sharing a modest canteen meal with me inside a prison visiting park, and I hope to share this grace with her.


Righteous Heavenly Father,
Look down on us
with tender mercy, Lord.
Direct your blessings
to sanctify these table offerings
for the nourishment of our bodies.
We ask these things
in Jesus’ precious name.

The following is a family photograph from 1913, when Bebaw was seven years old, at left, shading his eyes, with his parents, John Richard and Millie Francis Walker, brothers and sisters, in Texas. By that age, Bebaw had memorized his father’s prayer, just as I memorized it decades later, and now pass it along to you.

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday surrounded by family and loved ones.




Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving to the true believers and the true receivers from the truly sympathetic .... (vox)

Florida CAT TRAP said...

The picture will never show up. I'd love to see it.....

Anonymous said...

Charlie, a stunning family resemblance. Like your Mom your great Grandma is beautiful. What a great looking family.