June and Table "Grace"
- Published on Wednesday, 02 November 2011 01:34
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
Recently while having my Sunday Lunch at Perkins following Church, I noted a table of young adults being seated nearby. They were all very sharp looking young people and all looked bright, cheerful and happy. What really caught my attention was what happened at the time that the food was delivered. They all said table grace before eating. This act of prayer took me back to memories of June and table grace. While it is common for Christians to have table grace, it is frequently overlooked when dining out.
June always had table grace when family would get together for Easter and Mother’s Day at a favorite buffet style restaurant for a holiday. At home June always had table grace and usually led the table grace…even when she was deep into the shadows of Alzheimer’s she did not forget to say table grace…she would frequently become confused but not before she had thanked God for all he had done for us…I would then step in a finish the prayer for her by reciting the simple prayer and the words that she had taught to me and the children.
“Come now Jesus be our guest and let this food to us be blessed”
I later stopped by this table of young people and told them how impressed I was with them and that I did not see Grace being said very often by groups dining out. I then went on to tell them that I was looking for an angel to help me with Alzheimer’s awareness and funding. With that opening, I proceeded to pass out June’s Alzheimer’s awareness cards. While none claimed to be nor admitted to being an Angel, they all seemed to be a very receptive and friendly group and said they would look at June’s web site.
Later as I was driving back to my house I started reviewing my memories of June and table “Grace” I could not help becoming very emotional and tearful and drove the remainder of the way to the house in the “rain”. (10/30/2011)
We used to have a painting called “Grace” on our kitchen wall by the kitchen table…This painting “Grace”, actually had it’s origin in Bovey, Minnesota in the year 1918. Bovey in 1918 was a tiny mining town in northern Minnesota. An elderly “Saintly” looking bearded man Charles Wilden who is the subject of the photo and painting was selling “foot scrapers” door to door. Wilden called on a professional photographer Eric Enstrom at his photography studios in Bovey, Minnesota.
“From this chance encounter a world famous photographic study was created. Today Enstrom's picture "GRACE", showing the elderly peddler with head bowed in a mealtime prayer of thanksgiving, is known and loved throughout the world. There was something about the old gentleman's face that immediately impressed me. I saw that he had a kind face... there weren't any harsh lines in it," Enstrom said…To bow his head in prayer seemed to be characteristic of the elderly visitor ...(The Story of “Grace”.)
I do not know what happened to our family’s copy of the painting of “Grace” and very much wish I had it back to once again occupy a prominent place on our kitchen walls. I know June would very much approve. It somehow disappeared during our move from our Washington Street home to our Gardena Lane home. Our Grandson Steven remarked about it a few months ago as he had remembered it very well from the old days. He has since told me that this was his favorite! His note is below:
“I really do love this painting. It was my favorite one in your house. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized how popular it was. I can remember being a child staring at it trying to figure out what the man was thinking.…” (10/31/2011)
Note: My daughter Julie surprised me when we got together for our traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner this year (2011) at 6025 Gardena Lane...while I was distracted talking with other family members in the living room, she and her friend Geno arranged to place and hang a new copy of "Grace" on the kitchen wall dining area overlooking the table...Julie had searched until she found a very nice framed copy. This "Grace" overlooked our "Thanksgiving Day Dinner". We all repeated the simple "Grace" that June had taught everyone before having our meal. This copy of the picture "Grace" now daily serves as a reminder to me of what is important before having my meal.
Note: After battling Alzheimer's for almost 11 years, an exhausted June was finally called home by God on October 23rd, 2008. Her funeral notice as published in the Minneapolis Star in October 2008 can be seen on this website under the "In Memoriam" label - Click on: