I sit at a horseshoe shaped table with a hundred other people. Mostly men from my husbands shop on base, some of their wives, and a few children. I looked around at all the faces desperate to match them to the names I have heard in his stories for years. He whispers names in my ear.
“Courtney, that’s so and so.”
I reply with the story the name is from, “Oh the guy who said it wasn’t a boy goat?” It’s the only way I know these men.
We are here on this Friday afternoon to celebrate Thanksgiving. A gathering of men, who want to eat and get off work early, a gathering of wives who are nervous about the dish they brought, a gathering of people from all over with one big thing in common. We are military.
One man stands up and clears his throat for attention.
“Ladies and gentlemen.”
Ryan leans over and whispers, “That’s the Chief.”
“Oh Okay”, though this doesn’t explain much.
“I want to welcome you all here today. Thank you ladies for preparing the food, I can’t wait to taste it. We are here to celebrate Thanksgiving with each other. Sergeant So and So will now give the invocation and we’ll eat.”
I’m thinking, what in the world does that mean?
The man stands and begins..
“Dear Heavenly Father we come before you today to thank you for this opportunity to be together. We thank you for the fellowship with one another, the food we are about to eat, and we thank you for all the blessings you have bestowed upon us. Keep us in your hands dear God and bless this food to our bodies. Amen.”
I find myself a little teary and I have goose bumps. Even here, in a back hanger at South A.G.E. on Luke Air Force Base, with 100 of the most unlikely people.
There is prayer.