Say Grace

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] nursing home Christmas isn’t exactly pretty. There aren’t many lights, nor much pinery. Some elderly folks wear holiday sweaters, others wear their breakfast.

Amy, who works at one such facility, says, “In here, it never feels like Christmas. Mostly, our folks don’t know what date it is. Besides, holidays are about family, and these people never see theirs.

”A ninety-three-year-old in a wheelchair parked himself by the window. His hands rested in his lap. He couldn’t hear worth a damn, but his mind was still there. “I have seven kids,” he said. “Three are farmers, just like me.” He grinned a tooth at me. “I hope they have happy lives.

Then, he looked out the window.

A slender woman shuffled along, wearing neon pink pajamas. She sat on the sofa, to stare at the Christmas tree, lit up and covered in tinsel. “I love Saint Patrick’s day,” she told me. “Don’t you, Ben?”

“Me? I’m not Ben, ma’am.”

She stared at me and squinted.

I offered my hand. “I’m Sean.”

“I’m sure you are. But I wish you were my Ben.”

And then there’s Mister Roberts, a gentleman in suspenders. He sat down at the supper table. “Hey,” he shouted at the server. “Why is my Jell-O red and green?”

“Mister Roberts, it’s the Christmas season.”

He brightened up. “That means my daughter will visit me. I’ll get to see my grandkids.”

“Your grand-babies are grown,” the server explained. “Remember, they’re busy with families of their own nowadays. They might not come this Christmas.”

Her comment didn’t faze him. He folded his hands and bowed his head to say grace. “Dear God, please let my kids visit me this Christmas.”

Yes Lord, please.

If it’s not too much trouble.