Sunday, October 4, 2009

Gratitude is an Attitude

Was in my neighborhood Mickey D's yesterday morning for breakfast-I've discovered almost nothing goes as well with my local almost newspaper as an almost-breakfast. I'm the only person I know who admits to eating in fast food places, though they seem to be everywhere and always filled with people. More "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"? Hey, why do you think it's called that in the first place?

I always smile when I hit these joints (yesterday was a blustery day around here, even Winnie agreed the weather was bad, and I was soaking wet getting from the parking lot to the counter) not because I'm happy to be in the places but rather the contrast between the television portrayal and the reality always cracks me up. I get the same thing every Saturday morning because my middle name is Patrick and NOT Adventure and it's always the same 'associate', silent and sullen behind the counter.

Do you remember when we were kids and how the cafeteria ladies always wore hairnets if they were on the serving line? What happened to those rules and who decided a ball cap (if we're lucky, otherwise a visor for the most part) offers the same protection from hair in my food as the old school hairnets? Yeah, I know, more Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

When I sat down at my table and looked up there were two women seated across from one another at a table near a window, closer to the rainy day than I cared to be, heads bowed, hands clasped, saying a prayer before beginning their meals. From their age and attire and the simple silver bands on their left hands I realized I was looking at two nuns in mufti and not folks who were seeking Divine Help for the McGriddle.

I flashed on a childhood recollection of 'saying grace' at our family table before tucking in-a prayer that, as we grew older in my parents' house, became more of a race to see who could finish first and get started while the food was still hot since Mom always made a big deal about letting things get cold as you picked at them. I can only hope the Lord grades that kind of behavior on a curve but fear I know better.

I smiled, here in the present, to realize that it was good that someone (in this case, TWO someones) remembered to say thank you as the rest of us were oblivious to the gift we were receiving on a rainy Saturday in Southeastern Connecticut. For many of us, it was day to miss if not mourn what we did not have, rather than celebrate what we did possess. Later I learned today, is Saint Francis of Assisi Day (the Hallmark store has no cards; I checked) and smiled again as I thought of the two witnesses on their pilgrimage through the world and why, for more reasons than are between Heaven and earth, breakfast is still the most important meal of the day.
-bill kenny

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