by Lee Libro
"Pass the gwraaaavwy! Pass the gwavwy," said John Jr.
"Please," inserted Mother. "What about a blessing?"
John Jr. snorted.
Mother gently linked a hand in his, signaling all five of her children to do the same with their neighbors. John Jr. rocked back and forth.
"Bless this food, oh Lord..." she began.
John Jr. pried his hand away, set his elbow down on his plate creating a trebuchet flinger from the fork propped at its side.
"... and please remember all those less fortunate on this day..."
One green pea flew through the air and landed in his nine-year-old sister June's hair, where it remained suspended in a cradle of blond follicles.
John Jr. stared across the table at the beautiful green pea and for a second it became a planet in the cosmos of his sister's golden locks.
"...and please Lord, see to it that all of our loved ones stay mindful in our daily lives..." Mother continued.
All but one of the five children kept their eyes shut and heads bowed to the table, which was draped in a simple brown cloth. Like little monks they listened to the prayer despite their brother's deviation.
At the center was a turkey made from a giant pinecone with paper "feathers", tracings of the smallest sibling's hands. Earlier that day Annie had proudly presented the nursery school project to Mother.
"...to stay on the path of loving loyalty..." Mother's voice continued.
John Jr. shifted in his chair, a chrome and wheeled contraption, which bumping up against the table, sent the centerpiece toppling over.
Annie opened one eye to check on her pinecone turkey. It was now askew and had lost a few "feathers." She glanced briefly at John Jr. before returning her head to a bowed position with eyes closed.
The breaks on John Jr.'s wheelchair had clearly come undone as his movements rocked the table, disturbing every dish. Gravy slopped over the edge of the gravy boat and had formed a puddle in its saucer. The glasses of water at each of the six place settings rippled with rings of seismic vibration.
"...and to partake of the world's bounty..."
John Jr. settled down as his eyes landed once again on the pea in his sister's hair, like a planet orbiting the sun.
Mother continued calmly and John Jr.'s four siblings remained with hands linked.
"... with forgiveness and thankfulness throughout the year to come ."
Mother opened her eyes and observed the disheveled table before her with her children all gathered around. Her heart was full of love as she said "Amen."
Together the rest of the family said, "Amen."
John Jr. clapped his hands together and a toothy grin stretched across his face.
Everyone released the circle of hand-holding and began to dig in to their food.
June reached up and removed the pea from her hair, then promptly placed it in her mouth.
Lee Libro is an avid reader, writer and artist, book reviewer and published author of literary fiction. Formerly a Marketing Communications Manager in the medical and pharmaceutical industries and a Translations Editor, she has a bachelor’s degree in English, specializing in Renaissance literature. Lee is the mother of five and now resides in Florida with her husband two dogs and one remaining school-aged child. Her debut novel, Swimming With Wings, was published in March of 2010. To learn more about Lee’s work, visit www.literary-magic.com and www.swimmingwithwings.com .