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June and Table "Grace"

Grace

"Grace"

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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 said 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 both 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 all "teary eyed"”. (10/30/2011)

I also took this event as a spititual reminder or perhaps a nudge from God for me to start doing the same in public. While I said "Grace" at home before meals, I was sadly delinquent when it came to doing the same in public restaurants and eating places.I now try to remember to do this before every such meal. It is not only proper to do so,  but perhaps by so doing, it will remind some other diner as it did me...that asking God's blessings before the meal is our duty and our obligaton to God...to recognize the source from which our "daily" bread comes. Now when other members of the family join me in a meal at a public restaurant, we all recite the simple little prayer and request for blessing that June taught all of us...When I am dining alone, I add the "Lord's Prayer" to the prayer June taught us...it has the verse in it that requests: "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread."...in addition I learned from June to give thanks for all the blessings received from God...this I now do in two parts...I give thanks for the thousands of blessings bestowed on June and me in our years together...to that I add a thanks for all the many blessings that continue to be showered on my life now that I am traveling the road alone.

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The Painting "Grace"

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”)

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I do not know what happened to our family’s original 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 would guess that June was the origin of our "first" copy of "Grace"...it would also serve as a reminder of June and the prayer she taught the family. 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 and remarked:

“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)

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Note - 2011 Update: My daughter Julie surprised me when we got together for our traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner this year at 6025 Gardena Lane...while I was distracted talking with other family members in the living room, Julie 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.

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 Reader's Comments

Donald Hiatt   - Clovis, California - (18 July 2013): "Thank you and June for the gentle reminder to say table grace."

Dianne Cogar  - Springfield, Ohio - (18 July 2013): "Starting each morning with a genuine heartfelt appreciation for the gift of awakening, I cherish my  "little ritual " of thanks that I give, though , I'm sure, I leave many, many things I'm thankful for out of the picture during the course of the day."

Terry Shepherd  - Warsaw, Indiana - (18 July 2013): "I really take my early mornings to heart. Starting off with a piping hot cup of coffee, I spend some quality time with me, before heading in to see Al and start the day...I am very proud of you for standing strong in your beliefs no matter where you are." 

Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, Inc.,  - Mount Pearl, Newfoundland - (19 July 2013): "Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and personal experiences.  We really appreciate your dedication to our cause and are thankful for your efforts in spreading awareness and supporting those journeying down the road of Alzheimer's disease. -Amelia White, Events Coordinator."

Bernadette Barbour  - Florida(19 July 2013): "Love that picture Stan.  So glad you got another copy, especially on Thanksgiving."

Martina Kaut  - Furtwangen, Germany - (20 July 2013): "Thank you Stanton...Many years I worked in a senior´s home in Hamburg (I took care of people affected by dementing diseases), and when it came to the time for lunch our residents *sang with me* always first a prayer of thanks before we started eating...we never missed to say *thank you God*...currently I work in a senior´s home in the Black Forest , and here we have a similar ritual ... the only difference is - table grace is spoken and not sung."

Scott Schmidl - Newark, New Jersey - (15 November 2014): "Mom always made sure..when Alzheimer's kicked in than we, the kids made sure we reminded her.. it was important than and is still. thanking the Lord for His provision keeps us humble. Always great to read your posts Stanton."

Connie Lowers O'Brien  - Decatur, Tennessee - (15 November 2014): "That's a beautiful painting!"

Bridie Breen  - Manchester, United Kingdom - (15 November 2014): "Stan I went to an event tonight to raise awareness about Dementia with Lewy Body. 300 people joined in a prayer of thanks as grace was said before we ate. It is always good to be mindful of blessings." 

Shannon Griffin  - Wurzburg, Germany - (15 November 2014): "Grace before every meal all the time."

Gretchen K. Berg - Minneapolis, Minnesota - (15 November 2014):"I love that picture."

Susanna Nicholos  - Catskill, New York - (15 November 2014): "I pray every day...always have...I thank my mom so much for that."

Debbie Larsen -  Buffalo, Minnesota - (15 November 2014):"...such a beautiful soul, it all matters!!"

Louise Ann Howard  - Batemans Bay, New South Wales, Australia - (15 November 2014):"Stan, as a little girl the smallest of my family of 8 I was the grace sayer. Mum was the one to say saying: "Louise please." My father would back her up nothing in our hands but after I would say our standard grace a cheeky brother would have to say another grace not fit for Godly ears. Oh the memories mate...both mum and dad are not with us any more. We too say grace out...ps even if it is drive through too. Oh we are thankful for food. We never forget why how and how blessed we are to have some...Thanks Stan. It was a lovely read"

Melissa Vaughan  - Newburgh, Indiana - (16 November 2014): "Stanton what will become of the picture after you go to be with June...I hope someone in your family takes it and passes it down...beautiful....I love the painting and your story...we said Grace at our home always...it was a tradition that every night a different family member said our prayer..."

Lynda Etlicher - Rice Lake, Wisconsin - (16 November 2014): "Peter's son Cody (ten yrs) gives a stunning table grace from the heart, does a fantastic job. Very proud of Cody!"

 

 

 

  

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June's Passing

  June 1990

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 -or just Click on:

 

 "June K. (Rolstad) Berg - In Memoriam".