A Bountiful Harvest

Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from thy bounty . . .

For those of us who grew up Catholic, this is the familiar grace before meals. My Dad was a fast eater and as he aged an even faster pray-er of this particular prayer. I know he was sincere in his thanks, but his speed and quiet reverence often reduced his prayer to a quiet, one-syllable mumbling.

But growing up, my sisters and I learned the blessing with the proper cadence, and it’s the one we’ve passed along to our children. So, while I’ve recited this prayer for years, it’s only recently the word bounty hit me in a new way.

For over a year our son and daughter-in-law had been doing much of their grocery shopping at the Waxhaw Farmers’ Market and had invited me to go along. I finally did this past September and it opened my eyes to what bounty can mean.

The fresh produce is not only colorful, but the variety is introducing me to veggies I’ve never heard of, and definitely not available in the local Foodlion. It’s been fun experimenting with new flavors and textures, and knowing the food is better nutritionally. It’s also been a lesson on eating what’s in season, and luckily here in South Carolina the growing season will extend through the winter with root veggies and greens. I love eating a variety of greens every day. Unfortunately, the only greens hubby really cares for are the ones at the end of a long fairway with a flag in them.

We don’t eat much meat, but the market guys have spoiled us with their beef, chicken and pork. It’s hard to describe how their products taste different. The only words that come are clean or pure.  

Having grown up in the Midwest, I’ve always appreciated farmers. It’s impossible not to think of them and their hard work when you see them in the corn fields at all hours of the day, and see their vulnerability to the weather when you drive by fields washed out from heavy rains. But meeting the growers face-to-face at the market, I’ve seen their pure joy and excitement, their pride in their hard work. It shows in the way they arrange their produce. It shows in their eagerness to share information about those odd-looking veggies, growing tips, and recipes. The experience is so much richer than shopping at the grocery store.

Yet attending the Waxhaw Farmers’ Market hasn’t opened my eyes only to the blessings of bounty, it also reinforces the reality of food deserts. I used the term in a recent poem and some members of my group had never heard it. Food deserts are low-income areas that don’t have a good, big-chain grocery store, much less a farmers’ market with good fresh meats and produce. Residents rely on convenience stores that sell groceries that are cheap and filling, but not necessarily nutritious. It’s hard to reconcile in my head the lack of food for some when there’s a bounty for others, and I acknowledge how very fortunate I am to live where I do.

This week we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving and the season of harvest. For years my family’s Thanksgiving Day began with attending mass, then packing and delivering turkey dinners and boxes of food to shut-ins and families who needed them.  Back home, our grace always included the Blessing Cup and everyone sharing specific blessings from the year. We always included the families we’d just served, and those who were separated from family, especially those in the military.

This year, like most families, our table will look different. We’ll still have Grandma Schmitt’s cranberry goop and my daughter-in-law’s squash casserole, along with the turkey and fixings, but not everyone will be here.

Our blessings will be different, too. Thanks to the Waxhaw Farmers’ Market I have an even deeper appreciation for the American farmers and ranchers who provide our food, and we’ll pray for those in the food deserts. Along with everyone else, we’ll lift frontline workers and emergency responders in prayer and gratitude. Our celebration won’t be more somber because of the differences, but in many ways our sense of bounty will be fuller when we begin our prayer ~

Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty . . .

I wish all of you a bountiful and Happy Thanksgiving!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Bountiful Harvest

  1. quinonesev1 says:

    Lovely entry, Kim. Beautiful closing. “Our celebration won’t be more somber because of the differences, but in many ways our sense of bounty will be fuller when we begin our prayer ~” A Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    • Thank you Ev! I love the Waxhaw Farmers’ Market and was just enjoying all the life and color one Saturday and it hit me ‘this is what bounty is.’ It made me appreciate that childhood prayer all the more.

      I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s