Thank you, Lord, for the corn salad,
for Margaret’s fried chicken and also
for Alice’s; they are both so good.
Thank you for Carol’s biscuits,
Becky’s lasagna, and all the other wonderful offerings
here today, and especially the brownies, but
I’m sorry, Lord, I can’t remember who
brought the brownies.

Thank you for Pastor Jim’s sermon, even though
I’m not sure why he had to bring in the gays.

Dear Father, watch over Charles and Bill and
Helen and Roy and Betty who are in the hospital.
And we thank you for Charlene’s new baby
who is doing so well, and we pray that Dale
will do the right thing and finally marry that poor girl.

Also on our prayer list today is Carol’s sister-in-law’s
cousin in Louisville who is going through a difficult time.

Dear Lord, thank you for bringing me at the end of my life
into this circle of kind-hearted old ladies, all of us trying
to be good even though sometimes we aren’t.
And I am sorry, Lord, for what I said to Carol about
Linda’s daughter-in-law Janet.
Thank you for their soft hands that help me up and
for how they remember the names of my grandchildren,
and thank you for Carol who calls every morning
to make sure I am all right.  Thank you for how
we can talk about our dead husbands to each other
with no fuss, just so.  Thank you for all the years with Bob,
he was a good man even though he never picked up a sock.
And thank you for Myrna’s lemon meringue pie.

In Jesus’ name we pray,

~ ~ ~

Pepper Trail has a Ph.D. in biology from Cornell University, and works as an ornithologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  His environmental essays appear regularly in High Country News and other publications, and he is the author of Shifting Patterns: Meditations on the Meaning of Climate Change in Oregon’s Rogue Valley, a collection of essays, poems, and photographs ( ). His poems have been published inComstock ReviewBorderlands, Atlanta Review, Cirque, Kyoto Journal, Wildfall, and elsewhere.  He lives in Ashland, Oregon.

“Grace at the Covered Dish” is dedicated to his mother and her church circle in North Carolina.