The Non-Expert

Saying Grace

Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we show how saying grace before a holiday meal doesn’t have to be a chore, and how if you know what to say, your thoughtful words may make the holidays more special. And then sometimes not.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


Question: My girlfriend Lisa and I are going to a bunch of different meals and parties for Thanksgiving and I know I’m going to be asked to say grace. What do you say when you’re not religious? And how do you avoid offending those who are? Is there a standard grace that works?—Mark

Answer: While many of us too often associate Thanksgiving only with mountains of food, back-to-back football TV schedules, or simply too-good-to-be-true chances for stirring up familial grudges, we all have a responsibility to look beyond all that fun and, in a single moment, realize why we’ve gathered with our friends and family around the table. That is, to say grace—before the festivities begin.

Here’s a preview to how you and your girlfriend might travel, with suggested ways you can say your thanks, from each of your Thanksgiving meals to the next.


Thank you for this wonderful Thanksgiving meal we have here before us. Thank you to everyone who could be here with us—and, to everyone who could not be here today: You’re in our thoughts. Thank you, mom, dad, for everything you’ve given me, for how you’ve welcomed Lisa into your lives. Thank you to everyone for making this special day all that much more special.

Happy Thanksgiving! Cheers!


I’m so glad to be here for Thanksgiving. We had an earlier Thanksgiving with my family today, and I’m glad that we’re able to have dinner with you, Lisa’s family… her work family, of course. And of course I’ve heard so much about all of you, about all the fun times you guys have at R.K. Interactive, and it’s great, really, to finally meet you all. And thanks, Betty and Sam, for having us over. So, here goes…

Thank you for providing such a lovely, lovely meal. And thank you—God, whatever, Allah, life—for granting everyone here health, happiness, and perseverance. For I know, as Lisa’s told me, how difficult things at work have been lately, how few people truly “get” the interactive paradigm, and how a lot of you, most of you actually, are going to be laid off in the coming days—probably Monday. And I think it’s a testament to the holiday spirit—What? What’s with the crying?


Thank you, well, for starters, for the honey-roasted peanuts… let’s see… what’s your tag say? Tom. Thank you, Tom, for these blessed peanuts. I’m sure it’s difficult to tend these busy holiday flights, being away from your family and all, so thanks for taking care of me and my girlfriend, Lisa, during our trip.

I would also like to thank you, Tom, for saving my life. I guess I got a little drunk after take-off, and I really couldn’t have killed Lisa and everyone else aboard with a “turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a bomb.” Yes, that was a lie. And thank you for not believing me. Anyway, Lisa and I were in a little fight… you know… holiday stress and all… of course you know… and I was pretty blitzed.

Thank you, also, for not calling the cops.


[clear throat, stand up]

Thank you, thank you, Lisa’s mom, for welcoming us into your beautiful home for this delightful, superb feast here on this lovely autumn-day-after-Thanksgiving. I personally can’t say it’s a tradition in my family to celebrate the day after, but, let me tell you, everything looks delicious, and I’m sure I speak for the table when I say THANK YOU for all your hard work and preparation.

[pause for harrumphs]

On a more personal level, thank you and Mr. Walsh for raising such a kind, sweet, wonderful, forgiving daughter. She and I have been seeing each other for, what, a year now? That is awesome. Indeed, thank you all—as I understand it, each of you has played a major role in raising Lisa. Sort of like “group parenting,” from what Lisa’s told me.

And of course, I’d also like to extend a thank-you to the great and mighty deer god Bocephorus, whose providence, goodwill, and defeat of the gnomelings in 866 A.D. made the existence of human civilization possible. I think every true follower of Wiccan-Lutheranism can raise their glasses to that one! And, based on the number of felt antler-caps around the table, I guess that’s most everyone.

[doff felt antler-cap]

Well. I’d now like to take a crack at leading us all in the traditional Thanksgiving chant… This is my first time, so bear with me… let’s everyone take our shoes off…


Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack