The smell of mayonnaise makes me think of bright yellow swivel seats, hot and sticky against the back of my legs. It makes me think of palm tree-patterned wallpaper and tall gold glasses I wished we had at home. It makes me think of harsh fluorescent lights and the sad, satisfying sound of the bug zapper on the porch.
It makes me think of ham and mayonnaise sandwiches, sliced into halves and served with potato salad from the grocery store. It makes me think of the quiet moment before our first bite, stomachs growling as my grandfather bowed his fluffy white head to say grace.
‘Saying grace’ has always struck me as a funny expression. As though grace is something you can say, something you can string together like Christmas lights on the lawn, showing Santa where to land his sleigh.
I’ve been very lucky today, just like every day before today and most likely every day after. I’m given challenges when I need them most, and especially when I think I don’t. I’m given the chance to be selfless when I am at my most selfish and the chance to listen when I most need to shut up. And just when my bridge has run out of planks, someone shows up with one more board.
And sitting here tonight in a dark, silent room, peering through a dark, dirty window at a dark, starless sky, I realize that saying grace isn’t so much about asking for it as it is about giving it a name.