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Sometimes we can find joy and inspiration in the most unexpected places.

Case in point:

We have a traditional family song that we sing after saying grace. It’s a simple and pleasant little tune. It has been sung at all family celebrations that involve food.

The verse goes like this:

Thank you for the world so sweet
Thank you for the food we eat
Thank you for the birds that sing
Thank you God for everything.


My Grandparents have sung this, my parents, my cousins, aunts, uncles, the grandchildren and great grandchildren have sung this too. We have all sung it hundreds of times.

I aways wondered where this song came from. If I had to take a guess, I would have assumed that my Grandfather wrote it.

Then came the day when my Father told me where the verse really came from.

This verse was from a hanging wall calendar. It was made from linen so that when the year was over, it turns into T-towel. It hung in our kitchen from 1970, and halfway through 1971. As soon as he told me this, I immediately remembered this calendar.

Now, if you will, forward a couple of decades

It’s February 2000, and my Mother has come to Toronto for my Grandfather’s funeral. It’s a very sad time.

Mother and I had just arrived at at the Delta Hotel, and it’s been an emotionally exhausting day of funeral preparation, travel and grief.

To keep thing simple, at the end of the day I suggested to Mother that we just order in pizza.

She grew very quiet.

After a few minutes, she said that there will be no pizza. Instead, she has decided to order room service.

Then picking up the telephone, she dialled the restaurant and ordered a rack of lamb for herself, and scallops for me.

After the food arrived, we sat down, said grace and then sang Opa’s little song that I referred to earlier: ‘Thank You For The Food We Eat.’

We then commenced with eating dinner.

Mother was absolutely enthralled with her rack of lamb. She told me that it was the best she ever had. After taking a few more blissful bites, she looked up at me and said:

“You know what?”


“I’m so glad that we ordered room service.”

“I would have been just as happy just having the pizza for dinner,” I told her.

“No,” she said to me quite defiantly. “I knew that we had to order room service.”

“Why did we have to order room service?”

“Because,” she said raising her eyes from her plate to me…

…”I could never have sung ‘Thank You For The Food We Eat’ over a pizza!”

For the first time in days, I found myself laughing.

So was Mother.

Further, I have no doubt, that somewhere up in heaven, my Grandfather was laughing too!