Debbie and I are in our room. It is bedtime, and we are fresh from the bath and in our pajamas. Our governess has called our parents to the doorway, and the three of them smiling adoringly, watch and listen as we say our prayers. The two of us kneel at our respective beds. It feels like we are in a show- the “We are Good , Clean, Thoughtful and Obedient Children Show”.
As I am the eldest, I am expected to go first. I don’t know much about God, but I know I’m supposed to thank him for all of my blessings. I also knew somehow that this was supposed to be a solemn occasion, and like the lovable child I so wanted to be, I spoke reverently and carefully enumerating all the good things in my world. “Amen.”, I say, to everyone’s satisfaction.
Then it is Debbie’s turn. Kneeling at her bedside, all of four years old, she clasps her little hands, closes her eyes and begins, “Thank you God, for Mommy and Daddy and Greg and Pitapat and Petie and Grandma Speciale and Grandma Morse and Jessie and Virginia and the Captain and my toys and my swing set and,…”. Thus she went on and on, enumerating all those people and things she felt grateful for. When at last she felt confident that she had nothing left to chance, she hesitated for a moment, then concluding, “And POP! Goes the weasel!”.
Thus, the practice of bedtime prayer was insured for some time in a house where God did not otherwise exist.