“Dear Lord,” Mahmoud said, “we thank you for the food we are about to receive, and for the company of each other in which to share it. We thank you for allowing us to live in the greatest country in the world, your country, the United States of America, founded by the followers of Christ over two-hundred years ago for the sole purpose of glorifying your precious name. We thank you for sending us George W. Bush, the most great and godly champion of liberty the world has ever seen. We are thankful for President Bush and his iron-willed resolve and impenetrable courage, as well as his unrivaled wisdom and savvy as a military commander.
“But most of all, dear Heavenly Father, we are thankful for Ann, who has brought us all together under her roof, to teach us the American values of hard work, free will, and Christianity. We see Christ through Ann every day, and we are all eternally grateful. Truly, she is the greatest of all your humble creations. In Jesus Christ’s holy and blessed name, Amen.”
“That was wonderful,” Ann said. “Now, let’s eat.” On the table were platters of eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, pancakes, freedom toast, biscuits and gravy – all the best things for breakfast. Ann handed the platters down to the orphans one by one, and they passed them all around, piling their plates high. By the time the platters got back around to Ann, they were all empty.
“We’re so very sorry, Ann,” one of the orphans said.
“There is nothing to be sorry about,” Ann told them. “You all took what you needed. You used the available resources to your ultimate advantage. It’s not your job to make sure there is enough food for everyone. If I want to eat breakfast, it is my responsibility to get food for myself. If you had each taken slightly less for yourselves to leave enough for me, that would be communism.”
“Jesus wasn’t a communist,” Malikwa said.
“He certainly wasn’t,” said Ann. She stood up from the table. “Now, you children finish eating and get started on your morning chores. I’m going to go out for breakfast this morning. I’ll be back in time for our lunchtime Bible study.”
“We love you, Ann!” they sang in unison as she walked out the door.
Ann strolled down the sidewalk in her beautiful American town. Reverend O’Neil walked by and gave her a wave and a big smile. “How are you this morning, Reverend?” she asked him.
“Just fine, Ann! Our youth group just got back from their mission trip to Bahrain, and they’re getting ready to leave again in a few days for Sri Lanka! Good thing I started taking that fourth collection during Sunday services! Gotta go!” Reverend O’Neil gave her another wave and went on his way.
“Good morning, Ann!” called Mrs. Feldman from across the street.
Ann turned and waved. “How are you, Mrs. Feldman?” she called back.
“Well, I lost my job,” Mrs. Feldman answered, sounding sad for the moment. “I told my students in Biology that evolution was only a theory, and the ACLU found out and sued the school. The board of education fired me.”
“Oh, no,” Ann said, “how horrible.”
“Yes,” Mrs. Feldman said, “and when they found out that I put a nativity scene on my lawn this past year, and sent out cards that said ‘Merry Christmas’ instead of ‘Happy Holidays,’ they sued to deny me unemployment, too. Not that I would have ever applied for it.”
“What awful, terrible news.”
“But I did get a bit of good news yesterday!” Mrs. Feldman said, brightening up. “My son Elijah wrote me from Iraq and told me they liberated another neighborhood from the insurgents last week! Not only that, but he can almost walk on his new leg without a limp now!”
“That’s wonderful, Mrs. Feldman, that’s the best news I’ve heard all week!”
Ann waved goodbye to Mrs. Feldman and kept going on her way. She felt a hand on her shoulder, stopped and turned around to see Larry the Recovering Alcoholic smiling at her. “Good morning, Ann! How are you today?”
“Just fine, Larry,” Ann said. “What can I do for you?”
“Well, I’m doing really good in my AA meetings, Ann. I admitted that I have a problem, I placed myself in the hands of God as I understand him – Praise, Jesus! – and now I have to make restitution for all the wrong I’ve done to people. So I’m going around and personally apologizing to everyone in town for voting for Bill Clinton.”
“That is very inspiring, Larry,” Ann said. “It takes a big man to admit when he was wrong.”
Larry offered Ann his hand. “Apology accepted?”
Ann stared at his hand for a second, eyebrow raised. Then she broke into a smile and shook Larry’s hand, laughing. “Apology accepted, Larry!” she warmly assured him.
Ann walked into her favorite restaurant. Andy, the owner, greeted her at the door. “Ann, so wonderful to see you! Your regular table?”
“Yes, please,” Ann said, “and to eat I’d like my usual, but I’d like to use the ladies room first.”
“Of course, of course,” Andy said, “go right ahead. I’m all out of toilet paper in there, but I’ve left a copy of the New York Times in there for you to use.”
A few minutes later, Ann walked out of the ladies room and sat down at her table. Andy came walking out of the kitchen with a covered silver tray in his hand. He placed the tray in front of Ann and told her to enjoy. She tucked her napkin into the collar of her shirt. She took a moment and looked around, at her perfect little restaurant, in her perfect little town, in the perfect country of America. She sighed. What a wonderful world it was. Ann lifted the cover off her plate and noisily devoured the live kitten.