We are seated in a red vinyl booth in the middle of two rows of such booths adjoined on one side. The booths behind, ahead and next to us are already occupied by diners. Two parties chomp happily on their burgers, fries and shakes and the third family is waiting for their food next to us.
This African American family includes two parents and two daughters, one about six and the other near 10 years old. The girls sit next to each other and fold their children's' menus into the toy cars they were designed to become. Their mother sits in the nook of their father's arm wrapped round her shoulders. She wears a large gold cross around her neck.
After we order, the family's food arrives and teases my hunger with the aroma of grilled beef. "Yay!" squeals the young one. Her sister puts her hand over the child's mouth. The parents laugh. The small girl starts to grab a fry and her father stops her hand. "We say grace whether we're at home or away," he tells her. She releases her french fry, all four join hands and bow heads.
Her father prays in a low voice. I cannot hear much and feel rather sleazy listening to someone's prayer. At the end, I do hear a request to bless tomorrow's inauguration. At the end of her Dad's sentence, the youngest daughter says loudly:
"And God, Barack has been very good. Please protect Sasha and Malia's Daddy. Amen!"
An older woman in the booth across from this family, says "Amen", also. A younger couple behind this family clap for the little girl, and others join her in our booth area. I look around at the handful of people clapping, they are white, black, Hispanic people applauding a small child's request to protect this man who assumes his awesome responsibility to protect us, all of us, tomorrow morning.