He'd say grace, giving thanks to a God he has dedicated his life to worship and bring people to give their life to and open their hearts to accept.
Then, he'd peak a quick glance and smile at his daughter - as she was deep in prayer - knowing that in another year, she'd bless him with another grandchild.
But we must not wish to live a world that does not exist.
We live in this world, and Phil Byars is a father to a murdered daughter.
Amanda Blackburn. [Amanda Blackburn's father: "I want to be more like Amanda", WTHR.com, 11-24-15]:
Amanda Blackburn's father acknowledges he's been feeling a wide range of emotions since getting the terrible news of his daughter's death.
Amanda Blackburn was found shot in the head during a burglary inside her home on Nov. 10th. On Monday, Indianapolis Metro Police arrested two men in connection with the murder and burglary.
Phil Byars says he's praying that God will soften his heart. Speaking to WTHR at his home in South Carolina, Byars told us, "I know that God brings justice through government. God brings justice. He will bring upon these men what He wills. That's not for us to worry about and to think about and to fixate on. We just need to turn it over to him and we'll take care of it."
"I have seen the men and I do know their names," Byars said of the two suspects accused in his daughter's brutal murder. He says he's not really sure how he feels about them.
Suspects Larry Taylor and Jalen Watson pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday morning.
"I'm sure any dad would understand that when your daughter's a little girl...there's nothing gonna stand between you and your little girl. You're gonna do everything in your power to protect her from any kind of wickedness, any kind of evil. Never gonna let it happen, right? I have those same feelings today with my adult children, especially my daughters. So what rises up in me is hard to deal with, because I want to be angry. It would be really easy to become bitter and hateful in the midst of all this. But there's nothing good down that road. There's nothing happy down that road. There's nothing righteous down that road. I'm trusting that the Lord is gonna strengthen us and take that away, those feelings. Byars quoted scripture, saying, "'Vengeance is mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. It's not ours to take into our hands vengeance upon anyone who does evil to us or our children. But it hurts and it's painful. So we're asking God to help us with those feelings.
We asked Mr. Byars about Amanda's legacy. He replied with a smile.
"She's the love of my life. Here's what I know about Amanda. Unapologetically, she gave her whole self to God. So her legacy is that she gave her whole self to God in His service to serve people. 'Cause that's how we serve God, by serving others. I want to be like that. I want to be more like Amanda. I hope that everyone who looks at this and looks into this would say, 'Wow, I want to be like Amanda Blackburn.'"An 18-year-old black gang member murdered Amanda Blackburn.
He had two black accomplices, one of whom should have still been in jail, but had his sentence commuted.
Because of these three black males, Phil Byars no longer has a daughter.
On this Thanksgiving in 2015 America, Rudyard Kipling's poem stirred deep within Byars as he finished saying grace, only to look upon an empty seat where his daughter should have been sitting.