Sour Gripes


I’m certain it’s another sign of getting a little long in the tooth. With the approach of Easter my mind wandered back the past few days of the weeks leading up to the celebration in years long past. It has been so long since we religiously followed Shrove Tuesday not simply as “Pancake Day”. I don’t recall any ashes on Ash Wednesday but I do recall efforts to “give up” something for lent. I had no idea that Mardi Gras translates as “Fat Tuesday” and is indeed named after the eating of fatty foods prior to Ash Wednesday and Lent. I also was mildly surprised to read that the Shrove Tuesday tradition was more (perhaps still is) important in the Roman Catholic and Anglican branches of Christianity. I do vividly remember how important it was for us to attend Palm Sunday the week before Easter and receive our palm leaf folded into a cross and the celebration of Jesus riding triumphantly into Jerusalem on a donkey over palms laid to lead his way. It seemed that Easter Sunday was the day we started off spring with new underwear and socks that were as regular as Easter candy. Everyone looked a little “Spiffier” at church. I remember one year getting a fedora and a new white shirt. Was the clip on tie also new? Did all the little girls have on their best dress and hat (seemed odd they wore their bonnets yet we took our hats off at the door) Every pair of shoes shone. It was the most special “church day” of the year. Although I attempt to progress spiritually I lament my failure to do enough to pass Faith on.

Whenever a “Holiday” approaches I relive family gatherings. If you know me you can surely see how much I love the tables of plenty that we gathered around. I was reminded of my grandmother and her part in our lives. I always remember that the tea kettle magically turned on with the opening of the house door. A level of comfort sat in as soon as we entered. As the tea was brewing the refrigerator or a cupboard door opened and a snack was set out (or a meal started). I was surprised to hear that in some families there is still always time for a cup of welcoming tea. All these warm feelings were wandering through my mind in any spare moment. Then reality crashed in. “What a disaster in Brussels!” I had not heard.

At a time when peace and goodness were top of mind a sick feeling came over me. Man’s inhumanity to man blasted in front and center! How can such barbarism exist in this day and age when we think we have become so civilized? Once again we are reminded that we are at war. It may be a war like we have not seen before. It is a war. It is possible for a few to elude huge numbers of law enforcement officers and soldiers to commit crimes against innocent (in our eyes: somehow not theirs) people of all ages. I feel sad and sick. I pray for the victims and their survivors. Such a shock!

REMINISCING: It was and is the season of change. We were anxious as kids to take full advantage of the longer days after a winter of heavy clothes and boots. It is odd that a miserable cool damp day chills as bad as extreme winter cold. Some days after school we could play some street hockey. In those days it may have been into playoffs by now and we had to mimic our favourite N.H.L. team (easier with only six teams). We might toss a football around but usually the ball gloves and bats were still stored away. It just didn’t have enough action to ward off the chill I guess. It may have been that we were too hasty in shucking the winter coats. I still think I shiver more in the damp. As I write this I seem to remember more bright sunny Easter Sundays than nasty ones so I hope this miserable cold wet subsides and our week end builds new sunny memories.


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