Archive | March, 2013

Disorganized Religion

29 Mar

It has long been said that if you don’t like “organized religion” our parish is the perfect place for you. There are Sundays when it’s like amateur hour. “Has anybody here ever done this before?”

At one of our mid-week Masses, Fr. Matthew couldn’t find the wine. The cruets weren’t on the altar. He looked into the little ceramic vases that take the place of flowers during Lent, thinking maybe one of our more creative types might have stuck them over there. No joy. So before anybody from the Altar Guild could move, he charged down the side aisle to the sacristy, and came back with the entire fifth of wine! He filled the chalice and then sat the bottle on the edge of the altar.

It is hard to be serious at a time like that, but it was just so Resurrection!

He had announced some time ago that he would be having a footwashing on Maundy Thursday. Now, I don’t know about you, but my first thought when he asked if I would participate, was PEDICURE!! Apparently, all the other ladies had the same idea. The four of us came up and sat on chairs in front of the altar, one shoe off and one shoe on, and tried to act as if we did this all the time.  When he washed my feet, he said, “Good Heavens! What’s that.” It was supposed to be a flower, but it really did resemble a heart. He asked another woman if that was her natural color, and then said, “Ah, purple for Lent.”

After all of the foolishness of the footwashing, we got down to the seriousness of the Mass. I would imagine that even though Jesus knew what was coming there was, as there generally is, some laughing and joking at that Seder, too. We used Rite C, which is not my favorite, but it is the most penitential of the services, and very appropriate.

The altar was stripped and scrubbed, the lights were dimmed, Psalm 22 was read, and then Fr. Matthew did something I have never seen. Each of the five incised crosses on the altar top were gently anointed with oil, and then he kissed the altar and walked out. The crucifer and I turned off the sanctuary lights, and followed – in darkness and in silence.

One Thing Leads to Another

25 Mar

A few weeks ago I found a beautiful bedding set online. We’ve had the same spread on the bed since our fifth anniversary, so I figured it just might be time for a change.

Of course, nothing is ever simple.  I decided the drapes needed to be cleaned, too, while we were at it. This is a much bigger deal than it sounds, as we have four windows in the room, plus a canopy over the bed. I clean the whole shebang once a decade, whether it needs it or not. Naturally, nothing can be replaced until all of the furniture is pulled out from the wall, carpets vacuumed, and both the walls and the backs of the furniture dusted. And where did all that stuff under the bed come from? I didn’t recognise any of it! Everything off the dresser, desk, and cedar chest; wax and polish, wipe down, wash mirrors. You’d think we were cleaning for Passover!

The bedding set had only a 15-inch dust ruffle, and we need one 18 inches deep, so I had to find time to get to Joann Fabric and pick up a half yard of muslin, so I could put a 9-inch strip down the middle of the platform. Easy enough. Iron the dust ruffle, get The Squire to help flip the mattress off the bed, and then back on.

Sir Edmund tests the quilt for softness.

Sir Edmund tests the quilt for softness.

He had taken two long narrow pieces of plywood and placed them under the back legs of the bed to make it easier to make it easier to slide back and forth. He took them out of the house while I was ironing drapes, and I heard a tremendous crash. I dashed downstairs to see what had happened, and he came in holding his head. “I dropped one piece of wood on my head” he moaned.

And sweet, loving wife that I am, the first thing out of my mouth was, “Thank goodness you didn’t drop it on the glass picnic table.”

You may remember that last year, just about this time, I went on a cleaning spree and it snowed. We woke up this morning to four inches of snow, and it is still coming down. Ah, springtime in Baltimore!

It Loses Something in Translation.

24 Mar

Our rector had us in stitches again this morning. He is a former RC priest who has served in many different parishes in several countries.

One of those parishes was right here in Baltimore, in a predominantly Polish neighborhood.  When the priest there retired, the archdiocese, in its infinite wisdom, sent a very nice man from Louisiana, who spoke “Southern” English y’all – and Creole. At his first Mass, the crucifer held up the Bible for him to read the Gospel, and the dear man did an absolutely classic double-take. Nobody told the poor soul everything was done in Polish!

So, the crucifer whispered the words, and Fr. Creole tried to repeat them, and thus they limped along through the Gospel.

The rest of the service was done in a combined French and Southern accent.  I wonder if anybody there understood anything at all.

Many, many years ago, we had a parishioner from Germany, who learned to speak English in Kentucky. Like E.F. Hutton, when that man spoke you listened.

One of Those Days

23 Mar

My temp agency called me about a week ago to ask if I’d be interested in working on Friday (yesterday), handling the registration desk for a medical seminar at a hotel about five miles from the house. I’ve done these before and enjoy them – close to home, only four hours work, and the pay is good.

I got my clothing laid out in the guest room on Thursday night, as I had to be up at 5 AM, and at work by 6:30. Up and dressed and ready to leave at 6:10. I tiptoed into the bedroom to leave the phone beside The Squire; one of the local restaurants donates bread to our food closet  and he had forgotten to go get it Thursday night after I had gone to bed, so I wanted to call him and get him down there before they opened.

Just as well I put the phone there, as my very first action when I got to work was to spill hot coffee all down the front of my suit. I woke up The Squire and asked him to bring me clean, dry clothing, and – of course – remind him to stop for the bread on the way home.

When I got off at 10:30, there was an accident in front of the hotel (what is it with my working Friday mornings that causes accidents to happen in my path?) so I waited forever to get out onto the main road. As I finally drove away, I discovered there was a second exit to the lot, and I could have been on my way twenty minutes ago! I hate when that happens.

Came home, took a nap, and loaded the wash into The Squire’s car to run to the laundry. (One of many disadvantages of living in a swamp is that our septic won’t handle an automatic washer.)

There is a grocery store next to the laundry, so I stopped to pick up a few things, including several bags of candy for the Easter Egg hunt at church. Although they all had different prices, they were in a bin marked $1, so I grabbed three. When I got to the checkout, it turned out the bags had been tossed into the wrong bin by other shoppers, and were “priced as marked”. I can do the “sweet, helpless, little old lady” routine fairly well, so the manager let me have about $8 worth of candy for $3.

And then I walked out of the store without the bag and had to go back.

Collected my wash and then wandered the lot for several minutes looking for my car, until it dawned on me that I was driving The Squire’s car, not mine.

I really shouldn’t be allowed out alone.

And the Music Goes ‘Round and ‘Round…

13 Mar

Never a camera.

One of our squirrels managed to squeeze between the wires on the globe feeder, and was merrily chomping away when we went out to fill all the feeders this morning. As soon as he saw us, the critter began madly dashing around the inside of the feeder, like a gerbil on a wheel, but sideways instead of upright. All this spinning made the chain twist up until it had gone as far was it could go, and then the globe began spinning clockwise, while the squirrel continued racing counter-clockwise. (See photos of the feeder on February 22nd.)

He finally managed to get himself disentangled from the wires and sort of flew out onto the ground, with a serious stagger.  Can birds laugh?