Lenten Thanks

pk & Jan, Mardi Gras
pk & Jan, Elks Mardi Gras ’12

Authentic New Orleans Mardi Gras
Jan provided the clothing. She has boxes of Mardi Gras stuff, New Orleans. Her scarf, like my shirt, has the right colors but the scarf, could you see her moving, is iridescent and shimmers gold / green / purple. We both wear gold “King” crowns on necklaces. She wears a gold Bacchus pendant: god of wine, god of the feast. Neither of us wears our gold mask in this pic. Jan provided His & Hers Mardi Gras umbrellas. (They use those in Rio too!) I here twirl mine — ooo, more color (hers is back at our table: when dancing we used only one at a time). Note the crawdad on the cap she provided me: New Orleans, Mardi Gras again.
But what you really had to see in person was Jan in her gold skirt … and how well she shows off the dance floor.

Jeez, I thought she had us looking great for Valentines Day!

Yesterday was Mardi Gras, “fat Tuesday.” Hoowey, let’s party.
Today is Ash Wednesday, first day of Lent: repent, you sinners!

One doesn’t say Happy Ash Wednesday; the prescribed emotions are the opposite: yesterday we danced; today we’re sober, somber, God fearing. So instead I’ll hail Lent as a thanksgiving.

Give thanks at Lent: or don’t. But I do. I grew up Protestant. Protestants had Lent but we didn’t ritualize it, that’s for Catholics. But in the sixth grade or so I was making a new friend, John. One day, marauding my turf on my bicycle, I spotted John, on his bicycle, recognized the kid from school. He came right onto my block! first time I’d ever seen him there, Come on, he said, let’s ride. And we did. I went further afield that day than I’d ever gone before. John lived several blocks to the east, and from that day my jaunts expanded east as well as west, north, though not too much further south: south was Sunrise Highway, the RR … busy, busy: death and destruction. John, an RC, a year of so later asked, “Wha’d you give up for Lent? I gave up candy!” An hour later he was crunching on a candy bar, so much for Lent.

But I remembered it: and a year or so later, in the spring of the ninth grade, going out for the track team, I and all my WASP-future-alcoholic friends were laying claim to the team’s high jump, sprint, broadjump … I took the mile: leave me alone, let me be alone. But: by then I smoked. Milers aren’t smokers!
Thanks to John and his two hour sacrifice of candy I knew what to do, I’d digested it: I gave up cigarettes for Lent!

By the time Easter rolled around, I had some of my wind back, I’d placed second or third in races. One more third and I had my letter. I lit up, and inhaled. I did get another third, just barely.
But the real point, I now see, sixty years later, is that I’d successfully given something up: for Lent: for forty days, even if I hadn’t given it up permanently. I knew I could do it. I knew I could give it up permanently if I had to. Through high school I gave up smoking every year. In fact I gave it up for longer than Lent. I now believe that Lent concludes on Palm Sunday. I held my discipline till Easter: after church: 47 days! then inhale.

So: when the booze was buzzing my head too often, business suffered, I’d give it up: for a week, for two weeks, for a month … Finally I gave it up for good (gave up smoking too) (long before I gave up the booze).
Did my WASP friends have such luck? I don’t know: I haven’t seen any of them since 1977.

Social Survival

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
This entry was posted in addiction, kid, pk Teaching, social survival, society and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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