Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Letting the Good Times Roll

How does you celebrate Mardi Gras?  I know that many people's brains go directly to drinking.  I also think of the traditional Shrove Tuesday pancake suppers of my youth.

My current church used to do a pancake supper, complete with delicious bacon that left a smell that lingered in the fellowship hall for weeks.  But we did it on Ash Wednesday, which made a kind of sense.  Have a meal full of the ingredients that once we'd have been giving up for Lent, and then head over to the sanctuary to be reminded of our dusty destiny.

But that was back in the days when we had a men's club that would cook on certain key days; they also prepared Easter Sunday breakfast.  It seemed a throwback to a distant time, maybe in the 1950's, when men repaired things and cooked occasionally, just to show that they could.

Tonight I'll return home, while my spouse heads out to teach his evening class.  I'll stop by the library to pick up books that are being held for me.  I'll continue with my great guest room sorting project.  It makes a kind of Ash Wednesday sense, if not a Mardi Gras sense.

Actually, we are at the juxtaposition of many holidays that involve tidying:  a Candlemas tradition involves sweeping one's house, the Chinese New Year has a time of deep cleaning, and many of the days leading up to Lent involve a straightening. Many of our Mardi Gras and Shrove Tuesday traditions come out of the need to use up the excess.  In medieval times, most Christians would give up all sorts of luxury items for Lent, luxury items like milk, eggs, and alcohol.  So just before Lent came the using up of the luxury items--because you wouldn't just throw them away.  Hence the special Mardi Gras breads and treats and the drinking.

In the past, I've made special bread; if you have time, this blog post will walk you through the process.  I've made pancakes, but it always makes me somewhat sad to eat them alone.  I will not go out drinking tonight--I have to get up early tomorrow to go to spin class and then to work.

Mardi Gras is one of those holidays, much like Halloween, that makes me want to stay inside and bolt the door.  It seems dangerous, all these adults getting senselessly drunk.  Women, especially women alone, rarely fare well in scenes of mass drunkenness.

No, I will turn on the porch light and stay safe at home.  I'll continue with my tidying.  I'll do a bit of writing, perhaps.  Or maybe I'll just settle into a good book.  I'm close to finishing Imagine Me Gone; I'm at the point where I want to know how the author will tie up all these threads.

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