Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Pancake Day

Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow begins the long Lenten fast. Or so it is preached. I remember as a child I had to give up something for Lent, something I particularly liked or enjoyed, such as dessert or the Saturday afternoon matinee movie. The time saved was supposed to be spent in quiet contemplation. Come on! I was probably 8 years old when this was first explained to me. What did I know about quiet contemplation, or want to know, for that matter? Lent was also the time when we had a meatless Wednesday and fish every Friday. (That habit stuck; I still do fish on Friday.)

When I went away to school we had Lenten "projects" we were assigned. I remember a couple of years when we all ~ the entire boarding community ~ had to make baby clothes to be given to a local "home" for "unfortunate girls." Again, we had two or three meatless meals during Lent, usually Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evening supper. The lucky day students didn't have to do a thing and could eat whatever their Mom's served up! We did have a big pancake feast at Shrove Tuesday breakfast, with little foil-wrapped prizes folded into the batter and cooked into the pancake. Things like pennies (for future wealth), tiny metal toys (fertility tokens!), and always one "diamond" ring signifying, I guess, the prospect of eternal bliss.

Later on I gave up things like smoking or swearing or some other halo-polishing, wing-whitening activity of which I was particularly fond. I know someone who always gives up her favorite prosecco before dinner. These days? I figure I do enough quiet contemplation already. And I gave up smoking almost 40 years ago. Still working on the swearing.

This year I am taking something up instead of giving it up. I have decided that not writing my blog every day is getting too confusing. Mainly I can't remember everything that has happened unless I write it down right away. For at least the next 47 days (40 days of Lent plus 6 Sundays that don't count), I will write here every day. I trust you will be relieved when Easter finally arrives on April 24th. I know I will.


Alexandra said...

What a great discipline to take on. This truly will be a daily contemplation and reflection so you are covering a lot of Lenten "to-dos" with this! I look forward to being a daily reader!

Love you think of you and Jim daily there in C, thank you again and again for the wonderful gift of 10 days with you!

Pica said...

I'll be reading here every day! Just so you know, Babs and I met for lunch at Crepeville in honor of Pancake Day.

mary ann said...

That's a heavenly (ahem) treat for your readers. I hate it, but it helps me to post in my blog everyday. Love your Lent memories, we sophisticated Presbyterians didn't do that. We did, however, work on hypocrisy, but that's
another story for another day.