I found myself in a conversation this morning explaining the 40 days and nights theory of self-sacrifice to one who had never heard of that particular story during her spiritual bringin' up. Even though I haven't darkened the door of a church in months, I still keep the seasons close to my heart. I guess I kinda sorta see it as taking it on the road like the early believers did. I spent many years as a faithful attendee at a church that was packed on Christmas and Easter and deserted on Tennessee football game and holiday weekends.
I got ashed several times....a very moving experience when taken seriously. Tradition dictates that the ashes of the previous christian year's palm fronds which waved victoriously as Jesus entered Jerusalem be placed on the foreheads of the Ash Wednesday participants as a reminder of the meaning of the whole thing. Easter bunnies from the Dollar General kind of miss the mark. Mama tells the story of how her grandmother Ethel and the other elderly ladies would bring their birds to church on Easter morning for sunrise service. Ethel had parakeets to keep her company in that house on Pate while my grandaddy Ockie worked at the KW Rogers store. She and I would load in up in that ancient white car with the faded red top and head down to F.W. Woolworth on the square to get a coke and scope out the new crop of birds. Ockie died before I was born but his picture hung in the back bedroom where I slept. Since the bathroom was right next door and the light stayed on, he stared at me all night and I usually ended up next to her bony butt, scared to death.