In search of story

March 5.19


Of all the rites of spring

as sure as tulip spear

the forty days of Lent

anchored budding year.

Forsaking sweets (so saintly!)

with purpled liturgies

we plodded ash-benighted

with callouses on knees.

Fish and macaroni

— with a ho, for purgatory! —

we loved and gobbled up

in pleasure gustatory,

and through the season’s sackcloth

on temptation’s slippery brink

cinnamony hot cross buns,

penitential wink.

I laugh at memories ancient

and admonishments infernal

but I don’t laugh at the lesson

that spring can be internal.


 Whatever your traditions, dear reader,

may Shrove Tuesday bring you spring!


With more thanks to photographer S.W. Berg.

7 thoughts on “March 5.19

  1. Another teachable moment from you to me. I have all those memories you mention plus the Chapel Veil or tissue on my head, but I’ve never heard the term Shrove Tuesday. So, thank you not only for the smile but the opportunity to look that one up. By the way, I love cinnamon hot cross buns. 🙂

    • Oh, those chapel veils! And, yes, the tissue on the head! Or the hanky. My mom set my hair in rags — rags!! — every Saturday in a vain attempt to get my hair to curl. Picture that coiffure if you can with the hanky on top. Goodness, how one memory leads to another! Good to share Shrove Tuesday with you!

  2. Mama (my mum’s mum) would make us pancakes for Shrove Tuesday when we were little. They were thin ones (the best), served with lemon and sugar. The number we ate served, for her, as testament to their deliciousness.

    • I have heard that pancakes are traditional Shrove Tuesday fare in many homes. Your grandma’s version does sound wonderful — food traditions sure make eternal memories!

    • When I wrote my first reply, I’d forgotten that I wanted to ask you if you know of Jeff Kacirk’s “Forgotten English” calendars. They make me laugh and squirm and even think! On Shrove Tuesday he featured “lagniappe,” which, thanks to you, I’d heard of! The language history for the day was about the language of New Orleans, and, in between chortles, I thought of you. I don’t know if you can find any of this online, but, if you can, I think you will enjoy his New Orleans commentary.

      • I looked him/them up. I confess to thinking ‘I hope I’m not writing too much forgotten English’ so I was glad when I found out, in general, I don’t seem to be. 🙂

        I had forgotten the meaning of a conversation taking place ‘under the rose’. Lagniappe is a word my sweetheart introduced me to. He has also taught me a good deal of Southern American slang which it is tempting to use, like ‘go figure!’ and ‘all y’all’, although it does not sit naturally with Northern English slang – laugh and squirm probably sums it up! I do like slang though, more and more.

      • Too much forgotten English? No way! There’s no such thing! Besides, some of it ought not be forgotten! I can well believe that Southern American slang “does not sit naturally” with Northern English slang, but what cross-pollination is there! Slang is wonderfully useful! I hope you and Mr, Kacirk will keep teaching me!

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