Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My wife informed me yesterday by phone it was Shrove Tuesday. For those of you as religiously ignorant as I am (more on that later), this is the day before the start of Lent for Catholics.

Lent is a time of fasting and eating simple foods, so apparently Catholics have historically deemed Shrove Tuesday as the day to empty their larders of all the richer ingredients. My wife referred to it as "Pancake Tuesday," which made my heart skip a beat. She asked if pancakes would be acceptable for dinner, which is like asking John Pinette if he minds swinging by Ponderosa with you on the way home.

So I sat at our kitchen table last night, cramming down a huge stack of flapjacks made the right way (damn near fried and Bisquik as the mix) and feeding little bits to my hovering 11-month-old daughter. We both mmmm'd and clucked at the buttery treat, luxuriating in the taste of the real Canadian maple syrup, and I thought that if pancakes were a regular part of religion, I might have never fallen to the spiritual wayside.

It also reminded me of a time I greatly embarrassed my mother. This was probably 10 years ago, and I was swinging through my hometown. Mom worked in the school district's administration office, so I popped in for a quick hello. As we hugged and I waved to the other ladies in the office, I noticed something odd.

"Gosh, Mom, you have a big spot of dirt or something on your forehead," I said, licking my finger and wiping at it.

Mom looked at me blankly for a second before she realized and started swatting at me.

"It's Ash Wednesday, you dummy!" she shrieked, backpedalling away.

Unfortunately, the damage was done, and Mom's ashes from early Mass ended up a smudge on my heathen hands.

Sorry, Mom.

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