Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Alfred’s Ash Wednesday

            “Ash Wednesday! That just scares the pants off me, Mother,” said I. “Religion is alright up to a point, but really; let’s not push it too far.”

            Mother looked up from the morning paper and nodded, “I have to agree with you Alfred.  I like my church like the limbo, and I don’t mean the hell place. I like my church like the limbo, so low you can’t get under it.  Never mind all the fuferall.”

“Fuferall, Mother?”

“Oh, you know, all that extra stuff.  I didn’t mind the pancakes last night, but I rather prefer crepes with strawberries and a sugared almond glaze.  And can you image? Ashes? On my forehead?  Good gracious! It will spoil my makeup.”

“Oh, well, you can always wipe it off after, Mother.  That’s not what bothers me.’

“Yes, Alfred,” said Mother, expectantly.  “If it’s not the ashes, what is it?”

“Mother, it’s the whole thing.  I know that we have to go through Lent in order to get to Easter, and I even have figured out that the cross comes before the resurrection.  After all I have been listening to Father Goodfellow; and I am so looking forward to signing that tenor solo on Easter.  Do you know, Mother, what the priest says when he put the ashes on your head?”

“What, Alfred?”

“He actually says “Remember that thou art dust and to dust shalt thou return,” that seems to me to be just plain rude.”

“Well, tacky, certainly,” replied Mother, “but knowing you, I suspect that’s not all that is bothering you about Ash Wednesday.”

“Well, Mother, you are quite right.  It’s this whole emphasis on penitence.  I imagine it really tires God out.  I can hear him saying, “Every time I try to talk to someone it's "sorry this" and "forgive me that" and "I'm not worthy".

“Alfred!” said Mother, “Really!  Where do you get these ideas.”

“Mother, I always thought I lived a good life, I’ll get there, and it’s rather disturbing to discover that is not the case.  Father Goodfellow, Oh, by the way, can you imagine?  His first name is Earnest!  Anyway Father Goodfellow, is saying that we have to ask forgiveness for the things we’ve done wrong, as if I could remember them all!”

“That really is the point, isn’t Alfred.  Whatever have we gotten ourselves into?  Well, stiff upper lip, and all that.  We will just march on through it, but Alfred,” she paused.

“Yes, Mother?”

“Try not to make faces.  After all you are up in the choir in front of everyone.”

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