Childhood Rituals

As young girls my mother and her sisters would climb to the seven churches of Montreal, ending with the one where crippled kids and adults would crawl up hundreds of steps to shed their crutches and walk back down. I am a bit dubious of that.

After I and my sister were born we went through the traditional Catholic education and Mass every Sunday. Mom used to make us sit on the sofa while she read The Passion on Good Friday. Why they called it “good” I never learned.

On Easter Sunday we’d get a small gift, the only one I can remember is that we received matching Keds red plaid sneakers. Of course we could not wear them to Mass. Get your Easter dresses, socks and shoes, girls. Don’t forget your hats and white gloves or we’ll be late! I think after church we each got a small hollow chocolate bunny. Probably after dinner so it wouldn’t spoil our appetites. That’s how I remember it.

It’s interesting that as a private cook I don’t remember what we ate after church. Probably ham. I think I was five or six with the sneakers, because of where we were living and photos I recall. Mom’s no longer around to correct me and I’m certain Dad doesn’t remember such a small childhood moment.

We will not read The Passion of Christ this year. I may even cook lamb for dinner. There will be no church service of any sort, my husband’s or mine. I get to see him nearly two days per week. I believe we pray quietly on our own, and do not need a priest or preacher to guide us. If we do, we will ask for one.

My father was cut out of my weekends because when my parents married the Priest made him promise to make us kids Catholic. He was Lutheran. Oh, they could sing. My husband was introduced to an individually-organized Texas church and just went to a service with his parents last weekend. No choirs, only single voices, and no dancing. What fun is that?

Do you wonder why we eloped with six friends? Wine vs. iced tea, dancing or not. It would have been a disaster. Plus my parents were divorced after many years. Mom is gone for years and Dad is older and ill. They never met my in-laws but know/knew my husband. Perhaps we’ll ask the Lord to renew our vows before family. In the Easter festiveness, please do not send me red plaid Keds. Dee


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