Feb 25, 2009

I reached a sort of truce with my cousin and this Facebook thing. I had quit Facebook altogether, but I got an email from the cousin bugging me to unquit. She had some pictures that she wanted me to identify. So, I'm back in for that purpose only. This is one of the pictures. This is me and my brother Gary, taken in 1954. Yes, there were cameras in 1954. We had just moved to Hooterville from Tampa, FL. Much of my life until I was 18, involved moving to or from Hooterville. My old man loved the place. Apparently, Mom crisscrossed Gary's suspenders to keep him from taking off his pants. As they say, "Nice try". Nothing ever worked the way it was supposed to when it came to my brother. My brother died in 2005 from heart disease, brought on by a life of doing the wrong stuff. Today is Ash Wednesday, or so I'm told. Like most things in life, my interest in Lent is limited to its effect on me. Do what you will, but try not to bother me too much. So how does Ash Wednesday affect Merle Wayne Sneed? Let me tell you. The first customer that I waited on today, was fresh in from Mass at St. Elmo's, just down the block. He had a huge black smudge in the middle of his ample forehead. It allegedly began as a cross, but by the time he got to the store, it had morphed into a blob. Based on the size of the black spot, I figure he must have asked for extra ashes, since he has extra forehead. How does one keep eye contact with a guy who has a big black smudge on his forehead? You don't or at least I don't. I kept staring at the smudge. "Yoo-hoo, down here hardware man." And this went on all day. In the beginning the smudges were crisp and orderly. By the end of the day, they were not so much so, some having even migrated to other parts of the face. What do they do they say at the end of the Ash Wednesday mass, "Go forth and buy hardware"? They must. Then, tonight at bowling, I had to be the stand-in league secretary because of Lent. The league secretary is the guy who collects the money from the bowlers. It is not nearly that easy, because many of the bowlers would rather use their money for drinking, so they have to be badgered to pay up. Plus, because of the drinking aspect of bowling, there are disputes about how much money they think they paid versus how much they actually paid. Normally, my buddy the Seafood King, handles this chore, but since he owns a chain of fish joints, he had to go help sling fish on the first night of Lent. The Catholics line up outside his door waiting to get in. Most retail places count on the Christmas season, The Seafood King looks to Lent to make the big money. Here's something I have never quite understood. Why is going out for fish at a restaurant a sacrifice but staying home and eating meat isn't ? Even when I was a half-assed Catholic, lo those many years ago, I never got that part. Okay, that's enough offending for one post. As you were. Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky

9 comments:

Karen said...

I find the whole ashes on the head thing to be very distracting too. When I used to work with the public, it took all I had not to offer people that came up to me a wet wipe to clean themselves up...

Avid Reader said...

I saw someone yesterday with ashes on the head !!!! --she said she got them at the Espiscopal church (with a woman priest) then she told me that A LOT of different denominations churches do this ash thing. Growing up I asked about it, because I thought it was beyond strange. My mom just told me never to do it-- and gave no explanation. But I always thought it was just a Catholic thing like waving around Palm Branches on Palm Sunday.

bella rum said...

You were way cute, Merle. Dad abused his body his entire life and I do mean abused. Some people get away with it and some don't.

Avid Reader said...

Hey I just checked Wikipedia and they said:

"The ashes used are gathered after the Palm Crosses from the previous year's Palm Sunday are burned."

very weird. And then the minister applies the ashes mixed with oil onto the foreheads. And people wear them to show how sad they are that they are sinners.
I never knew what this was about. --The Orthodox churches have no Ash Wednesday, but several weeks later they have a similar day called "Clean Monday"

Oh and I have a question--why didn't your brother want to wear pants?

Barbara said...

I'm with you on Facebook. I just don't see the purpose after you've found all those old high school friends that have been lost. Blogging and e-mail are about all I can handle.

As far as fish and Catholics go, our rabbi told a joke this past week worth repeating:

At one point a lot of Jews in Spain were forced to convert to Catholicism. The conversion ceremony had a line something like, "You used to be a Jew and now you're a Catholic." Soon after one man converted he was seen by the priest as he was eating chicken on Friday. When confronted with his sin, he responded, "I just said 'You used to be a chicken and now you're a fish.'" I guess the priest didn't buy it.

Here's a question: How did the Catholics decide it was no longer necessary to eat fish on Fridays?

Megan said...

I was going to explain to Avid how they get the ashes, but I'm already too late. It's an interesting little ritual.

Offspring got his at school yesterday but I abstained again...

Julia said...

You two were so cute! GOod idea about the overalls. My kids never wanted to wear pants either. They weren't fond of shirts either for that matter. I have a friend who has been known to duct tape on her son's diaper to keep it on.

Steve said...

I don't have much experience with the whole ash thing, either in my previous life as a Presbyterian or my current life as a Buddhist. Except that I see people wearing them.

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

Okay.. let's be friends on Facebook...

Terri King

invite me... LOL