Booze with breakfast foods or unpleasant comments

Published 10:25 am Friday, February 24, 2012

Note to self: never, ever, drink Chardonnay with pancakes again.
Well, you see, I’m a “Whiskeypalian” Anglican, and for our church functions, there are usually a few bottles of wine available, next to the tea and coffee. However, at our annual ‘Shrove Tuesday’ Pancake Supper this past week, the offering also included pitchers of orange juice, tea and coffee and, naturally, the obligatory bottles of ‘Yellowtail’ wine.
The problem was, I was too stupid to notice the tea and coffee on the other side of the parish hall.
I stood in line to prepare a plate, first, for my mother, by the time I re-entered the que and filled my own plate with trimmings that would rival a great IHOP breakfast, the pitchers of orange juice were empty. Sighing, I poured a small wine glass from the tall, green, bottle and carried it back to the table to join fellow parishioners, my mother and Paul.
“What are you giving up for Lent?” my mother wanted to know.
“Well, to start with,” I said, between mouthfuls of pancake and scrambled egg, “booze with breakfast foods.”
But it did get me thinking.
Traditionally, the point of Lent is to rid oneself of the impediments that interfere with ones relationship with God. It is an act of penance, of self-discipline, repentance, and, most importantly, prepares the believer for the coming of “Holy Week,” culminating in the celebrations of Easter Sunday. And, as Christ was tempted for 40 days in the wilderness, we employ the same time frame.
So, it seemed a little half-hearted and benign to simply swear off chocolate or the nightly cocktail enjoyed while watching the news.
Remembering that my priest has, in the past, urged us not to focus on giving something up, but rather, adding something meaningful to our lives instead: volunteering, charitable giving, calling your mother more frequently, I have finally decided upon my Lenten pledge.
And remember, this is campaign season, which will make it supremely difficult.
I am going to do my best not to say a single unpleasant word about anyone.
That’s right: when Facebook friends post an outrageous headline regarding an unguarded, callous, comment made by a candidate or religious figure, or I’m on the receiving end of a delicious scrap of gossip regarding a particular trouble-maker, instead of issuing a withering rebuke, I shall call upon my southern roots and simply state what my dear, departed, Methodist neighbor was wont to say:
“Well, she’s certainly a character, isn’t she?”
Or even better,
“I suppose we’ll just have to love him even harder, won’t we?”
As a matter of fact, I nominate that last phrase to be embraced and used with such frequency that it becomes a soothing balm within this culture of negativity in which we reside. Honestly, I cannot even read the ‘comment’ section of news articles on-line, anymore. So much venom is spewed forth by those who hide behind the anonymity of their keyboards that it leaves me shaken that there are countless people among us that are filled with such seething hostility. And we have certainly all witnessed the caustic and hurtful comments tossed back and forth in recent political debates.
Can you just imagine Newt Gingrich turning after receiving a particularly scathing attack and saying, “I guess I’m just going to have to love you even harder, Mitt!”
Talk about an ‘instant replay’ moment that would be played over and over on the following day’s news!
I believe that good cultivates good and bad cultivates bad. So I will push up my shirtsleeves and get to work upholding my pledge. It’s certainly going to be difficult at times.
Particularly remaining polite about the makers of Yellowtail Chardonnay.

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