Posted tagged ‘church’’

“‘Twas Easter-Sunday. The full-blossomed trees Filled all the air with fragrance and with joy.”

April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!!

Alexa woke me up at 7:15 this morning so I could go down the street and decorate the tree beside my friends’ deck. It is a tradition. I draped garlands, old cards and egg shaped ornaments all over the tree then left quickly. I hate getting caught. I’ll go back down to my friends’ house later for baskets then we’ll leave for dinner.

It is a glorious Easter Sunday, sunny and warm, perfect for showing off new clothes and whirling dresses. The pictures will all be outside in front of budding trees, flowering bushes and the bright bulb flowers like the dafs and hyacinths.

When I was a kid, we wore our new clothes to church then over to my grandparents’ house in East Boston. My grandparents always had special Easter treats for all of us like candy and small baskets. I have one very distinct memory of an Easter Sunday with them in East Boston. My grandparents lived in an apartment before they moved a couple of streets away to a house. The apartment was the one on the second floor. My great-grandfather was still alive and living with my grandparents. He used to sit on a rocking chair in the room with the big gas heater. He’d yell and spit. We used to run as fast as we could to get by him to get to the TV room. I remember all of that, and I remember the Easter he snatched my basket away from me. I don’t remember the snatching, but I remember the horror, and I remember running to the kitchen crying to tell my mother what happened. My grandmother came to the rescue and got my basket back. I stayed in the kitchen for the rest of the visit.

When I was down the street this morning, I noticed the house across the street had eggs all over the grass and under trees. Later I heard the kids hunting and one yelling that he’d found more eggs. I figured he’d gotten to the lawn which had tons of eggs scattered  all over, no hunting skills required. The eggs were all colored plastic unlike the eggs of my day which were real, hard-boiled colored by hand eggs. Sometimes the count of found eggs was less than the count of hidden eggs. That’s why outside hunting was always best.

I hope you have the loveliest of Sundays and a wonderful Easter.

“How often have the greatest thoughts and ideas come to light during conversations with the family over the evening dinner?”

April 2, 2017

The sunlight is wonderfully bright. The sky is a dark blue. It is warmer than it has been so it feels warm to me. When I helped Gracie into the yard, I stayed outside for a bit basking in the sun. She ran around the yard the way she used to when she was younger then bounded up the stairs into the house. She deserved her treat!

When I went to bed last night, it was close to 2 AM. I was watching television, going through those pesky catalogs and checking out recipes on Pinterest. I woke up this morning at 10:45. My mother would have called that the sleep of the dead.

I never used to need lists. My memory was enough. Now I need list after list. Alexa keeps my grocery list and stickies hold the rest. There is a great deal of satisfaction in crossing off completed tasks despite how mundane some of them are. I have to sweep the kitchen today. That’s an easy one to complete. One down!

Despite the season or maybe because of it, a few movies on the deck films have already arrived. Most are 50’s black and white B movies with aliens or gigantic creatures or both; also, I have ordered a few of my favorites like Gunga Din and Rear Window. Spring needs to step up so summer won’t seem so far away.

If I were to choose a favorite day of the week, I’d choose Sunday. I wasn’t keen on going to mass when I was young so I consider that the only blight on the day. Most Sundays when I was a kid were quiet. I’d read the Sunday funnies. After the Sunday matinee movies started on TV, we’d watch those in the afternoon. I remember watching Lassie, Come Home. We were all at Sunday dinner in those days, jammed into the small kitchen. On the cold days, the windows there got steamy. I remember my mother used Melmac plates and bowls. For some strange reason, I have a visual memory of a bowl heaped with mashed potatoes. Sunday night meant earlier to bed because of school, but I never really complained. I was usually tired.

Even now, Sunday is different than the rest of the week. I have two papers to read, and I like to take my time. Sometimes I make eggs, bacon, and toast for breakfast. I usually have dinner though I often buy it rather than make it. More than not I have mashed potatoes.

I figure more than any other day, Sunday holds the most family memories.

“I couldn’t shed the cold; it clung to every bit of me.”

January 31, 2017

I walked out of the house to get the papers and was totally taken aback at how cold it was. It was sunny then but the sun was just a backdrop providing some light but no heat. Since then the sun has been replaced by whitish clouds. Snow will be coming later but only an inch or two. I’m staying home today where I’ll be warm and comfortable.

When I was a kid, winter usually meant staying inside after school. I’d do my homework and then watch TV. The only exercise I had was walking to and from school. We, the four of us, must have driven my mother crazy. My brother and I would tease our younger sisters. He and I would sit on the couch on each side of one sister and point at her. That drove her crazy and she’d yell to my mother about us. We’d yell back and say we weren’t even touching her, but my mother knew. She’d tell us to stop.

I didn’t my bike out much in the winter. Mostly I walked everywhere. Some Saturdays I’d ride with my father when he did his errands. My favorite stop was at the Chinaman’s as everyone in town called it. The shop was where my dad left his white shirts each week to be cleaned. Behind the counter on shelves were bundles of cleaned shirts wrapped in brown paper tied with string. The laundry was always steamy from the big ironing machine by the window. I used to watch the Chinaman iron.

On Sunday, if I was up and dressed early enough I could ride with my father to church. He was an usher at the eight o’clock mass. He’d give me a dime to put in the basket. I always sat in a pew where he collected the money. The ushers never sat. They just stood in the back entryway and talked in whispers until it was time for the money offerings.

One of the best parts of being retired is staying home on the coldest of days, a day like to day.

“Weekends don’t count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.”

April 16, 2016

I guess it is too early in the spring for the sun to sustain itself more than a day or two. It is gray and windy, big time windy. I can hear the sweet sound of the chimes hanging in the backyard.

The cats hate me. Fern has medicine once a day and the medicine ear rub is also once a day. Maddie has a daily ear rub in each ear. This morning Fern has had her medicine and Maddie her first rub. Both have disappeared. Gracie the snoring dog is the only pet still here with me.

Saturday has always been the best day of the week ever since I was really young. Weekdays meant school. I liked school, but I didn’t like being stuck there all day long. One recess a day just wasn’t enough. Sunday had church, a perfect reason not to like the day. In winter there was always the Saturday matinee or a day to do anything we wanted. On TV was the Creature Double Feature. I saw giant spiders, a colossal man, a 50 foot woman, Mole people, giants ants, a teenage werewolf and Godzilla. Both the Colossal Man and the 50 Foot Woman were quite ill-tempered, and she was even vengeful in going after her philandering husband who was carousing at a bar while she grew taller. I didn’t blame her. The giant creatures like the ants in Them were the results of the atomic bomb. I never minded staying home on a rainy Saturday. Watching TV was like being in B-movie heaven. Every now and then I find a favorite B&W science fiction movie on TCM. It’s like finding a treasure, a gem.

Most of this week was a bust. I’m hoping for better starting tomorrow. I’m not as obnoxious as Pollyanna and her glad game, but I’d like a few days with warm sun, a neat ride or two and maybe my first fish and chips of the season now that my favorite summer restaurants are open. I really don’t think I’m asking for a whole lot. I’ll even take just one. I pick the warm sun.

“I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.”

January 10, 2016

It’s raining. It’s pouring. The old man is snoring.

I don’t know when the rain started, but it is now a heavy rain and a strong wind. Outside is so dark my deck lights came on. The timer was duped.

I have written the start of several second paragraphs but have deleted each of them. Usually I have an idea which spreads across time and conjures memories. This morning I have nothing.

Sunday has never been a productive day. It was always church and family dinner day and some Sundays there was a visit to my grandparents. Nobody did lawn work, always reserved for a Saturday, and my mother didn’t vacuum or dust. She made dinner. Usually we stayed around the house. I’d read the Sunday funnies. The TV would be on a Sunday Matinee movie or a football game. I remember my brother watching and sitting close to the TV set, his legs bent and splayed behind him. I never found that comfortable.

The papers are so much bigger on Sunday. It is a three cup minimum to finish both papers. The Globe crossword takes the whole day as I fill in a bit then do something else then go back to it. I hate the crosswords where the longest answer is a quote and other answers finish the quote. Usually I start with the smallest part of the quote and work up hoping the answers will be hints. The capital of Ghana is often a crossword clue.

In the winter, I crave color. Often I buy myself a bouquet of flowers to remind me of spring and to brighten the darkness. The worst of winter is still ahead of me. January and February are usually snowy months. I’ll just have to be patient, never a strong suit of mine.

“This is a day youngsters can find the liberation they are seeking, by turning inwards, through prayer, and recognizing the temptations of greed, jealousy, lust etc.”

April 3, 2015

Last night the wind was ferocious. I went to bed early to read, but the sound of the wind grabbed my attention so many times I stopped to listen. It was easy to imagine myself in a house on a cliff overlooking the ocean while the wind whistled and howled around me. The house would be a huge old Victorian filled with dusty rooms and mystery. The French doors in my bedroom, with the prerequisite long white, billowing curtains, would face the ocean. When the doors blew open, as they usually do in mysterious houses, I’d stand on the small balcony looking out at the water while the curtains blew around me. I’d see the huge white caps pummeling the rocky shore. That was about as far as my imagination took me before I turned off the light and went to sleep. Later I was awakened by the sound of the rain.

The day is a dismal one, cloudy and damp, but it is warm, in the mid 40’s. Much of the snow disappeared with the rain except in my neighbor’s front yard. Underneath their trees a tract of snow remains. The huge plowed piles on the corner are just about gone, but my neighbor’s snow, still white, resists the warmth and the rain. I guess it is winter’s last gasp.

The morning birds are the first sounds of spring. The leaf blowers are the second. My neighbor’s deck is now being cleared of winter debris. It won’t take long. My deck, on the other hand, has leaves and branches fallen and blown from the pine trees which overhang it. Cleaning all that debris will take much longer. My backyard has some huge branches which broke off during the winter. In the no man’s land between my house and the next, a pine tree trunk has split in half. One half, leaning on the branches of other trees, will be sawed into pieces and hauled away. The other half will be left in the ground.

Good Friday has always been a no school day, but starting around the sixth grade, I had to sign up for an hour vigil at the church. I used to sneak in a book and would read the hour away. It always went fast.

“The optimist sees the donut, the pessimist sees the hole.”

June 30, 2013

My mood and the day are a perfect match: dark and dismal. My back is fine so I have no complaints there, but my leg in the morning is always unhappy, and it takes a while for modern medicine to work its magic. Until then the leg goes up on the couch, off the couch and back up again a few times while I try to find a comfortable, less painful spot. Most times I am not all that lucky. As for right now, the marvel of medicine has done its job.

I still think of Sunday as a do nothing sort of day. When I was a kid, it was a quiet day. After breakfast, I’d dress for church. Unless I was up early enough to go with my dad, my brother and I walked to mass together. My dad was an usher, the guy who passed the basket. It was a neat basket with a handle so long the basket reached to the middle of the long middle pews. My dad did the center first then one side while his partner did the other. Those were the days of suits, even in the summer. My dad didn’t have a light weight suit. I don’t even know if they had them back then. His suits were dark black or blue or gray. He always wore a starched white shirt. On the way home he’d stop to get the Sunday paper and a dozen donuts. He was a plain donut man. My mother was never a coffee drinker, but she loved dunking her donuts in coffee, her plain donuts. Back then I was a jelly donut fan and was a pro at catching the oozy jelly from the bottom hole before it hit my shirt. It is a skill in which I still excel though now I prefer lemon to jelly, but my favorite of all is a butternut donut. I don’t get donuts often, but yesterday my friend brought me iced coffee and a lemon donut. That donut was perfectly fresh and delicious, and not a drop of lemon fell.

“Easter tells us that life is to be interpreted not simply in terms of things but in terms of ideals.”

March 31, 2013

The sun is shining on this Easter morning. The air is still, and the day is getting warmer. No winter coats will cover pastel Easter dresses. I can hear birds singing even though the windows are closed. Yesterday I saw a few buds on one of my bushes. The buds are tiny and closed tightly, but they are another sign that spring is gaining hold.

The alarm rang at 6:15 this morning, and I turned it off and went back to sleep for an hour. I had set it early so I could sneak down my friends’ house and decorate the tree which hangs over their deck: it’s an annual Easter surprise. Though if it’s annual, is it really a surprise? Anyway, when I realized how late it was, I was afraid they’d be awake, but Gracie and I went anyway. The car was covered in frost so I scrapped the windows and off we went. At their house, all the shades were down so they were still abed. I went on the deck and started decorating. One of the giant decorated paper lanterns fell over the deck rail. That meant walking off the deck then all around the outside of the deck and through the underbrush to retrieve it. That was an adventure. The leaves and branches were soaked and sucked up one of my slippers. I had to yank it out of the muck. I found a bird feeder covered in wet leaves and put it on the deck rail. I also saw a mango. I’m still perplexed a bit about the mango, strange spot for one. While I was mucking about, the door opened and out came Darci, their dog. Whoever let her out never looked so I wasn’t caught. I walked back to the deck, petted Darci for a while, hung the lantern then sneaked away. I just got a call thanking me for the surprise and telling me how lovely the tree looks.

I remember so well Easter Sunday mass when I was young. The church was always beautiful and filled with light. The sun shined through the stained glass windows. The dark purple of lent had been replaced by white and all the statues were uncovered. Flowers decorated the floor in front of and all around the altar. I remember the lilies because they were the tallest. The church was always crowded. Women wore hats, fancy hats with veils, small see through veils that went down as far as their eyes. The men wore suits and carried their hats into the church. Little girls wore dresses in pinks and blues and all the different shades of pastel. They wore short white gloves and round hats with ribbons. Their shoes were patent leather, both black and white, and were worn with fancy white socks with lace around the edges. Some boys wore suits, ones with jackets checkered in the front. Others wore white shirts and ties and new pants with deep creases. The shoes were always new and always with laces. The choir sang at Easter. If I had known the word back then, I would have said it was majestic, mass on Easter Sunday.

Happy Easter!

“Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week.”

October 7, 2012

It’s a dreary Sunday, a cloudy day with a chill in the air. I followed Gracie outside this morning and noticed red leaves on my oak tree. It was my foliage moment.

My childhood church had an upstairs and a downstairs. The upstairs was the church proper with a main altar and two side altars. The wooden pews were ornate with curly q’s and decorations on the end panels. There was a choir loft with an organ. Only once or twice do I remember a choir singing: at Christmas. Mostly one woman did the singing at weddings and funerals. The sound of the organ filled the church. Above the main altar and along the side walls were stained glass windows. When I’d get bored, I’d look around and read at the bottom of the windows the names of the families who donated them in memory of another member of the family. The only time I saw the side altar used was really early in the darkness of a Christmas morning when I was around ten. Some people used to sit at the ends of the pews. Anyone else looking to sit down in the same pew had to scrunch by them. When it was time to kneel, lots of people perched on the seat, more sitting than kneeling even though their knees were on the padded kneelers. I understood old people doing that but not young people. It just seemed lazy. In those days ushers passed the baskets which were actually woven and had long handles. All the ushers wore suits.

I preferred going downstairs for mass. There was one altar, plain wooden pews, no organ and regular windows. If there was an upstairs and a downstairs mass at the same time, the downstairs one always ended first. That was its draw. When the nuns brought us to church, they always brought us downstairs so it was a familiar place. In the back were racks filled with pamphlets, and I usually took a few. I figured reading them during the mass was okay. It wasn’t as if I’d brought Little Women. I’d do the stand up, sit down and kneel when I was supposed to, but, being a little kid, my mind was often elsewhere. Sometimes I’d go through the hymnal just to have something else to read. I always listened to the sermon though I sometimes didn’t understand all of it. Kids were not the intended audience. I always had a dime for the collection; my father made sure of that.

When the mass was over, I’d run up the stairs and out as fast as I could. My obligation was over, and the rest of the day was mine, except, of course, for Sunday dinner.

“Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.”

April 8, 2012

I always think Easter Sunday should be sunny and even warm, all the better to show off all those new clothes. It’s cloudy right now, but I think the sun is struggling to break through the grayness. Gracie and I had an adventure earlier this morning. We sneaked down to my friends’ house and decorated the tree near their deck. We do it every year. This year was a streamer of eggs from branch to branch, some wooden rabbits doing gardening hanging off the small branches and decorative eggs on sticks stuck into their pansies right by the door. They haven’t seen them as their backdoor is still closed so they’re not awake yet. This is the only time of year I can see all the way down to the end of the street.

When I was little, Easter morning never had the same degree of excitement as Christmas morning, but we’d still run to find our baskets. We’d munch on jelly beans as we checked out everything one at a time. The chocolate rabbit was always the most prominent standing tall as it did in the basket. There were coloring books and crayons or small toys and always a stuffed animal, usually a rabbit or even a duck, wearing a hat and sometimes a colored vest. We’d play and munch until my mother dragged us away to get ready for mass.

Easter was always a big day in church. The haphazard members of the congregation only went on Christmas and Easter so the pews were filled. I remember the church looked festive on Easter Sunday as lent was finally over. Tall white lilies in pots were on the steps to the altar and by the rail in the front. The statues were uncovered, and the priest wore white. The rest of us wore mostly pastels and hats were a necessary accessory. Men had fedoras and women had hats with veils. Boys had none, but we girls wore hats with flowers or ribbons. The church was awash with colors in every pew.

Some Easter Sundays we’d go to visit my grandparents. The house was filled with my aunts, uncles and cousins. My grandmother always had chocolate for us, usually a small rabbit, as an Easter gift.  We’d run up and down the two sets of stairs chasing each other while the adults stayed in the kitchen on the bottom floor. My grandfather always hid in his room away from the tumult.

My father usually hustled us out the door in the early evening and we’d fall asleep on the way home, exhausted by the festivities of the day and all those stairs.

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