Posted tagged ‘Holy Thursday’

“Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.”

April 2, 2015

Today started out cloudy, but the sun is peeking through and chasing away the clouds. The sky is getting bluer and bluer. It is my sloth day, the only day this week with no appointment. I have a chore, an odd one. I need to put the new flag holder outside on the tree. That’s it for the day.

Today is Holy Thursday, Maundy Thursday, a Christian holiday celebrating the Last Supper so the service is always at night. Part of the service is the ritual of the washing of feet meant to symbolize how Christ humbled Himself and washed the feet of the disciples. I never went to church on Holy Thursday. I always figured Sunday was more than enough for the week except for one special year, the year my grandfather was having his feet washed by the priest in a re-creation of what happened at the Last Supper. No way was I going to miss that. My grandfather was a short, gruff man filled with self-importance. He wasn’t a warm man. He wasn’t one of my favorites. My mother and I sat together in the church. I assume my father was there but he didn’t sit with us. One of my favorite parts of that service was the waving of the incense. The altar boy filled the gold incense burner and the priest sort of waved the burner to each section of the church. The incense smelled exotic. I still love that smell. The highlight of the evening, of course, was when the men walked barefoot onto the altar and sat on stiff chairs with red leather on the back and on the seat. I have no idea why I remember that. All of the men wore suits and sort of looked a bit silly being barefooted. My mother and I watched quietly until it came to my grandfather’s turn. He gave the priest one foot which was washed then dried and then gave the priest the other foot. My mother and I started laughing quietly. We couldn’t help it. My pompous grandfather looked so solemn. That made us laugh even harder. Our shoulders were shaking and the pew was shaking, but we didn’t utter a sound the whole time. We tried to stop but couldn’t. We didn’t dare look at each other. I can’t imagine what the people around us thought.

When the service was over, we hurried outside and started laughing again. It was hysterically funny to both of us. We never did tell my father. We didn’t think he’d appreciate the humor of it all.

“Well pleaseth me the sweet time of Easter That maketh the leaf and the flower come out.”

April 21, 2011

The day is beautiful with a bright sun and a deeply blue sky. The temperature will reach 58°, almost sunning on the deck weather. Gracie has been out most of the morning while Fern is basking in the sun from the front door. The forsythia in the garden is in full bloom. Its yellow leaves are almost too bright for my eyes, but I’m not complaining. They are a welcome sight. The buds on the trees are becoming more prominent, and my small lilac bush actually has tiny green leaves. Spring is finally here.

We’d have already bought our Easter clothes by now. My sisters tended to the frilly and both loved hats. White shoes with a strap and gloves completed their outfits. I remember how excited they were to have such lovely new clothes. I was into simple and easy to wear, but I always choose a dress because that’s what we all wore. I remember when I was older, probably around 12, I chose a suit like outfit. When we were at my grandmother’s, I heard my mother tell one of my aunts I wanted to be casual. It sounded as if she was defending my choice of a outfit lacking frills and Easter colors. My brother got stuck with a new shirt, pants and a tie. The tie was always a clip on.

During Easter week, the church had services from Holy Thursday through Easter. On Holy Thursday night, the service included the washing of the feet. My mother and I went one year, the year my grandfather was chosen to have his feet washed. All I remember is neither of us could stop laughing. We were able to be quiet, but our shaking shoulders gave us away. Neither one of us dared look at the other. I don’t know what started us, but I do know we took a long time to stop. My grandfather was short so maybe it was tangling feet or the look on his face, so solemn, as the priest knelt before him as he washed my grandfather’s feet. The only other part of that service I remember is the smell of incense as the priest walked up and down the middle aisle slowly moving the incense burner back and forth. I loved that smell.

This Easter my friends Clare, Tony and I, are going out to eat, to the same place we went last year. It is on the ocean and the view is spectacular as is the food. I won’t be in frills or petticoats, but I’ll be dressy. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll might wear a hat in memory of those long ago Easters!