Shrove Tuesday or as most Americans call it Mardi Gras is a day of celebration and wild evanescence of propriety, profound abandonment to all civility one would otherwise do in any other social setting. In other words Shrove Tuesday is not any ordinary play being played out amongst attendees of this once each year celebration. I have complex (and unsettled) thoughts of Shrove Tuesday. All I have to do is plunge my hand into a large shoe box filled with many colourful strings of beads to remind myself of days of wild abandonment not all that long ago. Of course, I understand my daughter was quite unencumbered and lucidly free to . . . well, we won’t go there. I keep the box of souvenirs to flaunt when her daughter is sixteen and has permission to travel with her best friends to a place called The French Quarter in New Orléans, Louisiana on such an occasion as Mardi Gras. I do this in the hopes that the tradition may not be passed down from one generation to the next. One can hope.
This coming Tuesday, as usually is the case I will contemplate my navel in preparation for what follows – which is Ash Wednesday – a day of atonement so to speak – for the past years boondoggles so I can slide into Easter Sunday free to begin again in earnest along a more proper path. But, I’ll also be enjoying some good jazz with my daughters Tuesday, March 8, 2011 and sipping on something I shouldn’t.
The atonement is for my past year of missteps and much missed opportunities of which I should have had greater understandings. As I am settling my account with Him, to whom I pledged long ago the application of propriety and pertinacity, I will examine my human experiences of the past year. I will ponder. I will vow adjustments where needed and I will move forward with grace and purpose. Amazing how this works and it will work until around October or perhaps November when I think I’ve been good long enough just in time for Christmas shopping.
I do Shrove Tuesday for fun. I do Ash Wednesday for my grandmother Mary Francis Self – the most lovely person I have ever known.
Demise does not separate us
least I forget to remember
but I do remember you my darling
for my mortality and yours — I remember
as I let His ash dot my forehead —
as I say novenas for you
my Catholic-Irish grandmother.
(copyrights: Mary Louise Wehunt)