I missed writing last week. I was out-of-town and actually at a place with no internet. Places like that exist in the world of the over eighty year olds. I could’ve typed on my phone but that’s tough for my over fifty year old unagile fingers. I took lots of notes for posts I want to present (fingers crossed) next month, so I was thinking about blogging!
Today I want to post about a sixty-one year tradition in my community. That’s more years than I’ve been alive and there are those that would say I’m rapidly speeding past middle age-but 61 years is a lot of years. For anything to hang on that long, it has to be good-and it probably involves food.
I’m talking about the annual pancake supper my little church puts on each Shrove Tuesday. That’s the Tuesday before Lent when you’re suppose to get rid of all the good stuff in the house so you can fast before Easter. I know things were different when this tradition began, but I can tell you getting rid of the pancake fixings and bacon would be the least of my worries if I had to clean the cabinets for Lent. Chocolate, chips, candy, cookies, did I say chocolate? would have to be tossed out of my cupboards and tightly clenched hands.
The real story-
Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday. The fasting period is for 40 days with Sundays off for good behavior. In the beginning, on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, observers of the fast were to rid their homes of fatty foods. I guess late nights of low will power have always existed. ‘Shrove’ comes from ‘shrive’ which means to free oneself from sin. Families made pancakes to rid themselves of eggs, butter, milk and flour-again, the least of my worries.
To me Shrove Tuesday has a whole different meaning. It means connections. It’s a chance for our little community to come together for a good meal. I see people I haven’t seen in years because, I’m pretty much a hermit the rest of the year. My little church of less than 50 active members, gets together and serves an all-you-can-eat pancakes and bacon meal. Last year we served over 750 hungry souls. That may be a single night in some fast food restaurants but for a small community like mine, on a Tuesday night, that’s pretty dog-gone good.
When I’m not busy serving plates in a kitchen where the temperature seems to stay near 100 degrees (God bless our all male cooking crew), I check out the crowd. People are laughing and having fun. Boy Scouts are busing tables with mouths full of bacon they pilfered off the second’s table. Little kids from the day school are pulling moms into the Book Fair. Some of the parish members who have been around for all 61 years are spinning yarns as they sit at colorful tables topped with beads and doubloons which tie to the Mardi Gras theme.
It brings me joy. It reminds me that even if we don’t always agree on everything, we can sit down together and share a meal. Serving food is an act of kindness. And if you look at our poster, you will see that if comes at a small price and goes to a good cause.
I’m suppose to report for duty in about an hour so I better stop. I’ll end with a quote by Cesar Chavez.
If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him-the people who give you their food give you their heart.
Pancakes + Connections = Love