It's week and a half past Ash Wednesday and since it is without question most of you have long ago broken the empty promises of your New Year’s resolutions, it’s time to get ready for Easter and more broken promises and self-esteem killing.
It’s the Lenten Season.
As previously stated in this column, I don’t make resolutions.
I learned about the futility of making them during Sunday school at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in the old town of Sparrows Point, specifically during the period of the liturgical year known as Lent. For Lent you have to give up something, making it similar to a New Year’s resolution except it is (hopefully) done in a relative state of sobriety.
Back in those olden days, Sunday school lasted one eternal hour and was held right after 9 a.m. Mass, where my fellow detainees and I would sit scared and miserable in a dank, back room of that ancient church. At least until it finally closed in the early 1960s and moved to a new building on North Point Road in Edgemere.
St. Luke’s also became a Catholic school then, so that gave us a shiny new classroom in which to sit miserable and scared.
Sunday school seemed interminable to us kids and the only explanation I could come up with was that I was witnessing a modern-day miracle, whereby Joshua must surely be out in the parking lot commanding the sun to stand still, causing time to stop.
On the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, Sister St. Cornelius went around the classroom pointing her yardstick at each third-grader, asking us what we were giving up for Lent.
Finally she arrived at my desk and stood over me, the yardstick cocked at about two o’clock. In golf parlance this is known as “the top of the swing.”
I blurted out the first thing that came to mind:
“You’re giving up peas for Lent?” she asked, as she addressed the ball.
“Yes, Sister Saint Cornelius,” I said. “I’m giving up peas for Lent.”
“Do you like peas?” she asked, waggling slightly.
“No,” I said, smiling. “I hate peas.”
Retribution was swift and merciless. The proverbial “rap on the knuckles” became a painful reality. You’d be surprised how much club-head speed a 90-year-old woman can generate at the end of a three-foot wooden ruler with just one flick of her wrist.
Not only did I quickly change my mind about giving up peas – on the contrary – I would eat them by the bucketful. I then reeled off about a half-dozen vices I would give up for Lent: 1) no more Dubble Bubble gum; 2) no cracking Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy; and 3) no rolling red Play-Doh into bite-sized balls and feeding them to my little brother.
Of course, I failed miserably. (My downfall was the Play-Doh thing – it was just way too much fun.)
But I digress.
And so it follows that I no longer give up anything for Lent.
My daughter Melanie once told me that she was giving up spinach for Lent.
“But you hate spinach,” I said.
She just looked at me and smiled.
I guess the pea doesn’t fall too far from the pod.