Monday, March 05, 2007

a pretext to an ash wednesday observation

"hi, i'm andrew, and i'm a thriftaholic."

"hi, andrew."

"i suppose that it all started with the synthetic wallet that i received in junior high. that wallet was my little maroon buddy. i liked to give him gifts: especially dual-toned pictures of pyramids and dead presidents. and i really hated to take back those hard-won bills; an empty wallet is a sad wallet. perhaps this thriftiness was the twenty-first century incarnation of that great protestant work ethic; perhaps it was inspired by my real-life buddy, evan pence; or perhaps i even inherited my mom's common sense (she'd be surprised to hear that!), but whatever the case, the net result of this spartan spending was that i never embraced activities that require a large monetary investment. for example, i see plenty of movies but shrink at the prospect of movie popcorn; i shun golf; and i've never been skiing or snowboarding.

"the closest i've come to skiing is an occasional inner tube run, a nearby hike, and a pair of weekends at the schweitzer ski lodge. and there was no snow at the lodge--it was summer. thus, instead of hurtling down the mountain on a fiberglass deathtrap, i swam in the pool, read ray bradbury's fahrenheit 451, and attended my first catholic mass.

"saint joseph's was a rather typical small-town church, but my experience there was hardly typical. i followed my friend peter and his family into a pew in the back and readied myself for worship. the order of service was tough to follow, but peter seemed to have a handle on the affair, so when peter kneeled, i kneeled. peter turned to page 232 in his colorful book of sayings, i turned to page 232. andrew, the human mirror.

"and then came eucharist. i'm still surprised that peter never told me. during the course of our friendship, we'd had plenty of religious debates; you'd think that he'd have mentioned that nazarenes don't take catholic eucharist. or perhaps he might have motioned me back to the pew when i followed him into the receiving line, 'there, there, andrew. stay in your seat like a good protestant.'

"as our line edged forward, i risked a peek beyond peter and tried to observe the proper protocol. before the priest offered congregants the bread and wine, he paused as they made some kind of motion with their hands. but their backs were to me, and i could only see a brief flash of fingers. i started to panic. my mind was calculating the distance from the communion line to the exits: about fifteen paces. perhaps they were making the sign of the cross, i thought. but is it left to right? or maybe it's backward, like reading hebrew. do you look the priest in the eye?"

"well, it looks like time's up for tonight, andrew."

"oh, sorry. to be continued...."

3 comments:

Matt Basinger said...

you are too good at cliff hangers!!! Finish the story...you have me hanging by a thread and i'll explode!

matt

andrew said...

i will, i will. but not tonight.

Beth said...

i agree. good post. but what's wrong with the picture?