Monday, April 17, 2006

Sacred Ritual

It's days like today that I wish we could just schedule a family conference call.

I called Mom and Dad; didn't reach them. I called Liz; voice mail. Steve called Liz; voice mail. Steve called me and actually got through. While on the phone, Liz returned his call. Liz and I talked later. Mom and Dad called half an hour after that, with news from the extended family. Liz had talked to them briefly yesterday, so I skipped most of what we talked about and gave them The Steve Update, since he was going to be at rehearsal the rest of the night. I was going to actually talk about me (something I never do) but then my cell phone exploded. Ok, not really, but the thing got quite a workout today. I should give it a day off.

Easter, like Christmas, comes with its own traditions. Namely, we go to Sandy & Dave's for Easter brunch. Growing up, all those references to an Easter ham were lost on us kids. Who are those crazy people that only eat ham for Easter? And get together in the evening??? I mean, sure we have ham...along with bacon and sausage and it all goes right here on the plate next to the pancakes and eggs made-to-order.

[For all the years we've done Easter brunch, with plenty of fresh-squeezed orange juice, we have never once had mimosas. I would like to know who dropped that ball on that tradition. My Easter brunches will feature mimosas. Or straight champagne, if you like. Who am I to tell you how to consume your liquor?]

Our church obligations are typically fulfilled by attending Easter Vigil (also known as Longest Mass Ever, with the Possible Exception of a State Funeral) on Saturday night. Years and years of attendance mean I can tell you the creation story, as written in Genesis, from memory. "Evening came, and morning followed: the third day." My favorite part, though, is the Litany of the Saints, which is half-sung, half-chanted and reminds me of how mass was celebrated for centuries. Only, you know, without the Latin. Each of us is mentioned in the Litany, including a line that goes, "Elizabeth and Catherine, pray for us." My name should really be first, but they got it 95% right, so I'll forgive them.

I went to the first service at my church this morning and it was weird. I knew it would be different, since I'm accustomed to the Easter Vigil readings and not so much with the Easter Morning readings, but weirder still was that There Was No Singing. None. A fact that Steve had an equally hard time wrapping his mind around. "No singing? But that's what Easter mass is for! The singing!" (And maybe something about the risen Christ? But definitely singing.) This conversation took place on his way home from mass.

Me: You went to mass today?
Steve: Yeah, well, it's Easter.
Me: I know, went to mass today?
Steve: Yes, Kate. It's the holiest day of the year, you know.
Me: I know, but since when do you go to mass? Or are you just doing your part to be the best darn mediocre Catholic out there?*
Steve: Something like that. You can't really be a Christmas-and-Easter Catholic if you skip Easter. That's like, half the days.

*The back story: As Steve was preparing for confirmation, with me as his sponsor, we discussed the role the Church would play in his adult life. He admitted that maybe he didn't agree with all of the Church's teachings and wouldn't be going to mass every week, but asserted that he'd be "the best darn mediocre Catholic out there." Which is more than can be said for a lot of people the Church has confirmed. Or that we're related to.

But even more important than "Did you attend church?" is this question: Did you do brunch today? Because it's not Easter without brunch.

Me: Eh, I wasn't going to, but then it felt weird when I got home from church and there was no brunch. So I made a coffee cake.

Liz: No. Well, yes, I guess. We do breakfast a lot on the weekends, and today was one of those days. So, I guess we had Easter brunch, but The Boy's family stuff was yesterday.

Steve: Yup. I bought the ham yesterday, and have hash browns. I'm stopping at the store now for eggs, milk and cinnamon rolls.

Mom & Dad: Of course! We were busy eating pancakes when you called earlier. Sorry about that.

And what about you? Did you have Easter brunch?


At Mon Apr 17, 01:10:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Sara Uckelman said...

No singing?! That was one of the parts I always looked forward to Easter Sunday at my grandparents' church, Lutheran, not Catholic but they got the organ pumping and all the good hymns came out. Easter hymns are my favorite class of hymns, so what a let down to go to Easter service and not get to sing!

We've had a four day weekend here - the university was closed for Good Friday and Easter Monday, and while alot of things were still open on Friday, though reduced hours, it looks like even the market across the canal isn't running today. There's never been anything special about Easter Monday for me before, so this is a little weird.

As for brunch - well, I guess we did, because Joel makes waffles every Sunday, and we usually don't wake up until lunch time anyway.

At Wed Apr 19, 08:58:00 AM PDT, Anonymous lori said...

Actually we had more of an Easter lunner. Or dinch. Mid-afternoon ham in any case.

At Wed Apr 19, 08:36:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Clueless said...

Sunrise service (with singing) followed by bacon and eggs and the hardest 27 miles I ever rode on my bike (hills and 100 degrees). Instead of Mimosas, warm Orange Gatorade from a plastic bottle. My Dad was a preacher, so our family tradition was 3 services between dawn and noon. I think we were too tired for brunch.


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