But I don’t want to. It’s my birthday! And Mary and I are going out to lunch, and I get free pie!
We have an O’Charley’s near us, and they were bought out a few years ago by the same company that owns Baker’s Square, so the pie is from Baker’s Square, which bills itself as having “The Best Pie In America.”
Remember the movie Pee Wee’s Big Adventure? Toward the beginning there’s this exchange between Pee Wee and his archnemesis, Francis:
Francis: Today’s my birthday and my father says I can have anything I want.
Pee-wee: Good for you and your father.
Francis: So guess what I want.
Pee-wee: A new brain?
Francis was played by Mark Holton, who’s no relation but he looks like he might be one. You see Mark from time to time; he’s a pretty busy actor. Most notably, he played John Wayne Gacy, a notorious serial killer from the Chicago area.
Anyway, today’s March 25, which in the Catholic Church is The Feast of The Annunciation of the Lord. The feast commemorates the appearance of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary to announce that she has found favor with God, who wants her to have his baby. And Mary says “okay!” and nine months later gives birth to Baby Jesus. Okay, that’s a silly (and borderline sacrilegious) telling of the story. The more accurate telling is in the Gospel of St. Luke, chapter 1, verses 26-38. The Angelus, a prayer that tells the story, is based on that Gospel reading. When you hear church bells ring from a Catholic church at 6 AM, noon, 6 PM, and 9 PM, those are the bells that prompt Catholics to say the Angelus. It’s three sets of three bell tolls, followed by nine bell tolls. So, now that you know that, I can tell this Hal Roach joke:
A priest is hearing a man’s confession, and at the end he assigns him the penance of saying three Our Fathers. “I don’t know the Our Father,” the man says. “All right, say three Hail Marys.” The man says “I don’t know the Hail Mary, either.” The priest, exasperated, says, “well, what prayer do you know?” “The Angelus.” “Well then, say the Angelus.” “BONG, BONG, BONG!”
I learned recently that the Church Fathers, when setting dates for various celebrations, were more interested in determining the date of the Annunciation than they were in the date of Christmas. So, the Annunciation isn’t on March 25 because Christmas is on December 25, it’s the other way around.
Anyone born from March 22 through April 22 has a better than average chance of having their birthday fall during Holy Week. I was born on Palm Sunday 1956, Mary was born on Holy Saturday the next year, and Mom was born on Holy Saturday in 1932. Mom’s birthday was on Easter at least twice that I can remember, Mary’s birthday was on Easter at least once, but mine has never been on Easter in my lifetime. In fact, it’s only been after Easter once during my life that I can recall.
Holy Saturday 1932 was March 26, so Mom’s birthday was the day after mine. We used to celebrate them together. In 1994, she was turning 62 and I was turning 38, which meant we were celebrating our joint 100th birthday. Mary and I went to Chicago to celebrate with her. Mom would be 85 tomorrow. Happy birthday, Mom.
Anyway, Mary and I are going to lunch before we go to Mass. They’ll be celebrating the Mass of the Fourth Sunday of Lent, which as you might recall is Laetare Sunday, one of the two days the priest wears pink vestments. I have my pink shirt ready…
Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word from Zenith, where the quality goes in before the name goes on.