Seeing Red

7fa6c4dae8070e069915e71a14ef253cThe second I walked into church on Sunday, I knew that once again I had blown it. I looked at the bright red banner that draped the ceiling above the altar, the red ribbons that festooned the front pews, and then looked down at my white sweater and black pants. Just like every Pentecost Sunday of my life, I forgot to wear red.

I don’t know why it’s suggested we wear red on Pentecost. Corpus Christi I could understand.  You know, the Blood of Christ. Pentecost, I don’t know; it seems a stretch. It apparently is to represent the fire of the Holy Spirit, but to me, fire is yellow. But no, we wear red. As it happens, even if yellow had been the color of Pentecost, I would still not having been appropriately attired. Sigh.

I tell this story every Pentecost, but it’s my blog, so I can tell it again! Eight years ago we were in Barcelona on the Monday following Pentecost. We didn’t know, however, that it was Pentecost. We had, in fact, attended church the day before, but it being in Spanish and all….. Well, what can I say?

So we wandered around town for almost three-quarters of that Monday wondering why nothing was opened. We finally approached a tourist information place and, in very rudimentary Spanish, asked that very question. And in very rudimentary English, she told us it was second Easter, and so, a national holiday. We nodded as if we understood, but really didn’t. And then I began leafing through my Rick Steves guidebook and learned that in fact, Pentecost is (or at least was) a national holiday in Spain, so important, in fact, that the holiday continues on the Monday after Pentecost. Who knew?

And it wasn’t until this past Sunday that I finally understood why the young women called it second Easter. Easter Sunday is the beginning of the Easter season, and 50 days later is the official end of the Easter season, according to the Catholic Church, and many other churches. So what I believe the young woman was saying was not that Pentecost was in any way Easter, be it first or second, but that it was the END of the Easter season.

As I contemplated Pentecost on Sunday, and my not-red-clothes, it occurred to me that up until the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles, the friends of Jesus had sort of sputtered around, unsure of what to do next. Jesus knew they needed a little boost to get into the, well, spirit of their task. And the bible tells us that the Holy Spirit came down to the apostles looking like tongues of fire. Whoa! That must have given them a start. And then there was the whole idea that they were speaking in such a way that everyone could understand them no matter from whence they came.

I’ve never quite understood the Holy Spirit. God is complex and mysterious, but understandable. Jesus is easy to figure out as long as you have faith. But what about the Holy Spirit? What’s up with that?

And yet, it’s the Holy Spirit to whom I pray whenever I’m asking for help in something that seems insurmountable, which is, frankly, every day. Holy Spirit, give me courage to face the next obstacle. Holy Spirit, bring my boy back to his faith. Holy Spirit, give me strength each day to accept Bill’s Parkinson and bear my own health issues. Holy Spirit, help us to love one another and give me the patience to forgive.

I think I pray to the Holy Spirt because somewhere in my faith, I believe – just like Jesus’ apostles – that I need a little boost, and the Spirit is the one to give it.

Holy Spirit, help me remember to wear red next Pentecost.

Feeling Crepe-y

When Court was a little boy, one of his favorite breakfasts was crepes. They weren’t fancy or difficult – maybe not even worthy of being called crepes. I would mix flour and milk and eggs and a bit of oil, pour a couple of tablespoons into a hot pan, roll the pan around until the batter covered the bottom, and let it cook. A little butter and cinnamon sugar, roll them up, hand them to Court to eat. He would literally consume them as quick as I could make them.

I thought about crepes yesterday because Bill and I joined Bec and her son Erik and his kids Mackenzie and Carter at a Food Truck Festival in Scottsdale. We walked around and walked around. There were somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 or 70 different trucks. And out of all those options, Bill chose crepes.

I would never – not in a million years – choose crepes. I don’t hate them. But when I’m surrounded by options like barbecued pulled pork or street tacos or lobster mac and cheese, there is no contest.

But he chose crepes. Of course, he chose crepes smothered in Nutella and bananas, with a dollop of whipped cream and called it lunch. But he chose crepes.

I was reminded of a time this past past summer when I took Addie, Alastair, Dagny, and Maggie Faith to a movie. Afterwards, I offered to take them to lunch. Would you like a burger, I asked. Or maybe some Mexican food? How about some barbecue? As they were pondering, we passed a little kiosk selling homemade crepes.

“Voila!” they all said. “We want crepes.”

(Well, they didn’t actually say voila.)

So crepes it was. Of course, much like their grandfather, their crepes included searchstrawberries and bananas and Nutella and whipped cream. They were hot and sweet and delicious. As we sat at an outdoor table eating our crepes, I looked up at the building towering over us. It happened to be the building in which Court works. I wondered to myself whether or not he ever ate these crepes for lunch.

I later asked him and he admitted he didn’t even realize there was a kiosk that sold crepes that he could see from his window. I think he’s moved on from crepes to huevos rancheros.

When we were in northern France during our big adventure in 2008, we were in a town called Dinan in the Brittany region. Before we would ever move to a new area, I would judiciously study my Rick Steves Guidebook. The Brittany region of France is famous for (among other things) their wonderful crepes. And so, when in Rome (or France)……  I looked back at my blog entry for that day way back in 2008 and discovered that Bill had a crepe that included bacon and mine had scallops, leeks, and cream. Ding, ding, ding. I won!

The recipe I prepared for Court’s breakfast crepes came from my sister Jen. Therefore, the buttery-stained handwritten recipe card calls them Aunt Jennie’s Crepes. Here is her simple recipe…

Aunt Jennie’s Crepes (makes 18)

1 c. flour
1-1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
1-1/2 T. oil
¼ t. salt

Mix ingredients until smooth. Spray a small pan with Pam and preheat. When the pan is hot, drop 3 T. of the batter into it. Roll the pan around until the batter covers the bottom. Cook until light brown. Using a fork, turn the crepe over and finish off.

Remove from pan. Smear with butter and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar. Or smear with Nutella and add bananas or strawberries. Or whatever else strikes your fancy. Call them breakfast or an after-school snack.

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