Friday, February 22, 2008

Lenten Loopholes

I have a large family. A VERY LARGE EXTENDED FAMILY. My dad is one of 6. I am one of 16 first cousins on my dad’s side. My mom is one of 11. I am one of 22 FIRST cousins on my mom’s side. So, this may come as no shock. My family is primarily Catholic.

As you probably know, Lent is a part of the Catholic Church’s calendar and sacrificing something for Lent (abstaining from meat on Fridays, giving up some food or activity, or taking on an extra task) is a common practice during Lent. I think it is supposed to be required for those ages 14-62, but my mom always made us do it even when we weren’t of age. Brian and I stopped going to the Catholic church (we go to a different Christian church now) about 5 or 6 years ago. We joke that when we stopped practicing Catholicism, we gave up giving things up for Lent.

A couple of weeks ago, we were visiting some of my extended family in St. Louis. We were, of course, having a fried fish and cheese pizza Friday dinner (no meat on Fridays). My aunt Deb, who is always good for MANY laughs, was reminiscing working their parish fish fry with some friends of theirs some years ago. She said they were having a beer or two and noticed that a regular participant in the liquid refreshment follies was not involved. They inquired.

Him: I gave up beer for Lent.
Deb: YOU WHAT??!?!
Him: I gave up beer for Lent.
Deb: You IDIOT! What did you do that for?
Him: Well, I wanted to give up something that would be a big sacrifice.
Deb: YOU DO NOT GIVE UP BEER! You give up something like ice cream or chips or candy.

We laughed at her less than supportive response to his difficult self-denial. She replied that “he was a recently converted Catholic, so he just didn’t know any better yet. He actually wanted to give up something that would be hard. Poor guy. He learned, though.”

The next day, we were at the park (the only day in 3 months it has been warm enough for us to go outside to play) and we asked Deb what SHE gave up for Lent.

Deb: Cussing
Brian and Angie: (laugh, then look off to space just KNOWING that Deb cussed the night before, but trying to remember a specific example. Deb’s favorite word is s#!@ and we have joked that Mason, her grandson’s, first word will be such.)
Deb: (seeing us looking into space) Oh, no, just the F word.
Brian and Angie: Of course, we wouldn’t want to make it too hard now. Do you say the F word that much, Deb?
Deb: At work I do, the first morning I had $.75 in my change jar by 10:00 am at a quarter a pop.
Brian: I can’t wait to tell my dad. He will crack up because he thinks you are so funny anyway.
Deb: Well, I got more for you.
Brian; Yeah?
Deb: I also gave up drinking.
Brian and Angie: Well, then you are failing miserably because you had beers with us last night.
Deb: No. I gave it up on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Brian: Of course.

That night, we were laughing about kids’ names and an old joke someone told.
(Joke: Native boy asks the chief how he decides what to name each newborn.
Chief replies, “Whatever I see when I leave the birthing tent, I am inspired that should be the name of the child. If I see the moon rising over the horizon, the name shall be “Rising Moon.” If I see an eagle overhead gazing upon the earth, the name shall be “Soaring Eagle.” Why do you ask “Two-Dogs-F---ing?”)

When we heard Deb retelling the joke, we immediately called her out on her f-bomb drop.
“It doesn’t count if it part of a joke, either!”

I used to work with government contracts and they didn’t have this many loopholes.

BTW: We really aren't sailor-swearing rednecks, including Deb. A lot of us are educated and slightly refined. Well, probably not refined...



  1. ahhh, a peek inside for the clueless Baptist! ;-)

  2. I just linked here from Mrs. G. I am curious what type of church you and your husband are part of now. I was raised in the Episcopal church, but later switched to a non-denominational Christian church (in which lent isn't really observed). Happy Friday.

  3. I love family members that always entertain! lol Thanks for sharing those!

  4. Good thing you gave up Lent or you might feel compelled to give up blogging for Lent. And that would be NO fun.

  5. That is hysterical.. I too have used a loop hole during Lent.. I think it is part of being a good Catholic girl..:)

  6. lent loopholes. hysterical concept.

    I gave up diet dr peppers, diet cokes for leap of faith friday so can I count that as giving up something for lent? maybe I can get 2-for-1 credit on this deal...better sleep AND a little spiritual kickback

    sweet post!!

  7. Oh very funny! She sounds like quite a character! I love loopholes.

  8. Hahaha!! Technicalities make the world go round! Kind of like how kids operate, if you think about it.

  9. I love family stories like this.... makes me feel right at home. =)

  10. I joke that I am a recovering Catholic. Raised Catholic, but started going to my wife's church when we were married. Still working on not carrying all that Catholic guilt around all the time.

    Our church is not so big in the whole abstinence and fasting thing. So, where as I work evenings but also in the investments field and have Good Friday off from work, I asked my wife this past weekend if we would be bad people if we went out to dinner on Good Friday.....

    She initially said yes, but then thought about it and said, No. Hey, Jesus went out to dinner on Good Friday!

  11. I have just decided that your aunt Deb is one of my favorite people! I didn't read this before your explanatory post, but I would have liked her just as much if I had read this first. She sounds like an open, honest, down-to-earth sweetheart of a warm and funny woman. Thanks for sharing her wit and wisdom.