WOMAN ON THE VERGE: It’s an ‘egg’cellent time of the year!

April 17th, 2022 6:25 PM

By Emma Connolly

To everyone who quit chocolate for Lent, we hope you indulge this weekend. To those who didn’t … we hope you do too! Hope the Easter bunny comes to everyone!

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• I ABSOLUTELY cannot get my head around the fact that it’s already April. And well into April too, mind you. It’s like one minute the whole year was stretching out gloriously ahead of me, with a whole world of possibilities, and two seconds later it’s already a third of the way through … and I’m still sort of getting myself together. Still, at least there’s lots of chocolate to look forward to, even if I can’t congratulate myself for having had the wil power to have abstained for the past 40 days. I was taking the approach that there’s enough suffering in the world right now, but really I just don’t have any self-discipline.

• Growing up, Easter was a really big deal as it used to mark the end of all the misery and suffering of Lent. It was the time when you could finally break into at all the sweets you’d been fastidiously saving in an old shoe box since Ash Wednesday. The fact that they’d all have congealed into one big horrible gooy mess didn’t matter a bit either, they tasted just the same. Besides, after the hectic week of masses you’d have just put down, a bit of chocolate was the least you deserved in fairness.

• Growing up in the 80s, the Easter schedule of masses was taken very seriously in most households, including my own. It started with Palm Sunday (yes, that’s the one with the long Gospel, god help anyone with a bad hip; your only hope was that there wasn’t a sermon on top of it. There usually was), and there was no let-up until Easter Sunday. It was a competitive circuit, and the more masses and confessions you could pack in, the better. Good Friday Stations of the Cross was the really big one, though. Only the best readers of the parish were chosen to take to the altar on this day and competition was always fierce for the role of Pontius Pilate and Judas. Altar servers were head-hunted from far and wide with soutanes especially dry cleaned for the occasion and you’d have to get there good and early to get a decent seat. People actually fainted it would go on for so long, and it was worn as a badge of honour as it proved your commitment to the fast day.

• Then when you’d finally get home all you had to look forward to was a miserable cold plate, something like you might get at a bad stations, but without the meat. A quarter of a boiled egg, a few slices of beetroot (for the extra suffering), a slice of tomato and a little scoop of potato salad (from the tin, which I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I love, almost as much as sandwich spread. Am I going to be excommunicated from artisan West Cork for admitting that now?)

• After all that there was still Easter Saturday night mass, where at least the candles were a novelty. Some people went with an egg carton to contain the drips of wax, others went for a neatly cut disc, while some went rogue and risked the wrath of the sacristan, dripping everywhere. And that just left Easter Sunday morning mass (it was absolutely unquestionable that Saturday night would have had you covered) before you’d tear home to catch the Pope’s blessing on TV.

• It was exhausting. And when you weren’t at mass or devotions, or getting ready to go to mass or devotions, or coming from mass or devotions, all your downtime during Easter week was spent watching four-hour long (slightly disturbing and very graphic) films about the Crucifixion. But then there was always the promise of the Easter Egg at the end of it all, so of course you offered it up.

• That was growing up, but I remember one year when I was a fully-fledged adult, living independently, I went to mass every day during Lent. Now, I think there might have been a bet involved, but it was extremely satisfying to commit to something and follow it through. Somewhere along the way I seem to have lost that discipline. I was lamenting this the other day and the six-year-old declared that we’d definitely try harder for Lent next year. Her mouth was full of sweets at the time, which is a bit like me declaring I’m going on the wagon while nursing an adult headache. We can only try.

• In the meantime we’re off on a pilgrimage of sorts to Longford, or more specifically, Centre Parcs. I wouldn’t be the biggest fan of water slides and pools, and I imagine that’s where I’ll be 98% of the time so … pray for me!

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