Friday, June 18, 2010


We’re down to the countdown, the last few days before moving and retirement and enjoying some elegant last suppers with non-parishioners. One especially elegant one with our favorite musician, Mark Nelson and his marriage partner, sousaphoninst baritone and marine, David Oliver. Mark is as versatile and creative with food as he is with notes!

The day before the moving van comes and we are truly deprived with only our bed, clothes for the morrow, dop kits and Ms. Wise our cuddly, guardian mini-owl who will travel with us to our new home piloting from her seat on the dashboard, we will have to be ready—or not.

Yesterday I murmured to accomplice in marriage, Dick, “I want to go back to Egypt!” (Remember the biblical story of people of Israel who in faith followed Moses out of their servitude in Egypt and ended up in the wilderness for forty years whining to go back to Egypt where at least they had meat to eat and daily bread? Luckily God sent quail and manna.)

Food as bodily sustenance and spiritual assurance.

Manna is a weird substance but it contains all the minimum daily requirements of fruits and veggies and it’s not hoarfrost! God in the biblical story “rained bread from heaven” in the form of a fine flaky substance like coriander seed or cotton balls. It tastes like wafers in honey, very sweet—as fine as cotton candy that disappears in your mouth.

Manna is a special blessing which of course moderns have packaged, marketed and sold to pious foodies. Some refer to it as American popcorn, because manna is just as mysterious though less noisy in the making.

But to the ancients manna was a gift from God—unexpected but perfect like a childless over-aged person who suddenly becomes pregnant.
Manna was not quite bread; however, quail was definitely meat!

Even the bitchiest prayers can be acknowledged, satisfied and become blessings.

So I email my friends and tell them to SEND MANNA...or at least some Kentucky Fried ersatz quail.
A former parish warden dropped off some chicken wings at the door to pass for quail but the neighborhood predators, cats and squirrels, got to them first.

And another friend sent a hilarious column Colonscopy Journal by Dave Barry. He tells all and tells it with graphic humor. The best, as we all know who have had this treat(ment), is the preparation potion you drink for colonic purgation called MoviPrep, aka GoLightly. The names are like sheep’s clothing for wolves that explode inside you as they ravage, eliminating any and all refuse.

MoviPrep has become my new name for preparing to move. The process of culling your stuff doesn’t go lightly; nor does it prepare you for anything but pain.

Your stuff is precious even if you can’t remember what a lot of it was or is. Pitching and doling resembles amputation. And you know how you can feel a missing limb for days, months, years. The car and the beloved eight-foot sofa that just won’t fit were the worst! Cried like a baby in heat.

Humor helps because tears of laughter blend well with tears of sorrow. In fact today this little ditty popped into my brainless mind: Love and sorrow. Love and sorrow. Go together like there’s no tomorrow. Dear sisters and dear brothers, You can’t have one without the other. Pathetic, no? But truisms usually are and we need to keep this one because nowadays love and marriage aren’t as inseparable as we once thought.

So we are in MoviPrep, the wilderness in between—the place where we have set all these prescribed/appropriate (hate that word!) boundaries about no contact with parishioners (the need for them to detach you know) and basically having no friends or feeling as if you have no friends.

So every morning we wander and wonder.

This morning I poured orange juice over my cereal. It tasted lousy but it took me several mouthfuls of the noxious blend to realize it wasn’t milk and Cheerios.

Then later I went to Bed Bath & Beyond to buy two shower curtains for our new abode in Cambridge since cleanliness is next to youknowwho-ness, and came home $224 poorer—a few little items.

On the continuing subject of Last Last Suppers, we’re moving-prepping right along, We should be losing weight with all this stress and strain but instead we’re gaining from all the sumptuous caloric last suppers.

But honestly we don’t mind because we’re crying it all out in grief or losing it in sweat from heavy lifting.

Is there good news? Mmmhmmm. We love our new digs and our new landscape and the one neighbor we’ve met who hooted at us from her top floor window.
And I suppose after it’s all done we will feel lighter and cleaner as you do after the colonic purgation of MoviPrep—ready for a post-colonscopy pigout.

Emptying and fasting is good in spiritual traditions. But so is lavish "delighting in fatness" as the Bible puts it— and abundance of life , God's desire for all Creation.

So, though I swear this won’t be us, immediate accumulation of more stuff!