What are you giving up for Lent?

If you have more than a passing acquaintance with my baggy old blahg or know me in real life, you know that I am not giving up a dern thing, or even observing Lent, because I’m just a great big old heathen. The GG will think I’m being braggy or something but I’m just telling it like it is. I don’t celebrate the Mardi Gras either except for buying Froggy and Green Guy mardee graw beads. (Note to self: need to find some mardee graw beads with Frankenstein heads. Or were they Elvis heads?) This kind of stuff isn’t usually very much on my radar screen but today, the new employees that occupy the “bullpen” across the “street” from my cube were all excited about paczkis. They were jabbering and giggling and cackling high-speed about their Polish Catholic backgrounds and I even heard one of them talking about what his children were giving up for lent. (Don’t get me wrong, these people are wonderful.) Meanwhile, the stodgy old geriatric team across the way (most of us mainstream Protestants, some more lapsed than others) were listening (raptly, actually) to the long-suffering, cat-herding person expound upon his latest adventures reading the Talmud in Aramaic. No jelly donuts for us. But that’s kind of how we roll.

My best friend all the way from kindergarten through sixth grade was Laurie. I can still remember her telephone number and it’s very possible that her dad still has it. I don’t think he is dead… I went to Lincoln School and she went to the Catholic school a couple blocks away. We were comrades all the way through grade school. We “fought” (and won) battles with the boys in the neighborhood and snarked about all of the “wimpy” girls that we knew in our schools. We parted ways when I headed off to the big public junior high downtown and she stayed at the neighborhood Catholic K-8. We didn’t really part ways because of going to different schools. It was more that she became popular and I became, well, extremely awkward. I knew the writing was on the wall when we arranged to “play” together the fall we were in 7th grade and she was talking about “kissing and stuff”. With boys, that is… Yeah, I wanted to be doing that…

Anyway, her family always required that she and her siblings give something up for Lent. I am racking my brain trying to remember exactly what kind of things she would give up. Her great aunt and uncle ran a store in our neighborhood (Aunt Marion’s for those who know Siberia). It had a pretty darn good old-fashioned penny candy counter and I don’t remember us avoiding the candy store during Lent so I’m guessing she 1) picked something besides candy, 2) picked a very specific variety of candy, or 3) cheated about giving things up for Lent.

So, is anyone giving anything up for Lent? If you are Catholic or if you are not. I’m not sure I have ever asked the GG what he gave up for Lent as a child. Knowing the GG, he and his brothers probably kept stashes of whatever it was that they purportedly gave up in some little hidey hole somewhere.

Happy Mardi Gras. Best wishes for Lent if you observe it. Goodnight. -KW

3 Responses to “What are you giving up for Lent?”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Not giving up a thing–when I was younger and church going, I would give up chocolate or candy. That was the extent of my sacrifice. Now I’m not even willing to do that.

  2. jane Says:

    heathen here. no lenten sacrifices. and no paczki yesterday either. 😉

  3. jay Says:

    My carpooler was trying to figure out his give-up for this year. But I am not sure he has that figured out yet.
    My roommate in college observed Lent. One year she gave up smoking (and then went back). The next year she gave up biting her fingernails, which was apparently much harder to achieve than the no smoking gig. Apparently you can’t just not carry your fingernails around with you.

    Me? I had to be reminded that it was Lent by my carpooler.
    What it really means is that his mother’s lamb cake is not too far down the road.