Lazarus Did StinkSaturday, April 03, 2010
William Scherk sent me an envelope that arrived on Thursday. Little did I know that the fridge magnets inside would connect to the weekend events.
The plans for the weekend included a family Easter dinner Saturday night and an afternoon (on Sunday) merienda (the Spanish version of tea, usually had at 6 P.M. and with thick hot chocolate instead of tea.
The plan began to unravel on Thursday afternoon when our weekly cleaning lady (a sweet and gentle woman originally from Central America) arrived with a bit too much to drink. Within the hour she began to sing and cry and she was all muddled up about what to do next. Then to my horror I spotted an almost empty bottle of Austrian Schloss Kirsch in my den. I keep it there with an unopened bottle of Gilbey’s Dry Gin (autographed for me by Lord Gilbey) and an opened bottle of Argentine Torrontés white wine. The wine is for cooking and the 40% alcohol bottle of kirsch is for my frequent cheese fondues.
By the time Rosemary showed up our housekeeper was swinging between falling down and showing us a scary propensity towards violence. Rosemary put on her tennis shoes and I called a cab. The cab took her home.
Friday we went shopping for the food we were going to use for our Saturday night Easter Dinner. By three when we got home we spotted a fire truck on our lane. A line was down because of the severe windstorm. We were not to know then but our power did not come back until Sunday at four in the morning.
We quickly found out or remembered that the furnace would not work as both the thermostat and the electric motor that pumps the air up through the registers are electric. We soon found out that since we didn’t; have a small Coleman stove we could not even heat water for tea or coffee. We read our papers and out books with candles. All our flashlights were dead because Lauren (a nasty habit of hers) had left them all on weeks ago.
We survived Friday night with a warmish (water from the hot water heater) hot water bottle in bed. Breakfast consisted of sliced mangoes and juice.
Easter dinner was postponed to Sunday and today Saturday evening we took food to Hilary’s where I cooked Mexican pasta soup and quesadillas. Rebecca had baked a delicious white cake in honor of Rosemary's birthday which we decided to celebrate as Easter (since our eldest daughter Ale was present) instead of her real birthday on April 19.
We got home Saturday night expecting to find the hydro trucks. They were not there. We settled, depressed, into bed but were awakened by the sound of chain saws at midnight. By four we had lights.
As I looked at Schirk’s fridge magnets I thought again at how I have always equated a fridge to the human body. Everything is fine as long as the fridge has power. As soon as the power is out, the food inside begins to spoil and the smell appears.
When this happens I always remember what Brother Edwin taught us back at our religion class at St. Ed’s High School. Easter is as much the festivity of Christ rising from the dead as well as the raising of Lazarus by Christ as re-told by St. John in in John 11. There is a passage that will always be in my memory.
It was a cave with a stone laid across it. “Take away the stone, Jesus directed. Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, “Lord it has been four days now; surely there will be a stench!”
The New American Bible, 1973 by Catholic Press.
But as events unfolded I found reasons to feel happy. As I was finishing Andrew Greeley’s book on Saturday night, The Archbishop in Andalusia – a Blackie Ryan Novel, I smiled when I read the dialogue between Archbishop John Blackwood Ryan and Cardinal Diego Sanchez y Romanos, El Moro, Archbishop of Seville:
Archbishop Blackie: …I told her that she had come back from the dead. I said that resurrections meant new beginnings, that God expected a new beginning from her. A new life which was a renewed life. She was still shaking with fear…and all the time desperately holding the hand of the husband of whom she was afraid.”
Archbishop Diego Sanchez y Romanos: “Resurrections are not supposed to be easy.”
Archbishop Blackie: “Even for Jesus?”
Archbishop Diego Sanchez y Romanos: “I have never been in a position to ask him. But for the rest of us new beginnings mean new terrors.”
In many ways Saturday, called Sábado de Gloria in Spanish seemed a bit like that as we adapted to new situations that had been unexpected but cleverly predicted by old Rádico Popularos', William (Bill) Scherk when he sent me the fridge magnets.