We can serve all your Lenten needs. In the middle of aisle three, looking for tea and leaning on the grocery cart for balance, this was announced cheerfully over the loudspeaker. I found it amusing, then a bit appalling as I considered the ramifications. First, there was the presumption that all or most shoppers were Christians. Second, on a spiritual level, who is this "We" and how do they know all of anyone's Lenten needs? Simultaneously, childhood flashback to the years before Vatican II, when we had to give up something for Lent, usually candy, although I probably just consumed more Twinkies.

Just go to our friendly fishmonger to discuss your fish meals for Holy Week. Okay, I'll admit the fish guy is friendly and knowledgeable, but this announcement tipped The Absurdity Scale as I imagined suddenly being in some quaint medieval marketplace where fishmongers would be selling the catch of the day alongside other merchants on a dirt road with no shopping carts or shelves of manufactured foods. The only other person in aisle three did not react at all to something I said, so I finished shopping and headed home.

You can have a cocktail here...or you can sit and have a cocktail over here.The following day was sunny and glorious. I was drinking tea and eating an orange in the back yard. The next door neighbors were outside as well. I hadn't spoken to them since Fall, so I thought about going over, wondering if I needed my cane which was inside the house.

Is this the year you finally do the fish? It was Palm Sunday. I happen to know the neighbors are Catholic, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out the last comment. What did the wife mean? Ended up walking over without the cane, chatting with them. I mentioned overhearing the comments and they both laughed, explaining the husband was building a koi pond. They didn't know my husband died nor that I'd been in and out of the hospital for three months. I returned home and had to lie down. Later, the same day, I asked both sons if they could help me with something, but they were in the middle of hashing out some programming problem and said, "Not now," in unison. As I left the room, I heard a brief conversation:

She can't help it; her brain thinks backwards. "Hey Mom, in the future you should just start with the last sentence first..."

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