We’re in Lent,
over here in Gutenberg land,
an area so Catholic that the carnivalists make statements
on public television
about how Catholic we are,
(“others can say what they want, we’re Catholic”)
and fly in extra priests from all over the world to handle the confessions of the over a million visitors to the carnival season.
About 250,000- up to about 350,000 if you count all the suburbs and sprawl-
soon to be united by an about 17 mile “mainzelbahn”-
a sort of seven dwarfs
(symbol of the local tv station)
to bring people into the coface football stadium
and the ZDF-the second German television.
Also Catholic, if you listen to the locals and their complaints.
Not that I have anything against living in a Catholic town.
Except the sixty percent Catholic populace’s one hundred percent certainty that everyone is Catholic until proven guilty.
Now I can handle a mass with the best of ’em.
All classical musicians are trained to.
But over here,
- the Gutenbergers have their own mass form, going back to something like the middle ages,
2. when you get the call to conduct, they ask you to play “for the credo”
Be still my heart. A Mozart mass? Haydn? Schubert?
No, actually, they mean what they say:
play “for” the credo,
meaning after the credo,
and definitely not Mozart.
No, modern, light, and sounding as much like a musical as you can get is what they are really after.
Sister Act is a big favorite.
Actually, though, with regard to lent,
the biggest problem,
believe it or not,
is the nearly jealous tolerance of others,
which I find very sweet of them, actually,
toward those without food restrictions at this time.
At a HUGE seventieth birthday party of a musician friend,
my husband and I were taken by the arm by the wife of the birthday boy,
and lead firmly,
with no chance for escape,
past the fish buffet,
and to the end of the line,
marked with a sign,
and full of ham and cheeses.
And very good they tasted, indeed.
Although it is definitely embarrassing to sit with others watching every bite as they eat their six kinds of raw herring.
But that’s life here in Gutenberg Land.
Along with the fact that our local Turkish kebob owner has to have his one son take telephone orders during lent,
and the other deliver on a bicycle.
Also only during lent.
You wouldn’t want the neighbors to see you eating kebob in the shop, would you?
only five more weeks till the we get to eat the Easter bunnies-
that are actually Santa Clauses wrapped in Easter bunny tin foil-
that everyone bought during the huge Easter chocolate half-price sales
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