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White light folded, sheathed about her, folded.
The new years walk, restoring
Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring
With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem
The time. Redeem
The unread vision in the higher dream
White jeweled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.

— T.S. Eliot, "Ash Wednesday."

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
If the women don't get ya
The whiskey must.

— Old folk rhyme.

I remember several years ago Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live talking
about Ash Wednesday and getting the ashes placed on one's forehead.
"This week marked Ash Wednesday" she said. "The day when you come
back from lunch and freak out your co-workers, who think you've
joined some strange religious cult."

Today my mom had a visit from Sister Sharon, who came over to do an in-
house due to the fact that my mom can't get out right now. She was going
to give the ashes on the forehead and give Holy Communion. When she got
here, my mom asked me if I wanted to receive ashes. Perhaps more to
please my mom than anything else, or perhaps out of nostalgia for my
Catholic youth, I said that I would. And so I did. Concluding the little
service Sister Sharon led us in the Lord's Prayer, which I recited also
inasmuch as there is nothing much in it that I disagree with anyway.
When we got to the "lead us not into temptation" phrase, I remember
thinking to myself that there certainly wasn't much temptation in my
life anymore; but hoped that if there would be that I would do the right
thing.

The service concluded and Sister left. Nothing like participating in a
bizarre Catholic ritual to pick up your afternoon. Afterward I grabbed
my hat and jacket and went over to the grocery store to pick up a few
things for dinner. As I walked across the grocery parking lot, I passed
by a young, very nice looking little redhead heading in the opposite
direction.

Definitely a source of temptation. Even if only in my imagination.
"Already got that one covered!" I said to myself.

My hat covered the ashes. Nobody at the store gave me any strange looks.

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