Monday, December 25, 2006

Praise and Joy of Sugar Cubes

The holidays are a time for family, giving and comprimise... Right? I was determined not to write a Christmas entry because EVERYONE writes one, but it's just too hard to ignore. I'm not going to complain about the malls or traffic or wrapping presents. I'm not going to complain at all actaually. It's just that sometimes things hit me in such a way I can't not write about them.

So I was brought up very Catholic. My father was a deacon and my mom has gone to church every Sunday of her entire life. I have long ago stopped going for reasons I don't mind talking about but would rather not get into any argument about with anyone about. So don't try bitch!!! Haha... So I'm trying not to be a rebellious teenager anymore and agreed to go with my Mom to Mass on Christmas just purely to make her happy. Thank god (I'm not using that word in vain - I swear!) lucky for me Christmas falls on a Monday so not only does my Mom have to go to Church on Sunday but Monday also!! And like any good Mom she makes me feel very guilty for making her go alone. So like the good daughter I am I reluctantly agree to go to Church two days in a row. Holy shit... Again - not using holy in vain.

So we enter into this beautiful, ornate, very Italian church and sit down. All is well and many strange and unusual memories come flooding back but one takes over that occupies my mind almost the whole time. There is this little boy and girl sitting in front of us. Trying to sit quietly but starts to wiggle around about 15mins into the ceremony.

Flash back. Me. About 5 years old. In a new red and black velvet dress my grandmother bought for me. Bow in my hair with white tights and little red hearts on them.

In my head is this new song I learned in school that I was so excited about to sing to my parents. So in order to not forget the song I decided it would be wise to not sing or say any of the prayers. I would stare at the pew, possibly scrape off some of the varnish and trace the lines in the wood with my finger all the while singing in my head, "Cookaberra sings in the old gum tree, eating all the gum drops he can see..." (god this sounding like a freaking scary Poltergeist movie) Anyway, I would start squirming and all of a sudden my father would put his hand on my leg to keep me from moving but also would give me a nice little painful squeeze right above my knee. I would straighten up and sit very still for the rest of the time but still not singing.

FINALLY church is over and we get to go to coffee hour where I can eat pastries and sugar cubes but on the walk over to the hall my father asks me why I wasn't singing or saying any of the prayers. Of course my answer is that I was trying to memorize a song I learned at school so that I could show them. But obviously that was not the right answer and of course I got reprimanded. Nothing really bad happened from this memory. It was just so vivid and those little kids in front of me today at church reminded me so much of my brother and I that I felt compelled to write about it.

So maybe when you take your kids to church you should ask them if they have any thing they want to tell you before you go inside because God doesn't like a squirmy kid who doesn't sing and praise the lord like a good Van Trap family member would.

Whiskers on Kittens anyone???

SIC Erica (stuck in childhood - for those of you who are not down with the lingo I roll with)

Oh - and Merry Christmas or whatever you celebrate. :)


Anonymous said...



Gregg O'Connell said...

holy shit you went to church dude?!?!? I went earlier this year and its so fucking weird and creepy!

are you going to go again?!


Helen said...

I was never brought up to be religious, although I think my mother would have liked me to have been a Christian, like her. Oh well. I hope you had a great Christmas, and that you have a happy new year!

Dan said...

Merry Christmas Erica! I was born and raised Roman Catholic and, like you, stopped going to church when I figure out how to keep myself nourished without depending on my mom. ;) And, happily, 15 years after I stopped going, she finally stopped threatening to gas herself in her oven over my delinquence.

Glad your church episode was a fond one! Love to you during the holiday season, Dan

QofD said...

Oh. My. (insert deity reference that is definitely not "God" being taken in vain here).

As a catholic I am like, SO TOTALLY OFFENDED!

Just kidding. I liked taking the trip down memory lane with you, only next time would you mind not strapping me to the roof of your car and let me ride shotgun instead?

Erica Putis said...

Matt: Merry Christmas to you too! Hope you had a great one also and have a fantabulous New Years. :)

Gregg: Dude - I went 2 days in a row!!! Crazy. Herbie would have loved it.

Helen: I think all parents want their kids to be whatever religion they are. My mom would love me to marry a nice Catholic, Italian man... Haha... Merry Christmas and Happy New year too you too!

Dan: I think sometimes my Mom still wishes I would see the light... :) Oh well. Happy Holidays also!

QofD: Haha - I really have no idea what God reference you would use. Please enlighten my naive mind. :) Holy shit - you were on the roof of my car? I wouldn't have driven so fast on the freeway if I had known. Sorry. :)

Gregg O'Connell said...

Herbie would have thrown up on the car ride over and inSide the church hAHA

James Burnett said...

Van Trap family? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! My folks made me sing in church. You think you had it bad as a deacon's kid? My dad was the pastor. And because I could hold a note I was compelled on threat of death penalty to sing often and loudly.

Anyway, I agree with anonymous - you're a good daughter for going to mass with your mom.

Happy Festivus!

russkal said...

Can't blame you for not wanting to go. I was raised a catholic also, studied in a catholic school, born in a catholic nation.

But as I grew up, my mind became open to a lot of things, and I became more independent when it comes to my own beliefs.

Now, I do belive in faith. But I don't believe in religion anymore. It's a long debate so I'm gonna leave it at that.

I do miss singing at the church choir, though.

Happy New Year!

Erica Putis said...

Gregg: Herbie is always sick. Sappy and sick. But so cute.

James: Don't think I didn't have to sing in the church choir... Only my church choir was very small and my Mom and I were the only altos. Not fun at all... Happy New Years!!

Russkal: Yeah - I don't like to discuss or argue about religion at all. I say, "to all their own". Maybe you should join a chorus somewhere that isn't affiliated with church?? Happy New Years!!

QofD said...

Oh c'mon Erica. No fighting about religion? Where's your sense of adventure?

Here, I'll start: I think that people should be allowed to keep Catholics as pets.

Erica Putis said...

QofD: Only if it's a leather collar with spikes on it and you make them walk around on all fours with a leash. Haha...

russkal said...

Happy New Year!

There's a gift waiting for you at my blogsite.

Make sure you click on "Gift"


James Burnett said...

Happy New Year, Erica! Hope you make progress on your goals in '07, especially the stuff you want to do with your writing.

And if you have a minute and are bored before tonight's NYE festivities in your neck of the woods stop by my blog and "participate" in the resolutions/meme for '07.

Erica AP said...

Russkal: Happy New Year to you too!

James: I'll check it out but I'm not big on resolutions. :) Happy New Year too!!

Helen said...

Thanks for adding my blog to your link list! I've updated my list, and added you.

Erica AP said...

No prob - you are a great writer and I fully support that. :) Thanks for adding me! Happy New Years!

James Burnett said...

Happy New Year, Erica. Have you recovered yet, or were your celebrations low key?

QofD said...

I think the blogger fairies ate Erica...

Erica AP said...

James: Happy New Year too! I had a great one - went to see a band play and rock out! How about you?

QofD: Blogger faries??? That sounds so sweet and magical!!! But they eat bloggers? Not so sweet. I've just been soooo busy. Don't worry - I'm thinking about writing soon. :) I know you can't live without my entries...

QofD said...

Erica, blogger fairies are sweet and magical. They only eat you when you don't post for a while and your readers are left, getting cold chills in the middle of the night, bereft, wondering "Was it something I said that made her stop writing?"

...but since they are sweet and magical, they anesthetize you first. Just so you don't feel their sharp little fairy teeth biting into your ankles.

tony said...

Good Times.

We used to pull little fuzzies off of the people in the pews in front of us and giggle at the dress caught in the woman's XL buttcrack until our Dad gave us "the look."

Oh, the look. It was usually accompanied by the subtle agonizing pinch of skin behind our bicep by our Mom.

I still go to church, but still find myself giggling at the bed-heads, missed belt loops and sqirmy five year olds.

Erica AP said...

QofD: Haha... I love blogging fairies. They would probably get along great with my dog because he's kind of an ankle bitter himself. Maybe he's a blogger fairy in a dogs body??? :)

Tony: I remember "the look" too. Haha... Sends shivers up my spine! My dad would also squeeze my neck a little but it would look like he was just patting my hair... Haha... Dirty tricks!!

A chuisle said...

i totally wore the same outfit when i went to christmas mass. did i borro it from you?! i can't remember. :)

i just remember that i loved xmas mass because it was like a play; that and the kids got to ring bells that we each brought and i was all about making an obscene amount of noise with mine. that must've been what kept me from fidgeting.

Erica AP said...

A chuisle: Ahh... I never got to ring the bells. I was so jealous and maybe you did borrow my outfit. :)