Photo: This deliciousness right here… and I’m telling you, I didn’t even do much. I took this beauty out of the packaging, I seasoned with spices*, I gave it a little olive oil, I seared both sides for color, then I popped it in my oven at 400 degrees. I wish I had trusted myself more: the packaging said 20-30 minutes and I thought it would be under done. I rarely cook these lamb racks whole. I usually cut them into chops. I checked it at 25 and thought the feel was good, but I still worried. Anyway, I served it and it was cooked all the way. Top Chef would have dinged me and said it was slightly over done (not pink in the middle), but it was not dry. It was plenty juicy and tender and amazing. Better believe I’ll be picking up one of these again and grilling it! *spices: salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, gggaaaarliiicc. I live for garlic.
The Husband went to California on a business trip last week and came back with a cold. He could barely get out of bed on Saturday morning, which meant I was left to entertain the children. There were things to do and it was a nice early spring day (touching the 60s), so there was opportunity to break out the bikes. I packed my knitting, my reading, the bikes, helmets, and water, then went off to church where I knew the parking lot would be empty until late afternoon and they’d have full freedom to ride. Eventually, they got tired and decided to dig in the playground sand. I parked the van just so and sat in the back with my knitting, letting the sun warm my skin and the afternoon go by.
Under such circumstances, feeling relaxed and alone, my mind often wanders to home and to Grandy. My uncle and I were just on the phone talking about Easters of old: sunrise services at our family church in Maryland, fancy Talbots dresses, itchy tights, shiny shoes and matching hats. There was debate as to whether or not my sister and I wore gloves to Easter service. I said no, the tights were bad enough! My uncle swore we did. Maybe when we were little, but that must have ended pretty quickly. The big laugh came when discussing jelly beans hidden in little coin purses. My church here in Massachusetts specifically sent an email asking parents to have snacks in the car, but not in the pew. My uncle and I giggled about snacking on jelly beans while Grandy always had half a stick of gum to chew during sermon time. Easter service just wasn’t Easter service without something sweet.
Anyway, I sat in the back of the van and listened to the birds sing and let the sun warm my legs. One of my favorite Easter hymns from childhood bubbled up from my memories. I sang it softly and knitted, trying to hear Grandy in the chorus of voices I could hear in my head. I sang the lyrics I could remember, repeating them over and over again. If I’ve written it once, I’ve written it a thousand times: mourning is an unpredictable thing. Tears came as I sang and knit, perhaps because I knew the voice I was hearing wasn’t really hers. It melted in with the voices of Mom and my Aunt, the various other women from that congregation and even my own, there in that van at that moment. It made me homesick in a new kind of way. It made me want to go home and take my place in my grandmother’s pew, adding my voice to the voices of those women that make that community what it is. As the elders leave, the young women rise into a new place. I wanted to add my voice. I wanted to sing the hymn and have my voice melt in with theirs. I wanted my boys to hear my mother’s voice, so they can have the memory… to hear her voice blend in with mine and my Aunt’s and theirs over time… to have it be and not be…. to have it live forever while blended in with so many voices, living and dead.
I miss Black people. I miss my people. It would have been nice to have felt that energy, to hear those voices, to hear the story of Resurrection with people who I share a story with.
I love my church here, don’t get me wrong. It’s just a different sort of jubilant energy. The polite formality of it, so tight and subdued, comes with a sweetness that I have had to learn to appreciate. You must reach for the warmth, see past the practiced smile. Indeed, sometimes you’ve got to literally reach for it and then squeeze it out one good hug at a time.
Our new, interim rector invited us to “make a joyful noise” in celebration of the Risen Lord yesterday at the beginning of service. This was more of a coded signal to the parents with wailing babies that we’re warm and welcoming rather than a real call for people to shout out in praise. Ursa Major took the invitation to mean he could sing as loudly as he wanted to, competing to be his own 1-boy choir in the back of the church. We sang the opening hymn with particular gusto, the pattern pretty easy to pick up and it being pretty accessible for him. I was sincerely pleased that he was so eager to participate (both of the boys were pretty good yesterday), though I tried to get him to self-regulate his volume. I remembered that the Easter hymns were the first I really learned. Besides, this is his church. He should feel free to sing. And he did… he sang his little heart out yesterday. He said the Lord’s Prayer from memory. He said the Nicene Creed along with me and the congregation. That child surprises and delights me every day.
Aside from Major’s beacon of energy, the rest of it all was very polite, very tight and focused. The rector made a joke or two about Jesus Christ Superstar, which garnered brief, quiet, though sincere, laughter. It…it was fine. I just missed the rest of it: competing with my sister for the purple and red jelly beans, squeezes and hugs from Grandy, even being shushed by Mom (who was always whispering with my Aunt! Who was she to shush!?). I missed the eagerness to change out of frilly dresses and into jean skirts and sneakers. I missed robust conversation over potatoes au gratin, sauerkraut and roast beef.
I went to the cross yesterday exactly as I am: homesick and overwhelmed, two exuberant boys in tow. The Husband, too sick to attend, stayed home and slept in. Two little boys wore the same little blue blazers they wore last year (thanks be to God they still fit!). I had bags under my eyes from sleeping on the couch for the third night in a row (The Husband coughs so loudly he shakes the entire room). I felt less than what I wanted to be. There was a raw loneliness that went with me to the cross and the altar yesterday morning. I’m grateful that we get to go to the altar as we are and that we’re able to go there for restoration if that’s what we need. I’m not sure it that’s what I got yesterday… I was too busy thinking about keeping the boys under control… but I’m still grateful.
It’s a Monday in April. You are who you are. You are as you are, Dear Reader. It’s good to meet you here again in this little corner of the internet. I’m grateful for your visit, as ever. Thank you for your readership.
Until Wednesday, take care.