Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's really happening!

I was so excited Sunday night, and it was so late, that once more I got the name of a Saints player wrong! (Don't ask about the last time. It was 40 years ago.) It was Garrett Hartley, not Hartman, who kicked that 40-yard field goal and changed history.

Long, long ago, long before I was a minister, I was in a study group that was pondering the kingdom of heaven. As we considered different metaphors for the kingdom, I blurted out, "The kingdom of heaven is like the Saints going to the Super Bowl, and having the game played in New Orleans!"

My pastor and mentor, Ed Gouedy, grinned and began a parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who had a football team..."

Ed didn't live to see this day, but he would have loved it. So would the late sportswriter and broadcaster, Buddy Diliberto, who once declared he would wear a dress if the Saints ever went to the Super Bowl. With his family's permission, on Monday the Times-Picayune ran a full-page photo, courtesy of Photoshop, no doubt, of a man with Buddy D's head, prancing around in a beautiful gown. They added a little halo on top of his head.

For all those who didn't live to see this moment, this one's for you. For all those who have lived to see it, savor every moment!

The other thing that's really happening is what I am calling My Big Fat Presbyterian Wedding. I bought The Dress yesterday. The Saints, the's the fullness of time. Wow!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dateline:Hell. With Boudreaux.

A favorite joke I first posted to this blog on Jan. 19, 2007:

Boudreaux the Cajun lived down the bayou (Bayou St. John, maybe?) and he led a less than holy life. When he died, alas, he didn't get into heaven. He ended up in the other place. The devil made sure he kept hell good and hot, but when Boudreaux arrived, it didn't bother him a bit. He settled into a hammock and said, "Ah, just like the old days before we had air conditioning, back home on the bayou." The devil was more than a little annoyed, so he cranked the heat higher. Boudreaux poured himself a glass of lemonade and said, "Oh, jes' like the old days when we used to go crabbing on the Mississippi Gulf Coast." The devil cranked the heat all the way to the limit, so that hell started to melt, but Boudreaux just smiled and said, "This is just like back home when my mama used to fix a big pot of gumbo in the kitchen."

Finally the devil couldn't take it any more. "All right, Boudreaux," he said. "If you like it hot, then I'm going to fix you." And the devil turned on the air conditioning, and it got reaaally, reaaally cold, way beyond cold, colder than you can possibly imagine. With a big grin on his face, the devil went to check on Boudreaux.

He found Boudreaux dancing a second line and laughing and shouting and leaping for joy. The devil was astounded, outraged. "Boudreaux! I thought you liked the heat, so I made it so cold down here that you wouldn't be able to stand it! What is with you, anyway? Why are you dancing around like that?"

Boudreaux could hardly contain himself for joy. "Hell's freezing over!" he cried. "The Saints must be in the Super Bowl!"

Hell-o, hell! Darn, it's cold down here!

Boudreaux, you did it! Hell is really freezing over!

When Hartman kicked that field goal through the goal posts, I started screaming and couldn't stop, even though I already had a sore throat. When I finally paused to catch my breath and hit the mute button on the television, I could hear my neighbor on his back porch, screaming something unintelligible. I went out on my own porch, and I could hear it: people screaming in the streets all over Uptown New Orleans, and more fireworks going off than on New Year's Eve. It was a little like the Sunday before Mardi Gras, when I can hear the crowds at the Bacchus parade from my porch, only much louder. And after a little while the car horns started, as people headed home from all the parties at friends' houses. Later I could hear sirens, lots of sirens. Either the city was burning down or Saints owner Tom Benson and perhaps some of the players were getting police escorts home. I'd like to think it was the latter.

Forty-two years! I was here in 1967, and I remember that first season and how excited we were to have an NFL franchise in New Orleans. We had named the team the Saints even before we HAD a team.

Also in that fall of 1967, I started dating a boy who was my lab partner in chemistry class. This spring, forty-two plus years later, we are getting married.

And the Saints are in the Super Bowl! There has to be a connection!

I hope they have cable in hell. Boudreaux needs to see the Saints in the Super Bowl!

I bet a LOT of people in New Orleans are going to call in sick on Monday...


Sunday, January 03, 2010

Epiphany, 2010

You know, just a few years ago, I was shocked – shocked, I say! – to find king cakes in the grocery store before New Year’s Eve. When I was growing up, you had king cake on January 6, the day known as the Epiphany of the Lord in the church year, more commonly called the Twelfth Night of Christmas – easier to pronounce and easier to spell. But that was then, and this is now. I’ve been seeing king cakes in the grocery for the last several months, only they aren’t decorated in the traditional purple, green, and gold. There are purple and gold LSU cakes, gold and black Saints cakes, red and green Christmas cakes, you name it. If I were dead, I’d be rolling over in my grave! What happened to the tradition of having king cakes only between January 6 and Mardi Gras?

And for those who are counting, Mardi Gras comes on February 16 this year, and as far as I am concerned, six weeks is quite long enough to eat king cake, especially if you work in an office where whoever gets the baby has to bring another one the next day. But some savvy marketer must have decided that there are people out there who really like king cake, so I guess we’ll be having king cake all year long now. I suppose there is some theological merit to celebrating the Epiphany all year long, but something tells me that’s not what the marketers had in mind. Or the people who like to eat king cakes.

And just for the record, when I was in my neighborhood Rouse’s yesterday, I checked out the stack of king cakes at the front of the store, and they were purple, green, and gold, as God intended. My soul is at peace.