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Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Queen of Lemonade

I was born on the Feast of St. Anselm more years ago now than I care to admit, thank you very much. Let's just say no one asks for my ID anymore when I order a glass of wine with dinner.

A friend of mine reminded me of Genesis 6:3:
"Then the Lord said, 'My spirit shall not abide in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years'".
So, with every passing year, I'm moving closer and closer to that goal. I just hope I can stay as feisty on my 120th birthday as I am today.

Otherwise, what's the point?

One of our daughters sent this lovely vase of flowers for my birthday. She chose it, she said, because she admitted rather sheepishly, "I'm a marketer's dream."

If you look below the beautiful daisies, you'll notice the lemons in the pitcher. The arrangement is called, "Making lemonade out of lemons."

She said, "Mom, I HAD to get this for you. You are the absolute Queen of Lemonade from Lemons."

My daughter knows me well.

Part of that, of course, is the essence of being a Christian. I am, alas, as St. Paul writes, a "prisoner of hope". Another part of that is being a second generation Portuguese immigrant. I was infused with a sense of The Great American Dream in utero. The 'Spirit of Can-Do' was present at the moment of my first breath.

I have come to understand, however, that the greater part of being the Queen of Lemonade from Lemons is simply part of my nature. Baby, I was born this way.

One of the characters in Rita Mae Brown's book, Southern Discomfort, is a male hooker/drag queen known as Chablis. Her philosophy in life is this: "Look, honey, you got two choices in life: You can spit it out or you can swallow."

Mostly, I swallow. Unless, of course I have to spit it out. And then, I make lemonade.

I mean, otherwise, what's the point?

So, today is Maundy Thursday. I'm preaching and presiding at St. John's Chapel here at EDS at the noon Eucharist and then I'm preaching and co-presiding tonight at St. John's Bowdoin Street tonight.

That's a lotta feet to wash on any day of the week.

One of my daughters asked, "Mom, do you HAVE to spend your birthday like that? I mean, I know you love church and all, but the WHOLE day? Washing feet?"

I said "I can't imagine a better way to spend my birthday, really. It's a wonderful liturgy. It's especially great drama at the end when the altar is stripped and the door slams. Some people in the congregation will have never attended a service like this. How lucky am I to be doing something I love which may inspire others to love Jesus - and all on my birthday?"

My daughter sighed deeply. "Well, alright, Mom. Whatever makes you happy, but you WILL go out to dinner after church, right? Have a fabulous meal or something?"

Well, maybe. I just may be too tired at that point. Besides, the nifty thing about being a Christian is the idea of an Octave of celebration of my Natal Feast Day.

It doesn't have to end until after Easter. See?

Besides, tomorrow is Ms. Conroy's birthday. As I write this, she is making her way to Boston so we can spend the Triduum and Easter together. Oh, and celebrate our birthdays.

Yes, we were born in the same year. Two and a half hours apart. In the same city. In the same hospital.

I know. You can't make this stuff up.

She's already tormenting me about being older. It's what we do. Torment each other. Not always. Only when necessary. That's why we're still together, I suppose, after all these years. Thirty-five, actually, in October.

The ability to torment someone you love on occasion is part of the glue of life.

I mean, otherwise, what's the point?

So, off I go into this beautiful, sun-shiny day, into the vineyards of the Lord to listen to the old, old story of Jesus and his love, preach what I hope will be an inspiring meditation about Servant Leadership, wash some feet, make some Eucharist, and create a little liturgical drama.

You know, it just doesn't get much better than that.

If that's making lemonade out of lemons, then get my tiara and ermine robe, put some sugar in my royal Ceremonial Mace and crown me Queen for the Day.

This day was simply made for some Royal Lemonade.

I mean, otherwise, what's the point?

Royal Lemonade for everyone today!

It may be the Queen of England's birthday today, but The Queen of Lemonade has spoken.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Elizabeth!!!

Muthah+ said...

I'm sitting here with my glass of lemonade toasting the Queen!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thank you, m'dear.

claire said...

Have a stupendous birthday! To be the Queen of lemonade, what a wonderful way to be. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!

Hermano David | Brother Dah • veed said...

Happy Birthday to you and Ms Conroy.

My Roberto and I were born about 21 hours apart in houses about 500 meters apart. Same group of midwives. He on 18 JAN and me 19 JAN in 1964.

Karen said...

Happy Birthday to you and to Ms. Conroy. May you have many, many more years to enjoy tormenting each other!

whiteycat said...

A joyous birthday ... the entire octave ... to you and Ms. Conroy!

IT said...

Happy birthday, Elizabeth!

Happy Birthday, DahVeed! you and my beloved share a birthday (though not a birth year, we are a bit older than you.... ;-)

Brian said...

Many happy returns to you and Ms. Conroy, Elizabeth.

And a blessed Triduum, as well!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. The Queen and her lemonade consort are most pleased ;~)