I expect that the Mardi Gras 2015 in New Orleans was much more exciting than here at our home.   The Fat Tuesday where you experience the last great meal before lent.  We had hot dogs.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday which means I have too cook my pork sausages on the side to join Pat’s fish dinner.

Lent, where I can save money by not having to pour wine and prepare expensive foods for my bride.

But Ash Wednesday does take me back in time.

About 47 years ago I was dating Pat.  We had been going steady (that was the term back then) for several months.  By then I had sort of been used to dating a Catholic.  Every time I stayed for dinner I was sent to the basement while everyone in the family chanted Hail Marys while doing the dishes.

I had learned that as a family they did the Rosary every night and the chanting was not “Killa the Protestant”  as I first thought.

Still by February 1968 I thought I was comfortable with her religious things.  So it is a Wednesday night and I show up to take Pat to University to study in the Library.  Cold Regina night.

I show up at the door and Pat has a black cross on her forehead.  Sort of like the symbol you see on Hindu women.  Maybe a caste symbol so I just did not ask. By then I had learned just go with the flow.  For those that are not Catholics on Ash Wednesday they have a special mass where they take the ashes from the burned reeds from the previous Easter and the priest marks a cross on the forehead.  Kind of a big deal.

So I am going like… OK maybe this is a mark of Cain because she is dating a Protestant and I should not mention it.  Also thinking that maybe we do not go to the Library that night.

Fortunately Mary Ellen came out and said “Pat, you idiot you forgot to wash off the ashes”  We went off to the library.

I actually visited New Orleans many years ago on Mardi Gras….. a great event, but for me I mostly remember Ash Wednesday for the cross on her forehead.  To this day Pat makes sure she does not rub it off until she comes home to show me.