Sunday, March 29, 2015

Face-palm Sunday.

As we know, Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday bring out the A&P Catholics. Why? We don't know. Maybe because they're getting something for free.

Ashes and palm leaves. Score!

I wonder what everyone else does with their palms. Some people make crosses out of them. Sometimes the crosses are used to adorn grave sites. Some people, like me, just keep them around the house.

Now what do I do with them?
During the Crusades, palmers were poor pilgrims who made their way to the Holy Land as mendicants, carrying palms as their symbol. It's supposed to be where the surname Palmer comes from. I first encountered the term in Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, in which a character disguised as a lowly palmer returns to Saxon chief Cedric's home. Maybe I could take my palms and go schlep to the Holy Land.

The thing is, you can't just go pitching palms, or any blessed item. They need to be treated with reverence. For disposal, they must be burned or buried. Traditionally the previous year's palms are burned to make ashes for Ash Wednesday, but our church hasn't been collecting them these last few years. Maybe they had plenty already.

I'll tell you something from my own experience: Even dried out old palm leaves do not burn well. You can take that to the bank. Also, we don't have a fireplace or a fire pit. All we have is a house that could go up like tinder if I keep trying.

So... can I run them through the shredder? No, that would seem to be a violation of the code.

What I did in the past was return them to the earth. I didn't know about the burial thing, so I just ran them over with the lawn mower. Thought that would help speed the decomposition along, you know?

Now you know why the face-palm. And why, unlike my fellow parishioners, I'm not grabbing at the palm leaves as we enter the church today, Palm Sunday. Too much responsibility.

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