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A prayer of thanks

Lady Mother, I give thanks:

I give thanks that our highest court stood on the side of love and our families.

I give thanks that one long fight is over at least legally.

I ask that people’s closed hearts be opened and that they see it was just about loving and not about sex.

May they see us and not the prejudice they’ve been taught in an old book.

Help us remember why we did this and all those who are gone that we did this for.

Let us remember there is more to do and that no one deserves to lose their livelihood or the place they live because of who they love.

Be with all those who still suffer due to other people’s hate. Let this become a world more open to love.

Let us love ourselves even when the world may not love us and may every child be loved by their parents because of their heart not who their child’s heart loves.

Help us to all love more.
So mote it be.
Ashe’

Grief the thief

I’ve had an awful lot of people pass in an out of my life through the Veils. In the 1980’s it was a lot of the gay men in my life including my best friend, Art. I’ve lost all my great aunts and uncles and my grandparents when I was a lot younger. When I was a kid babysitting it was a baby we babysat at church who was born with an incurable and identifiable disease. In the 2000s I lost my parents and my little brother. That one will never stop hurting. Two years ago we lost Laura Janesdaughter, our Heiromum to multiple myeloma. Now Mary is on that path.

I know you aren’t allegedly supposed to grieve before someone is gone but it’s very difficult not to and even more difficult when you are well aware of the process. Because what they don’t like to tell you is that grief is cumulative. Every death is another stone on your chest and a piece of your heart that is missing. Every death is painful and they lie when they tell you it fades, it doesn’t. It ebbs and it flows and can hit you hard when you aren’t anticipating it. It can be set off by the sound of a stranger’s laugh that sounds like your loved one. The scent of a perfume or flower or of a food you ate with them. It can come when singing a song that you used to sing with or for them. It can be watching someone walk down the street and the walk is like theirs.

I’ll be 61 in a month and a day. My first funeral was my great-grandmother’s when I was 5. I still remember her and I remember sitting with my grandmother while she made her handkerchief into a hopping rabbit while she kept us quiet with chocolate mint Lifesavers in the back of the car. My great-grandmother was 92 and I remember her heavy Swedish accent at the holiday dinner table but when she died I really didn’t understand what death meant. At 60 I’m well aware of what death means and the pain it can make a body endure.

Never let anyone tell you it gets easier. It does not. They are saying that because it hasn’t happened to them yet. When my brother died it took a year before I stopped bursting into tears every time I thought of him and it still reduces me to jelly if I get hit unwarned by something like someone wearing my brother’s cologne or a book we read together or a song we sang together. It’s been 10 years this July and sometimes it could be yesterday.

So this is a familiar if unwanted journey. I know it’s even harder for M and D. Someone you thought you would grow old with way into the future isn’t going to be there. The future is just not going to be what you thought. As a priestess of Hecate and a past on-call clergy with the AIDS Service Center gives me some framework but when someone is close to you, all you can do is hold a circle of love and the memories and hope it’s enough for all of you.

I’ve never liked Easter

I have no good memories of Easter. Easter was torture from the outfits forced on me, to the egg hunts that were impossible for a blind kid to the hours long torture of never ending church services when I didn’t find anything useful to believe in.

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Don’t I look thrilled.

Little girls in the 50’s and 60’s were forced into hideous outfits bought new for the day. Socks with lace edges that doubled as buzzsaws when they hit the other legs. Petticoats that were so new and stiff and full they threatened to pop up if you didn’t forcibly hold them down and when you couldn’t always do it you heard a chorus of “I see London, I see France”. Hats always dorky and especially dorky if you had to carry a matching handbag that had el zippo inside except maybe a hanky your grandma gave you. A Lilt permanent given the day before that stunk to high heaven and was just gross for a kid with stick straight hair. And my mom hand embroidered my dresses which now would be worth tons of money but at the time all I wanted was to wear a store bought dress. And to the piece de resistance, patent leather shoes that Dad had to take out and sandpaper the bottoms so you didn’t slide and land on your butt.

One year, this lead to an incident at Sunday School. Mom always had to buy them too big because I would “grow” into them. They were too big and since my left foot is 2 sizes bigger than my right, the right one was way too big. Somehow there was a high kicking contest and my new right shoe landed on the roof of the Sunday School building. Can you say swift swat to the keester on the way home?

When I joined the kids choir and we had to get into robes, we had to take off our hated finery or we looked like Rose Parade floats with those petticoats on. And of course, put the flaming things on again after we sang. Church was normally 2 services and an overflow. Church held about 1500 people and on Easter would be full of Easter and Christmas Christians so they had to add a third service. If you were in the adult choir which I eventually graduated to that meant sitting through 3 sermons that were longer than normal that made you start thinking you were going to gnaw your leg off you were so hungry and when you finally got home a big meal with ham or lamb neither of which would I eat.

I only got taken to a public Easter Egg Hunt at the park once. Dad thought it was a fun thing to do but somehow he forgot I couldn’t see very well. Kids were running all over grabbing eggs and by the time I finally spotted one some kid would swoop in and take it. I remember standing there in the park crying because I hadn’t found a single egg and my dad telling me I hadn’t tried hard enough. Yeah, we didn’t do that again even after I had eye surgery. We had them at home where Dad knew where they were all hidden and could help point them out.

It didn’t help that for some reason the minute I saw my Easter basket full of candy I used to have to run and get sick. No idea why except that it happened every year. The only good thing I can remember was way back in the dark ages before backpacks girls carried their books in woven lined book baskets and after I got to Junior High my Easter basket was a new book basket since by this time in the year mine would be thrashed. We all had one hip and shoulder high than the other from carrying all our books around in them because everyone in my neighborhood walked to school.

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Kind of like this one but with raffia handles and lined with bright cotton fabric.

Anyway, Easter isn’t a holiday I remember fondly so as a pagan, I don’t miss it a bit.

The Mac & Cheese my mom made.

This is my favourite recipe for Macaroni and Cheese, it’s from a 1958 Good Housekeeping pamphlet and the one my mom always made.

Susan’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese

1 TBSP of salt

½ lb of macaroni in 2 ½ inch pieces or elbow macaroni (about 2 cups)

(Mom used the big elbow macaroni not the tiny ones like ones in Kraft mac & cheese

1 small onion

2 TBSP of butter or margarine

1 TBSP of flour

¼ tsp of dry mustard

¾ tsp salt

Speck of pepper

2 cups of milk

½ l of Cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)

Topping:

¾ cup fresh bread crumbs (I leave these out because I don’t like them)

4 tsp of butter or margarine

  1. In a large kettle bring to boil 3 qts of water with 1TBSP of salt.

Start heating oven to 400 degrees. Grease 1 ½ qt casserole

  1. Drop macaroni into boiling water; boil, uncovered, stirring often with fork, about 9 minutes

Or until piece rubbed between fingers parts fairly easily.

  1. Meanwhile, mince onion, (about 4 tsps) put in double boiler with 2 TBSP of butter. When butter is melting, stir in flour, mustard, salt and pepper; cook until smooth and hot, stirring often.
  2. Slice about 3/4 s of the cheese right into the sauce; stir until the cheese is melted. ( if preferred, slice or grate cheese ahead, using medium grater)
  3. When the macaroni is tender, drain into colander; turn into casserole. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni, tossing lightly with fork so that all the macaroni gets nicely coated. Top with rest of cheese.
  4. Toss bread crumbs with 4 tsp of melted butter. Sprinkle over the cheese.
  5. Bake uncovered; 20 minutes.

Makes 4 servings as a main dish and 6 when served instead of potatoes.

For 2 servings:

Use the following ingredients: 1/3 lb of cheese, 1 1/3 cups raw macaroni, 1 TBSP of minced onion, 4 tsps of butter, 2 tsps of flour, ¼ tsp of dry mustard, ½ tsp of salt, speck pepper, 1 1/3 cups of milk. ½ cup fresh bread crumbs, and 1 TBSP butter. Bake in 1 qt casserole at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.