Ending Lent season with heavenly bourbons

Published 7:34 am Wednesday, March 27, 2024

By Steve Stricker

The English word “Lent” is a shortened form of the Old English word “lencten,” meaning “spring season.” 

Lent began this year on Valentine’s Day, February 14 and officially ends TOMORROW Holy Thursday, March 28 – 44 long days (counting Sundays) in the voluntary desert of repentance. 

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On Ash Wednesday from the Vatican, Pope Francis said, “Lent “immerses us in a bath of purification.” “It means looking within ourselves and acknowledging our real identity, removing the masks we so often wear, slowing the frantic pace of our lives and embracing the truth of who we are.”

After 8:30 a.m. Mass this past Thursday, a dear friend asked why I wasn’t at the St. Joseph church dinner on the 19th.  Told her I was busy in my yard, lost track of time – the truth, but I could have made it.  

Dismissing that, she said why didn’t you really go?  Removing my “mask” and embracing the truth, said, “I didn’t go because as a huge introvert I don’t like crowds and small talk with people I barely know!”  She said, “Well, you talk to me.”  “That’s because I’ve known you since 1988 when I arrived in Oxford, like and am comfortable with you.”

Every Lent, like Spring, is different for me. Forever ago, began going to daily Mass, arriving at least an hour early per Bishop Fulton Sheen, daily Rosary, regular confession, gave up booze, bunch of other stuff like salt, pepper, sugar, chips, pizza, sweets, cut way back on my already small meals, ate more fruit, healthy things, worked out, walked more, and to date, I’ve lost 10 pounds since Ash Wednesday.

Have also continued praying daily for people who I like…especially those that are challenging for me, and worked on being more patient, less critical of idiots who can’t drive, especially on roundabouts and ride my bumper!

This Lent has been really tough with familial issues, eye and other stuff requiring lots of doctor appointments, a CT scan, and really missed my beloved bourbon that helps knock the pain off my many herniated back discs, torn rotator cuff, knee, other aches, and helps when I’m sitting at this computer for hours at a time writing these swell weekly columns for my long-time family, The Oxford Eagle.

But – that is exactly what Lent is about; to turn inward, and trust God more for help not external things. It isn’t meant to be easy as one slugs it out in the penitent desert, deep sand, passing by that Oasis to atone for our sins – and God never gives more trials than we can handle, especially in Lent.

So, with tomorrow in sight, Holy Thursday, the official end of Lent, drove to High Cotton this past week and purchased some of my favorite bourbon with spiritual names – Heaven’s Door and Angel’s Envy! Both are a wee bit out of my budget but have saved by not spending on booze; I also like cabernet wine and Guinness Extra Stout beer.

Now, I like a glass of wine with supper, beer with popcorn watching sports, and slowly sip a wee tipple of bourbon, nose glass under half full, for over an hour, limit daily intake, don’t drink two or three or more days a week, have great will power, which is why it’s really no big deal to give up booze during Lent.  

Having said that – heavenly, angelic bourbon sits at the ready, my favorite Glencairn bourbon glass from Scotland, “Scotland” clean, ready to break this fast with a long-awaited wee sip of sin, I mean bourbon! Ironically, that first sip after 44 days usually tastes awful – but rapidly improves with each sip….

Happy Easter & Go Rebels!!