From the rediculous to the sublime

Spices used in Garam Masal

Spices used in Garam Masala

Net week, the annual ‘March for Life’ or Pro-life rally will be held downtown.  As a result, Catholics from all over the Americas along with other religious and non-religious will march to the Supreme Court. Yesterday, Bother Dunstan came for a visit bringing three of the marchers, Franciscans visiting the Benedictine Abbey.

Sister Elfreda of German origin (Wurttemberg), who lost a leg as a child, walked the El Camino in Spain where she saw a blinding light that called to become Catholic and join the Franciscan Order of Sisters and Brothers of the Poor (she had been Lutheran).

Jose, badly scarred from burns he received as a child and a Franciscan novitiate from the Dominican Republic spoke little English, thus said little, although the third Franciscan translated Jose’ story as he shared it…of his calling by Mary after a near death experience when he a 13, and his heart stopped.

I was enjoying their stories until the third man, a recently ordained priest who belongs to a monastery in LA, began to speak.  I won’t relay much of what he shared, but I will say he scared the Bejeezes out of me with his fanatical words. I haven’t been around a “fire and brimstone” preacher in a long time. I certainly didn’t know there were Evangelicals in the Catholic church.

Kathy told me later that this tonsured young priest from Australia (originally Malta) belonged to a rather stringent arm of the Franciscans, not unlike Opus Dei. She said the best thing to do was laugh at them, but I had a hard time doing that as it brought back all those awful memories of my Dad who was also a bit fanatical when it came to his religion.

The three Franciscans had spent six days hitchhiking to Washington D. C., and had many experiences along the way with both Protestant and Catholic drivers. I said to David, can you imagine the string of traumatized drivers they left between Baton Rouge and Washington?


Lately, David and I have been watching or in my case re-watching The Jewel in the Crown, first broadcast on PBS in the 1980s. This story, about the lives of some of the people during the last days of the British Raj, is very powerful, and a wonderful program for history buffs.  I became so entranced with the story the first time I saw it, I searched for and found The Raj Quartet in a used book store (it was out of print). A long time Indiaphile, I read the four books, as well as author Paul Scott’s biography.

Over the years, I have noticed actors Art Malic (Hari Kumar) and Susan Woolridge (Daphne Manners) in various programs, often mysteries from the BBC. But, never cast together again that I know, although they had enormous chemistry on screen.

Perhaps you won’t be surprised to discover I am fixing Garam Masala chicken for our big meal today.

16 thoughts on “From the rediculous to the sublime

  1. I noticed ‘The Jewel in the Crown’ on the library shelf the other day – might have to borrow and maybe attack the other three books as well. So many of my ancestors were stationed/lived in India/Burma over the years the feel of the country is (sort of ) in the blood. I love curries in all shapes and forms although I’m sure some of my rellies would have been a bit scornful to begin with – ‘foreign muck’


  2. I have just read your post to Gregg. When I read, ” I said to David, can you imagine the string of traumatized drivers they left between Baton Rouge and Washington?”, he actually laughed out loud and loves your humor. I will often read your posts to him which he finds extremely interesting and his ears perk up with some of the books you read. By the way, is that the recipe of mine you mentioned you’re having tonight. If so, I do hope you both like it.


  3. I love the still life spices shot. Fanatics of all ilks scare me and I can laugh at a lot but if it’s too ugly it’s hard for me to laugh. I’ll risk offending by saying that something someone said to me made me laugh: “the only problem with the born again crowd is they are so boring after they are reborn”. As long as it’s just tedious and boring I can handle it but hatred and venom is hard for me to deal with. I should mention that I have close friends who are “born again” and that phrase can cover a lot of territory so I don’t mean to insult everyone who considers themselves born again, heck I am born again on a fairly regular basis in terms of what I feel and understand and rebirth can be empowering and . . . o.k. I’ll stop now.


  4. I remember watching The Jewel in the Crown on British TV in the 1980s with Geraldine James, Peggy Ashcroft, Charles Dance, Tim Pigott-Smith, Eric Porter & Susan Wooldridge. It ran for fourteen weeks.


  5. I feel so exasperated by super right wing religious groups that think they speak for everyone. I was going to write more, but I have to stop. It bothers me too much.

    And about the suckers… my lemon tree that is. I do believe you’re right. It’s just that the sucker came out so high on the trunk.


  6. Love the smell of Garam Masala, it would make good perfume if I wore it. I will have to see if I can find “Jewel in the Crown,” sounds very interesting.


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