It's not about the house.

Friday, November 2, 2007


When you're Irish -- or, perhaps I should say, Irish and "of a certain generation" -- you leave offerings out for the souls on All Souls Night.

That's November 1st, in case anyone doesn't know. The day after Halloween. In a word: yesterday.

You leave a glass of water and a piece of bread, then you light a candle and leave all three together on the hearth. So when the souls come down the chimney (the entryway of choice for all good wanering souls, including Santa Claus), they see the snack and get disctracted. They eat it, and leave without bringing any strife into your home.

I don't believe a word of it, of course, and it seems to me a thing parents would do for their kids till they grow out of it. But it's important to my husband, and I think it's kind of quaint, so we do it. We do it every year (we used to leave them by the back door when we didn't have a hearth), and we did it last night, too. Or, rather, Johnny did. Because I'm, you know, gimpy.

Here's a picture (please ignore the big pile of ashes: it is a testamanent to my ability to ignore housekeepery messes that I didn't even see the ashes until they showed up here).

Notice anything missing?

Glass of water? Check. Candle? Check. Big pile of ashes from the last time we had a fire which I think was over Labor Day? Check. Bread? Balls.

No. No check on the bread. Somehow, we seem to have forgotten all about it.

Johnny thinks we'll be okay. Johnny thinks everybody leaves them bread and they're probably full by the time they get to our house anyway. Johnny thinks they were probably just happy for the warm light and the something cool to drink.

But Johnny's not the one who got woken in the night with an intense and sudden burning pain in his swollen, tender ankle -- is he? No.

It felt just like someone had taken my sore foot and given it a shove.

I won't forget the bread next year, poor souls. I'm sorry.

Please don't still be in my house.

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