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Rings, flags and bells

My wife smiled at me sweetly this morning, and mentioned I’d been a goodling for remembering our wedding anniversary, whichever one it was. I can easily find out. I’d just have to ask our daughter for her date of birth, and then get our son to subtract the correct number of months. (For readers with poor memories, I can guarantee this method works every time. Pardon? The number of months is somewhere between one and sixty, and don’t be so nosey.) I nodded nonchalantly while scratching my head. She told me how pleased she was that I always remembered these things, and was sure I wouldn’t forget the next one either, which is tomorrow. My mouth smiled reassuringly back, if gawping goldfish can be said to smile.

And of course I haven’t forgotten. A freshly polished beating stick is a reliable mnemonic, and I see it’s been placed on the handy hook in the passage. I can’t recall what S-T-I-C-K stands for, but the sight of it helps me to remember some things. That’s how come I’ve just returned from the shop with a box of chocolates. This will be a lovely surprise on the breakfast table in the morning; as original as always.

I’m going to add an extra touch this year, assuming I can find one of those amusing e-greetings cards. If I put enough effort into it, I’m confident I’ll come up with a heartfelt template at Imagine my wife’s delight at discovering an ‘I Love You’ e-mail on the computer! I wonder if they’ve got one with dancing dinosaurs. Of course, I’d prefer a message featuring the newly described Upper Jurassic mammal, Fruitafossor. (It was a mouse-sized eater of ants, by the way.) However, this is intended as a romantic gesture for my wife, and I doubt have any anniversary e-cards featuring Mesozoic mammals. I can’t think why.

Any damned fool can say it with flowers, but it’s far more original to attempt to articulate with Fruitafossor. (The molar teeth are surprisingly like those of armadillos, but they’re only very distant relatives.) Mesozoic mammals were far more romantically inclined than non-birdy dinosaurs. As evidence, I offer the fact that we didn’t go extinct.

Given the recent news from Rome, some may think our forthcoming festivities inappropriate. I was reminded of the demise of the Pope, as the local Catholic church is right opposite the shop. I doubt you’ll be surprised to hear about the flag being at half-mast, but I’m referring to one in the garden next door. The church has three large, colourful flags, and they were fluttering full with hope in the breeze. There’s a special poignancy in the air, as the minds of the faithful were strongly reminded of the story of the resurrection at Easter, and that was the weekend before death visited the Vatican. The resurrection is a story of suffering and hope. It has no happy ending because both suffering and hope continue.

Those with a taste for cynical humour might wish to take advantage of an apparent irony. Shortly after celebrating a resurrection, the Pope died. Can we expect a second resurrection, they might ask. I suppose that’s humour of a sort. The local priest is a man who likes to smile, and this is despite having seen and experienced much suffering. It forms a large part of his job. If things go fine, you turn to each other. If not, ring a doctor. Should all else fail, you ain’t going call Ghostbusters, not in Bavaria. I suppose he’d find that sort of humour as distasteful as I would, but his answer could be yes, expect a second resurrection. This has been promised by his Boss.

Although many Catholics mourn the passing of the man who was Pope; offer prayers on his behalf; these prayers aren’t for his return to the Earth. What need has the local church of flags at half-mast? Ring them bells and let the colourful flags signal hope in the breeze.

I like irony that spreads warmth, rather than the sort which seeks to ridicule. If jokes are mean, they’re worse than average.

The flag in the garden next to the church is at half-mast. I have a preferred explanation for this, even if it’s not the correct one. This flag is red and black, and emblazoned with the white legend of 1.FCN. That’s our local football club. They’ve been losing with regularity since the season resumed after the winter break, and have sunk to one place above the relegation zone. Saturday saw der Club go down 4-1 away to FC Schalke. Catholics are promised resurrection, but no such pledge is given to football teams. Nevertheless, with seven matches left and a five point advantage, this sign of resignation is premature. Hoist the flag in hope. It’s Rostock at home next week. All football folk will understand this, and the recently departed used to play in goal.

Pardon? I might let you know how we celebrated our anniversary, seeing as I’ll know by the time I submit this article. However, I’ll probably not inform the rest of the world. It’s none of their business. This is the second time I’ve had to remind you about nosiness. Besides, you’ll derive far more satisfaction, should you find the answer for yourself. And you don’t have to await your anniversary in order to celebrate the joys of living.

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