I have been perusing blog central for the mundane and sacred rites of Spring going on across the continent. Oddly enough, the ever droll and subtle Guy Wonders was the most inspirational to me with his quiet yarn about the men of his neighborhood heading for their first iced capuccino of the year. ("The More Things Change", March 29)
Round here we did it with Slurpees.
Dearest friend Seth came down on a break from his final semester in law school. Seth is an unfaithful but revered friend in our house. He started as my friend (let the record show!) Then my husband adopted him and made him his intern. Then our son stole him (maybe Seth isn't the unfaithful one after all...), renamed him Silly Seth, and... well, let's just say that Seth's visits have become long and complicated as he diplomatically attempts to have a grand ole' time with each of us. But I digress...
Slurpees, Seth, and Summer go together for us. It is a tradition for 7 years of my friendship with him, and my son has been part of the deal for at least two years. We don't plan it, but when the temperature gets to a certain point, we find ourselves together and on a mission.
Seth rolled up on his motorcycle this past 70+ degree Friday afternoon looking way too slick to be walking into my house. Good man that he is, he eagerly dumped the stud factor, jumped in our carseat crowded car and headed off to 7 Eleven for the world's best non-alcoholic, caffeine and nutrition-free beverage: the Slurpee.
I really love a Slurpee. When teaching Exodus in my Bible class I always describe manna as Slurpees from heaven. In my younger years, I tested the worthiness of my dates by their affection for Slurpees. I'm not sure I could have survived the final trimesters of my two children without Slurpees. (Summer babies- what was I thinking?!?!) I REALLY love a Slurpee.
I'm reading Eliade's The Sacred and the Profane at the moment which is coloring how I view many of my daily tasks, affections, and affinities, and how we practice our religion. His term "hierophany" immediately came to mind as we all had our first Slurpees of the year. Eliade uses this term to describe the moment of revelation, the transformation of a moment from profane to sacred.
There was a powerful hierophany in the car when the Slurpees arrived. Seth had the Coke version (which he will tell you is the ONLY flavor.) Little Man went for the cherry. Daughter Louie had a mini-banana, and I, of course, had a mixed banana and cherry, because deep down I am still 16. I passed out the Slurpees and Little Man gave the straws which had each been chosen with the imbiber's favorite color in mind.
As I handed Louie hers, I realized that this was her first real Slurpee and, after a brief moment of New Age mama panic at giving my beautiful tender offspring a concoction of pure chemicals, hierophany descended. Louie looked positively beatific with her apple cheeks, chubby fingers, and hot pink straw. Slurpees make a terrific texturized sound as they shimmy up the straw, and the car was reverberating with the Spring Slurpee shimmy. As we rolled off with windows and sunroof open, Lucero playing on the stereo, and each of us enjoying the full mouth experience that is a Slurpee, I thought - this is celebration.
I hollered out, "First Slurpees of the Year!"
"Woo hoo!" "Yay!!!" They hollered back.
And for the benediction, my son showed me his Slurpee dyed scarlet tongue.