The subway rumbles underneath the vegetable store on Bloor Street, shaking the tiles and making the Easter lilies tremble. It could well be the rumbling of hell, upset at the crucifixion and death of the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, who has descended into hell for a day and a half. Imagine the uproar, the angst and the unsettling of Lucifer's den.
People skitter about, buying flowers and hams, adding wrinkles to their faces in the rush to get everything back to the hearth. I say "Happy Easter" to the man who sells us some mashed potatoes, but shrugs and keeps on serving. Perhaps he is Muslim. I like to think I would return his greeting, no matter what the occasion, but I won't know until it happens.
My mother came to the city once, for my daughter's wedding. She came up with my two sisters and they had to take a cab from the train station to the Old Mill. My mother had never seen a turban and so was petrified by the cab driver who was probably a recent immigrant from India. She panicked and it took her several hours to calm down, but she never quite got over it until she got back home in rural Ontario.
My mother thought that just about everybody believed what she did because she had such a strong Catholic faith. The urban landscape changed all that, and she never went back to the city again. I guess she sort of felt like the bible salesman in Flannery O'Connor's short story, "Good Country People."
"Lady," he said, "for a Chrustian (sic), the word of God ought to be in every room in the house besides in his heart. I know you're a Chrustian because I can see it in every line of your face."
Like my mother, I check every line of peoples' faces, and often I'm left with a sad, empty feeling. That's when I rhyme of the St. Michael's Prayer and carry on the New Evangelization in my own tiny little way, and in the lines of my face.
And I try to imitate my mother's heart, impossible though that is.