I went to Ash Wednesday Mass this evening. On my way home, I stopped at McD's for my large diet coke, sans ice (definitely not something I could ever give up for Lent) and the following conversation ensued (note that I'm sort of a regular so it's not uncommon for some employees to chat with me while I get my diet coke fix):
McD's chick: How are you?
Me: Well, thanks. You?
McD's chick: Where'd you go? You got a big cross on your forehead.
Me: Yeah, chuch. It's Ash Wednesday. The beginning of Lent.
McD's chick: Oh, yeah. You can't eat meat, right? We were just all talking about that. Someone just came through and ordered like 8 fishes. We were like, 'what the hell?'
Me: Well, yeah. It's a thing about sacrifice.
McD's chick: You go everyday?
Me: No, this was a special day.
McD's chick: Yeah, but you can't eat meat. I don't get that.
Me: It's not everyday, just certain days.
McD's chick: He made the meat to be eaten. Good night!
I found the whole scenario particularly amusing because the priest had encouraged us, even though it was late in the day, to not be eager to wash the ashes off and, if someone should point out that we had a mark on our foreheads, to tell them what it was about. I didn't really foresee my needing to explain anything on my way home, until I saw everyone leaving church with huge dark crosses on their foreheads. They were pretty hard to miss.
When I got home, the ashes caused quite a stir. J took about 20 pictures, never having seen such prominent ashes before (and, in all fairness, this may be the first time I've gone to Ash Wednesday Mass during the entirety of our marriage so it was the first time he'd seen them on me.) #2 kept asking me if I was alright. She peppered me with a chorus of "OK, Mumma?" because she was concerned about the mark made by the ashes and #1, though immensely glad that I was home, was disturbed and couldn't quite look me in the eye.