by Lawrence E. Nelson Ph.D.
Assembly Room, A. K. Smiley Public
I take my text today from the first few verses of a
fourteenth century Pilgrims' Progress as related with great gusto by Geoffrey Chaucer,
American Revised Version:
When that April with his showers sweet
The drought of March hath pierced to the root
Then longen folks to go on pilgrimages,
And palmers to seek strange strands
And far shrines known in varied lands,
And specially, from every shire's end
Of England, to Canterbury they wend..
The wending of medieval pious, and sometimes not so
pious pilgrims to and from the shrines of Cbristendom has left marks etymological,
entomological, malacologial and occasionally scatalogical upon modern language,
literature and theology.
The easy gait of the pilgrims' ponies on their way to
the shrine gave rise to the term Canterbury gallop, which has now lost four of its
original six syllables and become merely a canter. The shape of the little bells jingling
upon the bridles of the shrine-bound steeds has given name to some blue, pink or white
blossoms, Canterbury Bells.
Pilgrims returning from Jerusalem bearing palm branches
as sacred symbol were called palmers. Presumably the twenty-three families of Palmers now
listed in the Redlands telephone directory are family descendants who have retained the
name. Certainly the small caterpillars which inch busily along as if measuring the miles
of their pilgrimage are still called Palmer worms, as William Umbach's dictionary will
bear witness. Pilgrims to Rome were prone to wide wanderings and amorous delays, giving us
the terms to roam sad Romeo, I sometimes wonder whether the ten Romero families in our
telephone book are their descendants.
The Shell Oil Company still adorns its multitudinous
wayside shrines with the magnified and intensified golden glow of its Pectens Jacobeus
shells, for centuries the symbol of the plodding pilgrims who-- and why does not some one
remind the company of the obvious fact-- never imbibed gasoline, and always returned home
tirelessly Jubilant after visiting the shrine of Saint James of Compostella in Spain.
Last winter Stuart Lindenberger, eon of our deceased
club member, Edwin Lindenberger, made a Triage to Spain and brought me back a Pecten
shell, which he had obtained, after searching the seashore in vain, from the filling
station he patronised there, In other words the restaurant waiter noting his covetous
stare at the shell upon which his salad had been served, gave it to hint
Our world famous malacologiat, Stillman Berry, can of
course tell us instantly how closely or distantly akin it is to the Shell of Saint James,
Fifty-eight years after Gooffrey Chaucer death
effectively stopped his writing about imaginary pilgrims on their way to the tomb of
Thomas a Becket at Canterbury, a group of actual pilgrims journeyed with many discomforts
to the emotion stirring shrines in Jerusalem. They went with considerable trepidation, not
knowing how the then Saracen overlords would treat then.
The unbelievers treated the believers very well indeed.
I quote from page 24 of R. J. Mitchells The Spring Voyage subtitled The
Jerusalem Pilgrimage in 1458.
"The sale to these tourists of mass-produced
reproductions of the Holy Sepulchre and other such souvenirs area one of the more
important sources of revenue. Still more lucrative was the traffic in "the earth from
which God fashioned Adam." (Glen Adams forefather, several times removed).
"The Saracens used to dig this in large quantities,
loading the precious soil into crates and exporting it not only throughout Europe but also
to Egypt, Ethiopia and the Indies."
And then I love the next sentence:
"The supply was virtually inexhaustible., . . This
earth was treasured not only as a relic but also as a safeguard against epilepsy."
Lest we be too supercilious about these pilgrims of the
fifteenth century, I place in evidence a trophy recently brought back triumphantly and
reverently by a college professor and his wife. The sack machine sewn with Number 60
thread, reads, "Holy Land Nazareth", the supply of which is still virtually
inexhaustible though at least one Italian cemetery has been completely covered with it.,
and on the rear of the sack, also printed, is "Needle Work Hand Made Israel".
The hand made needlework shows forth the cross of Jesus, in which Israel does not believe,
and whose missionaries it is currently threatening with expulsion.
Verily, the world changeth but remaineth much the same.
Of course I shall say nothing about the fragments from the recently repaired Church of the
Nativity which repose in my own office desk drawer.
Instead, since I too chance to be a lineal descendant of
Adam, with shreds of original sin still clinging closely to my carcass, and since by a
curious coincidence my own back yard is composed of that same reddish soil from which God
fashioned Adam, I generously bring you a bottle of it, which you are at liberty to auction
off and place the entire proceeds in the club treasury. No warranties are made or implied,
but I have walked over it since 1925, and have never been troubled by epilepsy.
Medieval pilgrims thronged river Jordan for baptism, and
lugged home so many containers of its water that chamberpots came to be called jordans; a
fact of which the twelve families of Jordans here are doubtless aware and properly proud.
We hear a good deal nowadays about a certain
chicken-hearted Kentucky colonel. In i906 another Kentucky colonel, Clifford E. Nadaud, "organised the International River Jordan Water Corporation, capitalized for
$5,000,000; obtained from the Sultan of Turkey exclusive right to ship Jordan water all
over the world for religious purposes only, and ran glaring newspaper ads for both baptism
Over the Flower-Strewn Casket of Your Loved One,
Over the Rose-Covered Grave of Your Sainted Dead
Sprinkle Refreshing Water, Like the Dew of Heaven,
From the Sacred River Jordan. (Robert St. John,
Roll. Jordan. Roll, p. 375)
Unfortunately, green scum upon his tons of imported
Jordan water guillotined his venture.
In 1964 England announced, following centuries of
British royal custom, that queen Elizabeth's fourth child would be baptized with water
from the river Jordan especially flown in under supervision of the British ambassador.
Thereupon the profit-hungry Jordanian government
announced immediate formation of a new department 'to provide mothers everywhere with
Jordan water for baptizing their newborn children. "Five hundred such bottles were
flown to London as souvenirs for those attending the royal christening." (L. E.
Nelson Rivers Show Biblical Influence. pp. 15f.)
History fails to record the use to which the emptied
bottles were put.
Three years after the royal splurge in England, five
hundred more bottles of Jordan water were received in Redlands by a member of the
Fortnightly Club. Since he belongs to a sect ecologically wasteful of water, insisting
upon total immersion, the contents seemed somewhat scanty for baptism, so he glued the
water to the pages of books he was writing, to prevent those books becoming dry reading.
(See preceding title on paragraph above).
Twenty-five years after our pious pilgrims joyously
bought Adam's-earth at Jerusalem a death-defying group of about twenty dared the dangerous
farther Journey to Mount Sinai "where the Bush burned with the Presence of the Angel
of God and was not consumed . . . sanctified by the dread converse of the Patriarch Abed
with his Creator" H. F. M. Prescott, Once to Sinai, P. 77) and there were
sheltered in the even then extremely old Monastery of Saint Catherine, whence in the
nineteenth century the German scholar Tischendorff extracted (whether by fair means or
foul there has been bitter dispute) the world famous Slnaitic Manuscript, until the
discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls one of the oldest of Biblical treasures. As preoof of
something or other I quote gently from jack Smiths column in last Thursdays
Los Angeles Times "Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the Ten Commandments." Brother Woodrow will doubtless explain.
In the Treasure Room at the University o Redlands
library, guarded by Fortnightly member Larry Marshburn, is the personal facsimile copy of
the Sinaitic Manuscript formerly belonging to early Fortnightly member Jimmy Kyle, secured
by Kyle. God knows how, I hope cyanide was not involved. Recently joining it there is the
finest and most enduring color facsimile copy of Dead Sea Scrolls that man now can make,
generous gift of our late Fortnightly member Louis Mertins and his wife, Esther. Doubtless
the recently established Mertins Memorial Fund will make possible acquisition of other
I omit detailed discussion of the university and Smiley
libraries solely because from here on I limit myself to entirely unrecognized Shrines in
How can I recognize a shrine? There are several telltale
Crowds throng to shrines.
As crowds grow the shrines grow.
Crowds require food, so foodstuffs must be abundant and
easily accessible. Even the almost inaccessible Monastery of Saint Katherine on Mount
Sinai could never have survived without a food-producing oasis and a protecting wall.
Most shrines prefer not only protecting walls but also
plenty of elbow room. Finally, a shrine must be deeply rooted in religion, even though
that fact is not always adequately recognized,
According to the preceding very casual criteria there
are at least six totally unrecognized shrines in Redlands.
We call them SUPERMARKETS and recognize
readily their secular existence but not their odor of sanctity. We will admit readily that
our Redlands supenmarkcets like plenty of elbow room, alias Parking Space, that most of
these are wall-enclosed, that crowds continually make pilgrimage to them, that food is
abundant and easily accessible. The lifted eyebrows come at the assumption of a religious
heritage permeatingly present.
Since time permits but a few sample suggeations, I limit
myself to Sages, sage being a common ingredient of stuffing for Christmas and
Aa I near the main entrance I note tall flagpoles, and
recall that the historian for our Navy in 1917 asserted that the colors of our flag and of
the flags of most of Europe resulted frown the colors of the hangings surrounding the Old
Testament's Table of the Shewbread. The rapid service mail deposit box I pass has the
five-pointed Christian star rather than the six-pointed star I will find on the Mogen
David beverages inside, and its posted hours of collection differ on Sundays and holidays
(formerly spelled and pronounced holydays) from those of other daye. I wonder how many
cards symbolizing the birth of Jesus, bearing pictures of Saint Nicholas shouting "Twas the night before Christmas," or showing scenes from the Nativity, or the
baldheaded pate of a former president bearing the Biblical ruins of David, and reared in a
Kansas town with the Biblical name of Abilene, passed through that mail box last year.
The flowering plants I pass are an ecclesiastical
calendar. Poinsettias and holly¾ Christmas cometh! Lilies¾ Easter arriveth! My wife
received a Tiffany Camellia. Tiffany? Short for the Epiphany, of which Bill Umbach's
etymological Bible says, "in moat Christian churches, a yearly festival, held January
6, commemorating the revealing of Jesus as the Christ to the Gentiles in the persons of
the Magi at Bethlehem; also called Twelfth Night.
That same towering tome of Bill's reveals that all
camellias are named for G. J. Kamel, a seventeenth and early eighteenth century Moravian
Jesuit missionary , who found the plants in the Far East and brought them to the admiring
attention of the western world,
The ancient Magi found the Christ by following a star;
today's youths find Him by following superstars. As I step on the magic mat and the
super-door to the super-store swings open I recall that I sought in vain in downtown
Rodlands for the recording of "Jesus Christ, Superstar" for which my
granddaughter and her husband yearned for Christmas, but found it quickly at Sage's.
As I: enter, directly in front of me is the Jewelry
section, flaunting clusters of cheap costume beads for sale¾ shades of Tiffany and Bill
Umbach! But again Bills good old Bill, comes to my rescue - I'm thinking of adopting him
as my patron saint, for I read: "Bead . . . noun (Middle English, bede, prayer,
prayer bead; shortening of ibede; Anglo-Saxon gebed, prayer, from bidden, to pray). A
small, usually round piece of glass, wood, metal, etc., pierced for stringing. Plural, a
string of beads for counting off prayers; rosary... necklace . . . foam or head on beer,
I already own several rosaries, and I don't like beer,
so I turn left¾ and there directly in front of the pie counter, occupied by waiters for
lunch, are two benches, one what my furniture salesman brother correctly calls a Deacon's
Bench, the other, a Deaconess Bench. In these days of woman's lib I shall pusillanimously
refrain from telling which is which and hasten by with averted eye, en route to the
pharmacy section to buy a box of gauze, named from its origin in that famous city from
which Biblical Samson carried off the gates one Halloween night.
Oh, well; boys will be boys; trick or treat, and they
obviously gave him gauze. He needed it later for his eyes.
I turn away with my box of guaze, marked with the Red
Cross, cribbed in reverse from the flag of Swiitzerland, which in turn had been cribbed
from the Crusaders Cross because, said the Swiss, their crusade for freedom was as
sacred as the Orusader's struggle for the tomb of Christ:!!
Shrewdly shelved so ma to meet my eyes as I turned was
St. Joseph's Aspirin for Children!: My childhood remedy had been Castor Oil. How much more
easily it would have gone down had I but known that for centuries it had been known as Oleum
Christi, Oil of Christ.
On the other hand, Oliver Cromwell died because he
stubbornly refused to take Quinine not because of its terrible taste, but because it then
was called Jesuits Bark. Mixing theology and medicine is sometimes very bad
business, from both points of view.
Sometimes it is very good business, from both points of
The Reverend Edward Stone of Chipping Norton,
Oxfordshire, England, was a firm believer in the then current Doctrine of Signatures,
which held that near the source of every disease God furnished its cure, With an
identiifying mark to show what disease it would heal. The only known cure malaria was
Cinchona (Jesuit) bark, extremely bitter because it contained the still unrecognized
Malaria was rife in his swampy parish; willow trees were
also plentiful. Perhaps that was the signature. He tasted willow bark; bitter as gall; he
tried it on his parishioners; their fever subsided. So he proudly read a paper before the
Royal Society of London, 'An Account of the Success of the Bark of the Willow in the Cure
of Agues." Actually he was wrong, dead wrong, but more brilliantly successful than he
Cinchona bark (quinine) kills malaria germs; willow bark
does not kill the germs, but eases pain. Inadvertently, because of his religious belief,
he had stumbled upon todays most widely used drug in the world--- aspirin.
Instinctively I shun the perfume counter, lest I be
ensnared by the insidious lure of MY SIN, only to find myself enmeshed in women's wear,
between Levi's and panty hose.
Levis-- Levi Strauss of Gold Rush Days, namesake
of Biblical Levi, son of Jacob, founder of the Tribe of Levi and the Levites, whose task
was to carry the Ark of the Covenant into the Promised Land, and who received no part in
the distribution of that Promised Land because 'their portion was the Lord,' and whose
duties were detailed in the Biblical Book of Leviticus.
Pantyhose-- outwardly a lineal descendant of the
doddering old fool of Italian comedy; actually a jealous potshot at highly su¢cossful
Venice, with its patron saint of Mark the Evangelist, whose heraldic figure, taken from
the visions of Ezekiel, was the Lion. To this day the symbol of Venice is the Lion of St.
Mark. First the satiric character was the Pantileoni, the All Lion; then he was the
pantaloon, then his ridiculous garments reaching to his instep were first pantaloons, then
pants, and their feminine versions became pantalettes, panties, and a feminine man became
a panty-waist, and now the garment has gone back to its original length-- pantyhose,
though not at all what Ezekiel originally envisioned,
Blushing red as a beet I head for the vegetables, to
commune with the cabbages, only to find them even more religious than the pantyhose and
the Levis, for they, along with the radishes and the mustard, and about twelve
hundred other plants, because of arrangement of their fourpetalled flowers, have entered
the heartland of Christianity; they are the Cruciferae, the Botanic Order of the Bearers
of the Cross.
The lettuce has a double duty; not only is it a
Crucifer; it also is one of the five bitter herbs permitted to the Jews for their
Passover. When young, it Is sweet and tender; grown old, it becomes bitter and harsh.
That, rule the rabbis, is the history of our sojourn in
Egypt. When we arrived, the Egyptians treated us sweetly and tenderly; later their
treatment became harsh and bitter. Accordingly they high-tailed it out of Egypt so hastily
that there was no time to put yeast in the bread dough; so today Sage's sells matzos
greaseless, yeastless and saltless, though the label specifies that it is not kosher for
Passover. You may, if you wish buy kosher salt there.
But we must get back to our garden sass section.
No sooner had the Hebrews gotten well dieted and
dessicated by the desert than they began to forget the lettuce of Egypt and long for other
well remembered delicacies, which with watering mouths, as well as their parched tongues
permitted, they enumerated¾ "the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the
onions, and the garlic. It sounds as if they were visualizing Sage's. As tar as I am
concerned, they can have the whole shebang, leeks, cucumbers, garlic, onions, everything
except the melons. The melons of Egypt were watermelons, and I can think of nothing more
delicious in a hot, dry desert, than a big, juicy, ice cold watermelon,
Oranges, which I passed a few tables back, wouldn't be
so bad, either, though they take me straight back to the venom-tongued monk in Robert
Brownings Soldiloquy of the Spanish Cloister.
"What's the Latin name for parsley?" the
cantankerous churchman snarls. I wonder whether he knows that the reason parsley is so
slow in sprouting is that the seed must make seven trips to the devil before it
germinates. He knows all the outer complexities of Christianity and none of its inner
simplicities and sublimities. When he finishes he meal he always lays his knife and fork
crosswise, in praise of Jesus. He drinks his orange Juice in three gulps, to illustrate
Did he also lay his carrots crosswise, in praise of
Jesus? Quien sabe?
It would have been appropriate. I quote again from that
same March 8, 1973, issue of the Times. Since carrots are a root vegetable, very
appropriately the article was authored by Waverley Root, Who notes that the French
historian Decaux says that the carrot was being cultivated in Gaul before the Christian
era, and continues. "There is in any case a French legend which places the carrot in
the very beginning of our age, at a time when Christians were still being persecuted.
".Once upon a time carrots were white," the
story begins. And some of them still are, including all the wild ones. The story goes on
to tell how a band of pagans burst into a kitchen where a Chriotian servant wan scraping
white carrots and demanded that she abjure her religion. When she refused, they stabbed
her, her blood stained the carrots and ever since they have been orange-red in memory of
In the fourteenth century the Menagier de Paris called
carrots a basic necessity which could be stored throughout the winter and by their
attractive color added cheer to the usually drab meals of Lent.
Attractive color, orange-red, red orange¾
Which oranges shall I buy, from which to squeeze my
three theological gulps¾ the Valencias, brought to this country by the missionary padres,
or the Washington navels, sent to this country by the missionary Presbyterian, who found
them beside Brasil's Bahia de Todos Santos, the Bay of All the Saints, which reminds me,
of course, of autumn and Sages piled-high pumpkins, good for pies and Jack-o-lanterns.
Halloweens All Hallows Eve; All Saints Eve, prelude to
All Saints Day, when we should pray to be like those saintly patterns. All Saints day,
followed by All Souls day, when we should pray for all souls in purgatory, at least if we
are of that particular doctrinal persuasion.
By this time we are at the meat freezer, gazing at the
Thanksgiving and Christmas Turkeys, which the adventures of Christopher Columbus, alias
the Christ-bearing Dove has caused us to substitute for Europe's earlier Saint Martln's
goose and Saint Anthonys pig.
Tucked inconspicuously alongside, apparently misplaced,
are several packages of sliced bacon. Gingerly I lift one. Ah, in medium sized letters
''beef, in large letters, "BACON", and in tiny figures "12 ounces". It
is deliberately placed apart from the swine bacon at the other end of the case, so as not
to confuse the Gentile trade. I pass on meditating over the psychology of yearning for the
forbidden, which gives Jewish customers bacon made of beef, and Seven Day Adventists
hamburgers made of nut meats, meditating also over twelve ounce pounds.
By now I am alongside the frozen fish, the halibut, or
Holy Fish, and all the rest. I wonder what effect Friday, and vegetarianism, and religious
holidays, and Lent, and changes of ecclesiastical fiats relating thereto, have upon the
buying commitments, the employment fluctuations, and the ledger balances of supermarkets,
including their restaurants menus.
Religious holidays were sternly forbidden in the heyday
of Puritanism, which rewinds me to turn down the aisle of canned vegetables and put in my
shopping cart three cane of Boston Baked Beans.
Puritan housewives had a holy aversion to housework on
Sundays, so all day Saturday the molasses and salt pork flavored beans gently simmered at
the back of the range or over the fireplace in the Puritan town of Boston, so
inadvertently named for a forgotten Catholic saint, Saint Botolph.
Saint Botolph's town gave us Puritan Boston Baked Beans,
once the mainstay of Sunday dinners. Who gave Mssrs. Underwood the original idea for
Devilled Ham? I haven't the least idea, but from the seductive Satan on the can it must
have been a very hot tip indeed. Devilled chicken also.
I have never been served Devilled Ham as a tempting up
spread on Devil's Food cake¾ I wonder why; there see to be some sort of tribal affinity.
It would of course be most inappropriate for Angelfood Cake unless you consider Satan a
fallen angel, and the cake had been jarred when baking¾ then the conjunction would be
theologically correct, fallen angel and fallen cake, but possibly gastronomically
nourishing, even though some of my impish friends ~ picturesquely refer to it as The Last
Supper. Rather than permit them to do that, let us flit quickly to the cereal section and
let them find us pensively contemplating The First Breakfast.
My own Adam's apple bobs up and down as I
contemplate Quaker Oats, which now comes ready-packaged with apples and cinnamon. Both
oats and Quakers have greatly improved their public image since Roman Pliny first saw oats
and called them . wheat with the measles; and colonial Americans first sawr Qualcars and
shooed them out of their colonies.
Early oatmeal President Henry D. Seymour, searched the
dictionary from kiver to kiver seeking a suitable name for his product (this was before
Bill Umbachs time); then he sought an encyclopedia¾ and found the Quakers.
The purity of their lives . their sterling honesty,
their strength and manliness impressed him . . . and he reached the general conclusion
that Quaker was the name to use. (L. E. Nelson, Trademarks Show Biblical Influence,
p. 34) ,
His oatmeal successor, Henry Parsons Crowell, once
remarked, "For over forty years I have given 65 percent of by income to God." Hornby Oats, H-O oats gave the University of Redlands a sub-shrine, Hornby Hall of
A Competing cereal had a different problem'
Post called his corn flakes ELIJAH'S MANNA. The Package
showed Elijah sitting on a rock in the wilderness, holding out a hand to a raven. The
raven talked in every ad and shocked church members by such antics as leering at a
Gibson-type glamour girl and saying, 'Well, I declare, If there isn't Hannah at breakfast
on Elijahs Manna.
Protests poured in, and then in England the government
refused to register the trade mark, ELIJAH'S MANNA was renamed POST TOASTIES, (D. Barton, "Cereal Story,' Readers Digest, February, 1948.,,
After that it did extremely well indeed.
Pancakes have had a similar Improvement of public image.
In England they had been so handy in using up all the grease in the house before the
beginning of Lent that they roused Puritan ire and evoked such fulminating diatribes as
There is a thing called wheaten flour, which the
sulphury necromantic cooks do mingle with Water, eggs, spice and other tragical magical
enchantments, and then they put it little by little into a frying pan of boiling suet,
where it makes a confused dismal hissing . , . until at last by the skill of the cook, it
is transformed into the form of a flapjack, which . . . is called a pancake, which ominous
incantation people do devour most greedily . . .(G. W. Douglas, American Book of Days, p.
After reading this diatribe, which ends by asserting
that eating pancakes makes people go crazy, I am somewhat comforted by turning to the last
chapter of the Biblical book of Job:
So Jehovah blessed the latter end of Job Snore than his
beginning: and he had fourteen thousand sheet,, and six thousand camels, and a thousand
yoke of oxen, and a thousand she-asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he
called the name of the first, Jemimah.
Jasima would have felt perfectly at home in Liberal,
Kansas. The main street of Liberal is called Pancake Boulevard', There is a statue of a
pancake on the library lawn, and there is a school holiday in honor of¾ you guessed it¾ pancakes!
Each year in preparation for Pancake Day the women of
the town from toddlers of three to tottery grandmothers run through town flipping pancakes
The beginning of the peculiar behavior dates from the
year 1445 in Olney, England, where it was custamary on Shrove Tuesday, the day before the
beginning of Lent and abstinence from fats, to do two things: go to church to be shriven
of your sins, and cook pancakes to use up all the fats in the house.
That year one housewife got flustered when the bells of
the church of Sts. Peter and Paul began chiming for the shriving service and dashed off
for the cleansing of her soul with skillet and sizzling pancakes still In her hand.
In 1950 Liberal, Kansas, challenged Olney, England, to a
reenactment of the event as an annual international event. Since then Olney has won eleven
years, Liberal thirteen, The distance, 415 yards (three winding blocks); the time, 61.2
seconds, this year.., with the Kansas contestant winning the hundred dollar prize, as well
as a kiss from the British Consul of Kansas City, who spoke the traditional words, "The peace of the Lord always be with you," and presented her with an
autographed copy of the Book of Common Prayer, signed by the vicar of the church of Sts.
Peter and Paul.
The Olney loser got precisely the same treatment,
administered by the vicar in person instead of by deputy, excepting that there was no one
Who payeth the price deponent knoweth not; the legal
guardians of Aunt Jemima really should.
I shun warily the spice aisle and the eggshelves because
we would be detained interminably there, and pause but briefly at the coffee counter.
Then I attended a Passover feast, my hosts gave me a
Hebrew-English booklet that I might follow the ceremonial. It was an advertising booklet,
the cover proclaiming "Maxwell House Coffee, Certified Kosher by Rabbi Johns of New
Coffee has ever had an aroma of religion. No sooner was
it found in Moslem lands than it engendered scalding theological debate. Was it
intoxicating, and so forbidden? Or had Allah sent it special delivery by Archangel Michael
to Mohammed himself to cure his embarrassing habit of going to sleep during Mosque
Christians hammered at Pope Clement VIII to ban it. God,
they said, had forbidden Moslems wine because that was sanctified by Christ and used in
communion, and had given the infidels this hellish black drink, which a Christian would
peril his soul by sipping.
Before ruling, Clement perilled his soul. "Why'
this Satan's drink," he said, "is so delicious that it would be a pity to let
the infidels have exclusive use of it. We shall fool Satan by baptizing it, and making it
a truly Christian beverage."
Chase and Sanborn once advertised, "Henry Hard
Beecher never appeared at his best unless fortified with a cup of good coffee."
John Wesley regaled his neophyte Methodist preachers on
Sunday mornings, not with coffee but from a gallon teapot especially made for him by his
friend, master-potter Josiah Wedgewood; of this I have a quart replica for use in the Book
of Life building we are now erecting at California Baptist College.
Coffee and sinkers! I quote:
"Instead of pancakes to use up pre-Lenten fats,
doughnuts were often substituted, especially since they originally were a sort of
soul-cake given to children 'in exchange for their prayers; their roundness
was to symbolize eternity. In like manner,
Pretzels were originally given by priests to good
children who learned all their prayers. The design represents folded arms in the attitude
of prayer. (E. Folting, "Something to Wear On" This Week, Aug 27, 1939.
In other parts of Christendom the shape is regarded as
that of the cords which bound the wrists of Jesus at his trial, and subsequent scourging.
Since I have passed all humane limits for a paper, I
must omit all mention of hot cross buns and other forms of daily breads. As I hurry past
the crackers my eye catches a familiar flattened orb and cross.
The "Uneeda" symbol is an adaptation of a
Venetian printer's mark, borrowed from ecclesiastical ornaments. In the printer's mark the
oval is a circle, to represent the world. The upright line, with the two upper lines,
making a cross, represents mans redemption.
(Clowery Chapman, Trademarks, p. 122)
Headed for the check-out stand, I pass the Mazda light
bulbs, named for that Persian Ahura-azda, God of Light, from whose worship the Magi made
pilgrimage to the until-then unrecognized shrine over which hovered the star,
I pay for my Boston beans with coins on which is
imprinted, "In God we trust.'
As I exit by way of the garden shop I pass the weed
killers and read, "Do not use on St. Augustine grass.. I trust that all hearers or
readers of this paper will likewise treat tenderly the author thereof. He confesses to
only two faults therein¾ the things he has put in and the things he has left out.
Having by pressure of time been hustled all too hastily,
as is the common fate of pilgrims, through the Shrine of the Magi, alias Wisemen, alias
Sage's, and having acquired his holy relic, not St. Botolphs bones, but St.
Botolph's beans, our hero hies himself happily homeward, of course by way of Church
Street. Hereafter he may proudly flaunt on his lapel a Blue Chip stamp, Marys blue.