Bananas, Presbyterians, and Ecumenical Reconciliation

Posted on Posted in Ruminations, Updates

I’m writing this evening’s post from under a tarp in the lakeside town of Gunzenhausen. We finally worked up the courage to camp out, regardless of the weather, since for nearly the first time there was a campground on our route—and, glory be, the weather has been clear and fine all day and promises to stay so at night as well. Not very warm, but we have plenty to bundle up in and a lightweight camping quilt, so we will be toasty here among the camper vans.

After sleeping in and then stumbling about for awhile on our tender feet this morning, we got ready to leave the absolutely empty Haus Lutherrose when at the last moment I discovered they had wifi access. So we scratched Plan A and devoted instead some hours to getting photos up and creating the Resources tab at the top of the page and various other such tasks that Luther didn’t have to worry about. By the time it was all over, it was 2 p.m., and we had a good 26 km to cover before dark, which is happening here around 8:30 p.m. at present. I guess we’ll have to see the diaconal and mission side of Neuendettelsau next time too, maybe when we get back to Nuremberg to take in the sights there. The one memorable thing I saw was a deaconess in full habit riding a moped.

It was not a particularly remarkable walk one way or another, but due to an unhappy stomach and flagging energy I did a remarkable thing: I ate a whole banana for the first time in 24 years. Oddly enough, this long abstinence from bananas is a result of my first ever ecumenical experience (well, excepting my Catholic kindergarten, where I got scolded by one of the other children for making Mary’s robe red instead of blue).

I was 10 and invited to a lock-in at a friend’s Presbyterian church. The price of admission for the lock-in was 50 cents and 2 bananas. The vicar (as they called him) was a plump and jolly young man, and all of the silly games somehow involved food. One was an eating race, in teams: you ran up to a paper bag, grabbed the first thing you felt, and had to eat it all before running back. I was already then a sneaky sort of person so I made sure I grabbed the peanut M-n-Ms and not the tabasco sandwich or jar of baby food spinach.

The other game I remember was the banana one. With four to a team, each person had to roll a banana with his or her nose from one end of the carpeted church basement to the other and back again. And everyone had to use the same banana. I was #3 in the lineup and believe you me after two other kids have rolled a banana about with their noses it is soft and squishy and oozing at the seams, and all that even more so on the third trip. Banana goo got all over my face and up my nose. From that day till this one I have never managed to consume an entire banana. About two years ago I tried and got about halfway through before the gorge started to rise.

However, pilgrimage changes many things about a person, and one of them is appetite, and I have to say that banana tasted about the most delicious food imaginable. The Presbyterians have been reconciled to me and I to bananas. Thanks be to God.

2 thoughts on “Bananas, Presbyterians, and Ecumenical Reconciliation

  1. I am glad you are safely ensconced. Yeah for bananas and Presbyterians. I remember my share of food games but thankfully avoided the one you mentioned. Thank you for all the great photographs!

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