Some memories pop-up out of the blue. Some are triggered by a sight, a smell or taste. An event or date. I suppose that’s why my memories took me back to many a cold Ash Wednesday morning in Central Florida. As I stepped out into the chill and starlight, I remembered a young Bobby, Catholic grade-school age, hopping on my 3-speed Huffy before the Sun, to arrive at St. Peter’s sacristy early enough to prepare for daily Mass at 7 am. It wasn’t every Altar-Boy’s favorite assignment, but I liked the early Mass. Usually served it with my little brother, and since first period at our school next door began at 7:30, this was a quickie mass. Attendance was limited to the serious daily-goers, the school nuns and other staff. Just the facts, no homily to speak of, and you’re out the door. But just showing up to the early one made you the fave of the priests, so your were likely to escape three hours of algebra to serve a funeral in the middle of a Thursday, (which might include a ride to the cemetery, the priest and funeral director smoking and gossiping in the hearse like, well, normal people), or a wedding, which would include a gratuity, oh boy! Maybe the Stations of the Cross, or the “big shows” like Midnight and Easter Mass. I still remember the smell of that cedar wardrobe that housed our cassocks and the priests’ vestments. The vivid colors representing the various liturgical feast days and celebrations. The luxury of the fabrics. Incense and beeswax candles filling the air with to me, what was and always will be the sweet smell of my religious faith itself, for lack of a more profound description. No place else had the same vibe, at that time of my life, and no other sanctuary has since captured that feeling of being young, accepted and perfectly at home.