Goodbye, Mr. Chips

It is March 1 - and Ash Wednesday, the traditional start of Lent, the time of reflection and penitence observed by Christians as they begin the 'march' toward Easter.

I have for years continued a practice first ingrained in me by the good sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Assumption BVM School in West Grove.

It is one many observe, the practice of giving something up for Lent. I know the trend now is to be more pro-active, to perhaps do something you would not normally do as opposed to giving something up.

What can I say, I'm a traditionalist.

I will not, however, make my standard promise to "swear" off from cursing. I'm afraid that's a lost cause. Yes, we're talking the totally black milk bottle here, Baltimore Catechism fans.

I tried without success for many years to clean up my somewhat salty language, and usually failed miserably every year.

So this year I will again take up another 'salty' mission.

I will give up one of my favorite foods.

Yes, I am a potato chip fiend.

Every night when I trudge back into the house, I make a beeline for the kitchen drawer that holds my grail, a bag of Lightly Salted Herr's potato chips.

My wife always looks on disapprovingly as I jam my arm into the bag up to the elbow for my salty snack. Most nights I don't even get my coat off. Eventually she is forced to pry the bag out of my hands, with a dismissive, 'You're not a child anymore.' I'm not. She's even resorted to referring to me as 'Mr. Chips.'

Not, I suppose it is not the healthiest thing I could do. And yes, health has been on my mind a lot these days, in part because we just marked the 40th anniversary of losing my father, at the age of 63, a little more than a year older than I am right now.

Dad had more than his share of culinary quirks. He was strictly a meat and potatoes man.

His youngest son is a chip fiend.

And not just any chips.

Please don't offer me Lay's, or Utz, or Pringles. I grew up in Oxford and went to school with Ed Herr. Some loyalties die hard.

But my old classmate will have to forgive me as I swear off the chips again this year.

I guess it could be worse. Every year I contemplate giving up coffee for Lent. And every year I come to my senses and realize no one needs to see the editor of the Daily Times on top of our new building in Springfield holding the cops at bay.

So potato chips it is once again this year.

Good thing I'm not giving up cursing.