If you were an Episcopalian in 1962, you read O Ye Jigs & Juleps, loaned your copy to a fellow Episcopalian, and never saw it again. This week I bought a slightly moldy copy at a used bookstore to celebrate Easter.
Jigs was a collection of essays written by ten-year-old Virginia Cary Hudson in 1904. Her children found them in the attic after she died, published them, and made a lot of money.
Virginia was fond of her Bishop, and she made him Corinthian juleps. The Bishop was fond of Virginia and her juleps. When he was trying to pull weeds out of the beans and roses at the unorthodox garden party she threw, Virginia made him a julep in hopes that he would dance a jig. The julep so invigorated him that while he didn’t dance a jig, he did play Skip-to-My-Lou.
I am going outside now to sit on my deck and sip a Corinthian julep. I might toast Virginia and her bishop. But I am old, so I will not dance a jig.
Virginia not only told us about her garden party, she also explained how to become an Episcopalian. She wrote, “When you are little and ugly, somebody carries you in church on a pillow, and you come out a child of God and inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven. They pour water on your head and that’s a sacrament. When you are twelve you walk back in yourself with your best dress and shoes on, and your new prayer book your mother buys you, and you walk up to the Bishop, and he stands up, and you kneel down, and he mashes on your head, and you are an Episcopal.”
In this Easter season, I am especially grateful to be an Episcopal. I thank God for all the Virginias who had water poured on their heads Sunday, and for those whose bishops mashed on their heads and made them Episcopals. I thank God for bishops who drink Corinthian juleps and play Skip-to-My-Lou. But most of all, I thank God that The Lord has risen once again.
So I think I will raise my Corinthian julep and borrow Virginia’s garden party benediction to offer a toast to the Risen Lord: “O ye Sun and Moon, oh ye beans and roses, oh ye jigs and juleps, Bless ye the Lord, Praise and Magnify Him Forever. Amen.”