|Easter Sunday long ago|
I suspect Mama also made those dresses. Our hair was curled for the occasion, after having suffered little pincurls held with bobby pins all over our heads during the previous night. I have so many memories of Mama combing my hair out from that ordeal; she wasn't gentle as she wrestled her two little girls from urchins to angels.
But to this day I cannot remember what else we did on Easter Sundays. I do recall that we had a big Easter dinner, a ham studded with cloves and pineapple, baked in the oven, along with potatoes and some vegetable. And colored Easter eggs, of course. I haven't done that in such a long time, but I remember dying them various pastel colors, using wax pencils to make designs on the eggs before immersing them into the dye, and fishing them out with little metal spoons. It's probably much more technical these days, but I suspect that yesterday there were many children and their parents around the world busy with the same task.
I know we didn't go to church, since my parents were not religious and didn't teach us anything about the meaning of Easter. To me, it was the Easter bunny, an Easter egg hunt around our backyard and Easter baskets with that green plastic "grass," jelly beans and chocolate bunnies. I don't think I was introduced to those awful marshmallow peeps until later in life. I know I've always disliked their sickly sweet taste. But they are also associated with Easter in my memories.
Once I grew up and had children of my own, we decorated eggs and my son had an Easter basket for a few years. Since my early adult life was so much more chaotic than my own childhood, I don't think I carried many traditions forward, but coloring Easter eggs remained a constant.
When I was a young girl still in high school, I discovered religion. We were living at that time in Albany, Georgia, and I started attending the local Episcopal church and was taught the true meaning of Easter. It's a little curious to me that today, in 2016, the only place that Easter is even mentioned is inside a church or in discussions about the food. Families gather for Easter dinners, and even I was invited to join a family for their Easter feast today. I declined, however, because it's just not a priority for the two of us. Attending church is also something I will not do, and sometimes I look back on my years of church attendance and wonder why it, too, fell away.
There is only one thing I am required to do today, and that's to write this post. Once I finish it, I'll start the rest of my day and, as I do every Sunday, join my coffee shop friends. We'll talk and enjoy each other's company, and then I'll come back home to watch a little TV, read a book of short stories I checked out at the library, and basically just relax. It's also the day I don't usually do any significant exercise and give myself a break. That's actually hard for me; the days when I exercise enough to get my blood flowing are much more enjoyable than those where I just sit around.
So I might go for a walk, if the rain lets us, that is. I heard it pounding on the roof during the night, hard enough to wake me up. I listened to it for awhile before I drifted back to sleep. I know that it's supposed to be rainy today before we have a few days of sunshine, so most likely I won't get a chance to work in the garden. Now that's a true enjoyable rite of spring, and exercise to boot. I am so busy pulling weeds and working the soil that I forget how much work it is until I find myself shedding clothes. When I think of the garden, it brings a smile to my face.
Easter Sunday. My thoughts drift to the Easter story, of the resurrection, memories of when I would wake on Easter Sunday after having spent four days in retreat from the world during Holy Week at the Benedictine convent. When I lived in Boulder, the abbey was located just outside of town. Since that time, they have moved to another area, but they are still providing retreats in their new abbey. While much of the Roman Catholic church has become more secular, these contemplative nuns still wear habits and are cloistered away from the world. The only time I would see most of the nuns was during the Benedictine daily offices. I can still remember their liturgical singing, a lovely memory.
I know what they are doing right now, those nuns. They spent the entire night in prayer and preparing food for the retreatants. When I left my little retreat room and stepped onto the porch on my way to Easter breakfast, there was a basket filled with still-warm cookies and decorated hard-boiled eggs. And the atmosphere in the entire convent was one of joy and thanksgiving. These nuns were celebrating the return of Christ from the tomb, and that memory fills me still to this day. I left for Boulder before the Easter Mass, because people were coming from miles around and I didn't want to lose the quiet contemplation that I had enjoyed for the past four days. I drove away from the Abbey as everyone else was arriving.
It's not as if I have missed out on any of the joys of Easter, from my early days with my parents and sister to the very different religious days. Today, this Easter Sunday, I will enjoy spending time with SG and my coffee shop friends, perhaps a visit or two with neighbors, and even spend a little time in contemplation on a quiet walk in the beautiful place I call my home these days. In the winter of my life, I am content.
And I am also listening to my partner softly snoring, my tea gone and the day beckoning. I sincerely hope that however you celebrate this Easter Sunday, you will spend at least a few moments thinking about those you love, both present and passed away, and give thanks for them. I know I will. Be well until we meet again next week.