Saturday, March 26, 2011

Remembering Easter

Thoughts of Easter always make me happy.  When I was a little girl, the day really began on Saturday, because that is when we always had a major egg-dying extravaganza! That was always so much fun!  Layers and layers of newspaper were placed on the kitchen table and hard-cooked eggs were divided between my brother and me.  We had kitchen cups filled with all of the colors or the rainbow. Dipping each egg into the colored liquid, we stretched out the procedure as long as we could, mixing colors and leaving the eggs in the dye much too long.  We usually ended up with multi-colored hands as well as eggs.  My grandmother taught us how to dye with natural things:  dried onion peels, pecan and walnut shells, and cooked wild strawberries – things she had used as a child to dye her eggs.  After patiently letting the eggs dry, we were allowed to place them in a new basket with glistening green “grass”.   We tried to handle them carefully, but it was a rare day when one of the eggs didn’t get cracked. 
As a child, I always got a new dress and shiny shoes.  I didn’t get very many new dresses unless I outgrew mine, but there was always a new one at Easter.  Mom and my grandmother sometimes made it themselves, but occasionally it was “store-bought”.
Daddy and I always went to Sunday school and church.  He always reminded me that Easter was not about new dresses and Easter eggs. The Easter bunny never came to see me when I was a child.  I didn’t know he was supposed to.  But there was always a new Easter basket with a chocolate bunny, some marshmallow chicks, lots of jelly beans and a book.  In fact, I didn’t hear much about the visiting Easter bunny until I had children of my own!  I never knew that the Easter bunny brought gifts!
After church I always had to take off the new dress and put on “play clothes”.   Then we went to Ma’s house.  Easter dinner was always full of good things:  fried chicken, ham, potato salad, all kinds of vegetables, homemade rolls, and always coconut custard pies. I always looked forward to that, because just the minute dinner was eaten, we had the Easter egg hunt.  We always had “real” eggs; when I was a child, there were no plastic ones.  My grandmother loved to hide eggs and took delight in finding spots where they would be hard to find.  She always placed them in tree branches, creeping vines, and flower pots.  She had lots of good places to hide them at her house.  Sometimes she would hide them before we ate lunch; and that always heightened the anticipation, because we weren’t “turned loose” until dinner was over.  She always helped us find them too, delighting and giving hints as to where they just might be.  Once we got up on Easter morning and found the ground covered in snow.  We were so disappointed.  But Ma had a solution.  We just hid eggs all over her house. Weeks later, we found an egg on the top of the kitchen cabinet!
After we moved to the country, we always went to sunrise service at the church.  Most of the time, we had to wear our heavy coats; it was seldom warm on Easter morning.  Those were meaningful times.  No one was dressed in Easter finery, and all came to celebrate the risen Lord- the real meaning of Easter.  We went away with a renewed appreciation for eternal life and for our Lord who gave it to us.  Those thoughts should be uppermost in our minds when Easter is celebrated.    

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