Hell of a Guy
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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter, Then and Now…


I awoke this fine March morning and get to observe my 70th Easter.  While more than certain I am not the only senior doing it, I could not help but to reflect on Easters past and compare them to Easters present.

Back in the old days, and I don’t mean just a few years ago, Easter was a big deal, a really big deal.  Eastertime has always had tremendous meaning to Christians, and always will.  It’s all about The Resurrection of Jesus and a new beginning.  While no one is certain the actual date or time of year The Crucifixion took place, it is celebrated in the spring of the year just at the time new life appears and renewed life burst forth.  Spring is my favorite time of the year.

When I was a kid Eastertime was a season within itself.  Lent began it, and I was too young to comprehend the meaning of it and since it didn’t being me any candy I can’t say I cared a bunch about it. But then came Palm Sunday, that being the day when palm fronds where passed out after the Sunday church service.  As a kid the significance of the frond was secondary to the fact we kids could wave them at one another like whips as we excited the church.  The significance of Palm Sunday to us kids was that we were one week away from the big day.

The big day was Easter Sunday.  It was a day that required much preparation.  It was the day we all got dressed up in new clothes and often new shoes (a new beginning) and went to church with all the people in their new clothes: the boys looking good in new suits and clip-on ties, and the girls in frilly dresses and the requisite Easter bonnets.  Easter Sunday services at Andrew Chapel Methodist Church on Frankfort Ave in Baltimore were always SRO.  The church was packed to the gills with what my mother referred to as “sunny day Christians,” it was the place to be and to be seen, and the place people wanted to be seen strutting around in all their glorious Eastern splendor like a bunch of peacocks, and then when the service was over the return home for a family gathering and a big Easter Sunday meal. 

The big day began with an early rising to see what the Easter Bunny had brought.  I awoke this morning recalling Easter 1955.  It was the year Fess Parker played the role of Davey Crockett for Walt Disney, and it was the year my brother Wayne and I got fake “coonskin” caps, tail and all, in our Easter baskets.  Somehow it is rather difficult for me to picture myself in a coonskin cap 58 years after the fact, but I know it happened and I wish I had a photograph of the moment.  Those wonderful Easter baskets were filled with jelly beans, boiled eggs we had dyed with weird colors the day before, a chocolate bunny or two, and with some chocolate-covered Easter eggs Mother had made filled with a coconut candy concoction that tasted a lot like a Peter Paul candy bar, all neatly and meticulously wrapped in waxed paper.  This was Easter at its finest and the one Sunday of the year we as kids didn’t mind going to church.  It was also the day we so looked forward to church being over so we could get home and delve in that candy.

These days it is a tad different for me.  Over the past 40 years Easter pretty much has been just another day for me, I have made it to Easter Sunday church services maybe five, ten times.  Easter hasn’t lost its flavor, I still enjoy it, but I just have a different spirituality, probably as many of you may.  This Easter finds me here typing this while my bride sleeps in.  No new clothes, no Easter baskets, no family gathering, and no plans to leave the house.  In a way I like it, in another way I miss the old days, Easters with kids and with family, the new clothes and Easter bonnets, Easter parades and all the stuff that used to make up my second favorite holiday of the year.

In any event, Happy Easter to all, may this day bring to you a renewal of spirit, a new beginning, a new path.

And that is all I have to say about that…