When I think of Easter, those holidays of long ago are what come to mind. They were special days, and we waited for that Sunday with wild abandon. And why wouldn’t we?
Easter meant a host of things to us back then. First of all, to a frugal farm family who didn’t buy much candy or special presents, not to mention new clothes and shoes, Easter seemed to break all the rules.
A new Easter outfit, complete with new white shoes, frilly socks, an Easter bonnet and white gloves, was the normal attire we’d get for Easter Sunday. If our feet hadn’t grown, we had to use the white shoes from the year before, but we hoped like crazy they would be too small. The dress, adorned with lace and ruffles, was a big deal, even though farm clothes were what we were most used to. We counted the days until we could wear that outfit to church on Sunday morning. Back then, we were sure our Easter ensemble had to cost a million dollars.
And that was just the beginning. ...
We woke up on Easter morning to more candy than we’d seen all year. By today’s standards, it was probably rather meager, but to us, our eyes were wide with the jelly beans, little chocolate eggs, a single, hollow chocolate rabbit, marshmallow eggs and colorful gumballs. We were in sugar heaven, and we’d sort through our sweet loot like bandits who had just robbed a bank.
The hard-boiled eggs — hidden around the house — provided a frantic search. Each of us kids had our own room to search, and without exception, there was always one hard-boiled egg hidden in one of our slippers — the first one we’d discover when we got out of bed. It was usually in our favorite color with our name written on it with one of those white, waxy crayons. Today, the health department would probably tell you those eggs shouldn’t have been at room temperature all night long, but none of us ever died, got sick or even thought about some ailment we might have gotten from eating them. There was always a bowl of eggs on the dining room table too — nestled in Easter grass, we knew the Easter Bunny had left them for the adults in the family.
Aside from eggs, candy and new clothes, there were always a few toys/treats too. Jacks, jump ropes, paddle balls which usually broke before noon, maybe a little stuffed rabbit or chick, kites, streamers for our bicycle handlebars — and of course, a bottle of bubbles.
A couple of years, we woke up to new baby chicks, chirping from inside a cardboard box and all nestled under a heat lamp — we had no idea they would be Sunday dinner in the weeks to come. One year, we each got a baby rabbit, which turned into a 4-H project.
After our egg hunt, candy counting, church and Sunday school, a big Easter dinner was always planned. Ham and scalloped potatoes were always on the menu, along with a Jell-O salad, vegetables, deviled eggs and more. In the afternoon, the adults chatted and napped, and as kids, we spent the rest of the day playing outside with our new toys/treats — eating candy like there was no tomorrow.
As I think back, those Easters from long ago hold many fond memories, all steeped in tradition. As kids, the day seemed abundant, but now as an adult, I tend to look at those Easters from the past in a different light. While I now know how much of a financial strain those Easters probably were for the adults in my family, I have to think how much those same adults probably sacrificed to make the day special for us. Never did I see those adults with new Easter clothes or shoes to wear to church. Never did I see them with their own Easter treats or candy. Sure they ate a hard-boiled egg or two, but they sacrificed much for us — not just at Easter but nearly every day of the year.
Easter is about sacrifices. We know the Easter story, and no greater sacrifice was ever made. As you celebrate your own Easter this year, I urge you to think about the sacrifices made for each one of us — not just from the past but also today. When we do so, it truly puts the Easter story into perspective.
Tonica News Editor Terri Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.