Ghosts of Easter Past

This year I had literally no Easter. In fact, I worked at my ridiculous job (for which I’m grossly overqualified); which, actually was ok because the gal who usually runs the brunch line (ok, ok, I’ll fess up, I’m in the food industry) has a 2 year old who is actually excited about the whole Easter thing whereas my 17 year old son really couldn’t give a shit. (To digress for just a minute: although brunch is one of my least favorite meals in which to partake–probably because I’m usually heavily hungover–I totally dig cooking brunch. Turning out beautiful omelettes and waffles and coordianting it with the home fries and toast and fruit–I must admit it gives me a huge feeling of satifaction and accomplishment.)

So, after work I came home to my husband who was still suffering from food posioning (we think  from a dumpling/empanada place in Dallas which shall remain nameless since we’re not sure and don’t want to get sued) and my absent son who was playing Frisbee or something and for Easter dinner we had… frozen pizza.  So, so sad.  We did however, manage to finish watching “The Ten Commandments” which we had started the night before.  The costumes, by the way, in that movie are FANTASTIC!!    I’m a little skeptical that they actually had the dies to achieve those wonderful lime greens and neon blues.  I’m really torn between who had the best and most costume changes:  Anne Baxter or  Yul Brynner (who was Russian, by the way).  His were more flashy:  leapord skins and cute little cheerleader skirts and tall shiny purple bowling pin-type hats whereas hers were much more1950’s classy.  And in one of them, I swear you can see her entire right breast peeking out through the material.   Charleton Heston though  gets to be such a drag as the movie goes on.   God, this and God that.  Blah, Blah, Blah.  The crazier and grayer and bigger his hair gets the more boring he gets.  And Edward G. Robinson:  Whoo!!  What a bad Jew he was!  And what was that whole thing with the Golden Calf?   I’d like to know the real story behind that litle part of Hebrew history.  The oddest thing about ABC showing  that movie every year at Easter is that it has nothing whatsover to do with Easter!    Jesus wasn’t even a glint in his father’s eye.  It’s all about Passover, and, then,well, you know, all that God stuff.

Anyhoo, experiencing my to total lack of Easter got me a-thinking of all my previous Easters. 

When we were really, really young my parents did the entire Easter thing with Easter bonnets and cute little dresses for us three girls.  We have home movies of us searching for eggs and finding our baskets and looking unbearably cute.  A couple of years my parents gave us baby chicks and ducks.  There’s a particular home movie with my older sister, Jordon, stopping my 1 year old self from bashing the chicks as they scatter from the basket.  Later on there’s another shot of us girls screeching in joy and terror and jumping on the hammock as the now, grown up and evil ducks try to bite us through the canvas.  Cut to:  Close -up of my mom’s  foot kicking over a box from which the 2 evil ducks waddle out and swim away in the local lake:  banished from our backyard forevermore.  ( I can’t really remember what happened to the chickens.)

My Mom, though, I’ve got to say, was the worst Easter bunny ever!  She would hide the Easter stuff in the hall closet.  Not behind anything or way up up high but just pretty much there if you just bothered to slide the door open.  I remember one year we three girls were up and ready to hunt and my parents (who may have been a bit hungover) yelled from being their bedroom door:  “The Easter Bunny is not up yet  Go back to bed!”

Aside from a few gliches though it was always magical for us.  We totally got into the decorating of eggs.  Many years my father insisted on doing it the old-fashioned way with onion skins and thread and leaves and vinegar.  It never really worked but it definitely brought back memories for him of his own Easters with his family.  In addition to  the commerical PAAS dyed hard-boiled eggs we would often decorate blown eggs.  I remember one Easter being completely flabberghasted and impressed by the designs that my cousin David’s boyfriend, Tom, fashioned.  I believe that was a huge influence on my future fascination and joy with blown eggs and our egg trees.  (More later.)

As we moved into our adolesence we kind of left the egg thing behind and focused more on the vacation.  (By the way, religion was never a factor in our Easter experience.  It was all about pagan ritual and chocolate and the thrill of the search.)  This was always a great time of year in my family because it coincided with Spring Break.  Since both my parents were teachers that meant a week off for all of us.  Most years we would drive down to San Felipe and spend the week camped on the beach with friends.   These were wild times my friends.  Lots of Dos XX’s and rum and cokes and margaritas and  sand dollars and wonderful, wonderful food.  We would canoe out to the shrimp boats and get fresh shrimp and steam mountains and mountains of clams and cook huevos rancheros in the morning after sleeping on the beach.  One year my father was stopping cars coming into the campground and regaling the driverswith stories about the time he and Earl Stanley Gardner rode snowmobiles through the desert.  (He may have had a bit to drink.)  We would come home sunburned, adorned  with cheap silver which would turn our fingers green and turquoise and Mexican dresses…and half-heartedly do the egg thing.  It’s so sad when you lose the magic of a holiday to age.

Luckily we all had children so we got to enjoy it all over again.  At first it was just my oldest sister’s kids, Lindsey and Jeffrey and believe me, we went all out for them.  Then Julie’s sons Lucas and Jacob and my Gino came along and Easter ended up at Julie’s house.  Throughout the years we developed a routine:  I would buy all the Easter crap for the three boys and she would supply all the food.  I would go a little crazy I admit.  I would usually end up spending about $100.00 on malted milk balls, and Reese’s eggs and jelly beans and some crazy form of a basket and weird little rabbit and other cute litle creature crap.  The day before, we would do a perfunctory coloring of eggs with the boys, who never were really into it and were just so messy!   Here’s what it would sound like:

“Don’t just drop it in!

“You know, you can use more than one color”

“Are you sure you want it to look like that?”

“Dammit, you’ve spilled the purle!  Go and play!”

 And then we’d herd them outside and really get down to the business of decorating eggs.  We would have dozens and dozens of blown eggs and spend lovely, happy hours drinking white wine and talking and laughing and  leisurely decorating eggs with all manner of medium:  water colors, tempera, fingernail polish, photographs, decoupauge, little Pokemon figurines…whatever inspired us and we could find around the house.  My cousin Robert and our friend, Garth, both incredible artists turned out some true works of art.  I can still picture the Florentine Villa scene that Robert did.  It is truly magnificent.  I hope it never breaks.   ( Mine were certainly more abstract and lucky if they looked good–and some did.)  We would always do a (usually tasteless) topical egg.  We had a Monica Lewinsky (she had a really big, open mouth), an Elian Gonzalez, the Two Towers, Uma Thurman’s big breasts the year she was breastfeeding at the Oscars, Anna Nicole Smith (again, huge breasts), a Leonardo Di Caprio Bunny (for some odd reason), Eggbama, etc.  Certainly no one was more amused by them than us.  We do enjoy our own work.

They were all hung on an oak branch cut from the back yard and “planted” into a big bucket.  Except for  a decorated Christmas tree it’s a sight that makes me most happy.

And the next day:  Pork products a-plenty.  Not quite sure how it happened but as the tradition at Julie’s house evolved we would eat various forms of pork and its accompianents pretty much all day:  sausages and ham and pork loin and ribs and of course, deviled eggs and asparagus and strawberries and pilfered Easter candy from the boys’ baskets  until we felt as gassy and bloated as a rotten egg.

It was beautiful.


3 Responses to “Ghosts of Easter Past”

  1. Lindsey Says:

    this entry makes me miss you a lot a lot. i can’t wait for may!!
    also, it makes my stomach hurt because those boys are GOING TO COLLEGE.

  2. julie Says:

    I loved it! Let’s go back in time and do it all over again. By the way, we killed one of the chickens. Dad chopped off the head and we watched it run around for awhile. Then we cooked it. it was tough and awful. Thank you for the wonderful memories, it was a great blog.

  3. Robert Says:

    You made me cry. Of course everything makes me cry, but this had special memories and this Easter sucked and I don’t mean eggs.

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