A PAAS Easter egg coloring kit caught my eye as I browsed the holiday aisle at the grocery the other day. If ever there was a surer sign that Peter Cottontail was only days away, I’d be hard pressed to name it. Isn’t it funny how traditions that come in a small cardboard box filled with five dye pellets, a crayon and a few stickers can prompt a trip down memory lane?
I was born in the early/mid 60s, when Easter Sunday reflected a prim and proper, if not stoic, American culture. It’s easy to wax nostalgic when staring into the rear-view mirror, I suppose. Whether my memories are a product of truth, age or a combination of the two, I maintain we did holidays right, back then. That families modeled a certain level of decorum, holding special occasions—and perhaps life in general—in higher regard than what we often witness today.
Nowhere was that more evident than in the clothing, reflective of the formality with which we greeted major holidays. Sunday’s finest took on special meaning on Easter, especially for the women and girls, who chose their attire with the finest of care. Crisp white gloves, a set of pearls, and a snappy hat added a certain amount of style and class. Fresh corsages, unmistakable testaments of a family’s love, adorned the dresses of mothers and grandmothers.
And then there was the bunny. The Easter Bunny. No doubt the creepiest of fictional holiday characters, he delivered baskets of chocolate and jelly beans—and always a Russell Stover hollow chocolate bunny. Why someone thought an overgrown bunny hopping through yards and breaking and entering in the middle of the night was a good idea is beyond me. But I digress. As abnormal as he may have been, he always delivered the goods. And it’s hard to dislike anything that drops off chocolate.
The joy of finding chocolate and jellybean-filled baskets was followed by the requisite and staged pre-church photo, traditionally taken by the dogwood trees in the front yard. Mom and Dad captured the day for posterity with the instamatic camera. My two younger brothers and I endured the photo shoot while bickering over our real-world problems.
“Stop touching me!” “He’s stepping on my new shoes!” “She ate one of my eggs!”
Come to think of it, I’m not sure Mom and Dad were able to capture all three of us smiling in a single photo. And more often than not, I remember shivering as we stood there, proudly displaying our goodies—it was always springtime in Kentucky, after all.
Many of those same Easter observances followed me into adulthood where my own kids dyed eggs, spatted over silliness, and ate their weight in chocolate before church began. Such was Easter morning in America.
As we journey through the world, it’s nice to have such traditions, isn’t it? To be filled with sense of belonging and reminded of the things that truly matter in life. May you enjoy your own trips down memory lane this weekend—and celebrate new beginnings held in Easter’s promise. And if you see Peter Cottontail, be sure to tell him I’m still a fan of those hollow chocolate bunnies.