By Joe Rector
My, how times change. I haven’t heard the song “In Your Easter Bonnet” in years. A lifetime ago, children sang it in school and companies included it in their marketing strategies. Other things during Easter are much different as well.
My brothers and I always got a little excited as Easter approached. We knew that Mother would take us downtown to shop. At least a new pair of pants and maybe one of our two pairs of shoes for the year were purchased then.
On Easter morning, we put our clothes on and went outside for family pictures. Daddy wore his suit, something much different from the daily work clothes he wore. Mother wore a dress she’d made for the occasion. We’d been to Cooper and Baldwin’s barbershop in Lonsdale on Saturday to make sure our hair was cut in short flat tops. Daddy always said he didn’t want to see us with long hair or dirty shoes, so by Easter morning, our scalps shone through G.I. type buzzes and our shoes did as well after a fresh coat of polish and a good brushing.
We rode the short distance to church and attended Sunday School. All of our friends were dressed in their new clothes as well. Girls wore crinolines under dresses of yellow, baby blue or white. Their hands were covered in white gloves. Boys sometimes wore sport coats, but most often, they suffered with dress shirts buttoned at the neck so that clip-on ties could be attached. Easter was the one day when all of us looked cute, no matter how uncomfortable we felt or how bad we appeared the rest of the year.
When we returned home, several rounds of Easter egg hunting took place until Sunday dinner was ready. We stayed in the house until a parent or our older brother hid the eggs and then burst through the door to look all over our large yard for them. Without fail, one or two eggs remained hidden until a lawn mower shredded them in the summer and spewed a foul smell everywhere.
Mother refrigerated the colored eggs, and we boys ate a few. Then she’d take several and make egg salad for sandwiches for school lunch. At some point, Easter eggs with battered and shattered shells were thrown upon the scrap pile in the back yard. Baskets and the fake grass were put in the attic to wait until the next holiday.
These days, lots of folks don’t attend Easter church services. Their children have new clothes and shoes throughout the year, so the excitement of having new outfits is gone. Families still take the opportunity to gather for a meal and visiting. Some children hunt eggs on Sunday, although many attend large egg hunting events on the Saturday before and are tired of the activity by the time Easter arrives. Baskets are bought but not saved for the next year.
I miss those old days when Easter brought so much excitement. The smell of vinegar in the kitchen on Saturday night as we colored eggs and dyed-stained fingertips on Sunday morning still remain vivid memories. Hunting eggs with Jim and Dal brings a smile, and the whole family sitting at that round kitchen table to share a meal sometimes makes me long for those old days. The good thing is that because of the resurrection of Christ, I have a chance to reunite someday with all those who have passed. For the time being, I’ll enjoy my wonderful life with Amy and my children and other family members, and I’ll give thanks for it.