This time of the year brings back memories of childhood and the anticipation of Easter celebrations. There were four of us kids and we were allowed to dye eggs but always wished there were more to color after the last one had been done. We often fussed over which color should be used for the last egg and usually ended up dunking the egg in all the colors.
Each of us had his or her own Easter basket which was used year after year. Mom filled our baskets until my sister and I no longer believed in the Easter Bunny, but we enjoyed keeping the tradition alive for our younger brother and sister. As the older sisters, we became the ones who filled the baskets with candy Mom had purchased. We always included a few of the dyed eggs, along with marshmallow Peeps, jelly beans, and chocolate rabbits. Life seemed so much simpler then.
The Saturday night before Easter, we girls would look through our shared closet and decide what to wear on Sunday. We'd choose our dresses and try to make sure our shoes and purses matched. When we were very young, we wore frilly bonnets, white lacy anklets, and little white gloves. Since there were three girls in my family, we often handed down our previous year's Easter outfits, but I don't recall anyone ever having a problem with that.
After church, Mom would be busy in the kitchen preparing for company. Instead of taking time to change clothes, she would simply place an apron over her good dress. The aromas coming from our little kitchen on holidays were always wonderful. We hosted many family dinners through the years - with Grandma Lulu, Uncle Wayne and Aunt Martha, Uncle John and Aunt June, Uncle Bob and Aunt Betty, and our cousins. Most of the guests were from my dad's side of the family since they lived in Ohio while most of Mom's relatives were in Kentucky and West Virginia. I can't remember an Easter Day of my childhood when relatives weren't there with us.
Our traditional Easter dinner included ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, green beans, Mom's Perfection Salad - a blend of orange Jello, pineapple bits, and grated carrots - and rolls. For dessert we usually had carrot cake or a white cake Mom made in the shape of a bunny face. She used jelly beans for the bunny's eyes and nose and red licorice strings for his whiskers and mouth. As the finishing touch, she sprinkled him with white coconut. One year I remember her cutting out the big red letter K from a Kellogg's Special K cereal box to use for bunny ears. I'm not sure why that has stuck in my mind for all these years, but maybe it's because I liked the idea that Mom was good at making-do with what she had on hand.
After dinner, we kids would gather in the livingroom and lie on the floor to watch The Wizard of Oz, which remains one of my all-time favorite movies. We would pretend to be frightened when the flying monkeys came onto the screen and when the bad witch melted. We could even recite some of the lines by heart. Time changes things, but we could always count on viewing the Wizard of Oz on Easter Day.
When the movie had ended and our company had gone home, we were ushered to bed, but insisted we needed to sleep with our Easter baskets at our bedsides, lest someone try to sneak some of the candy out of one of them and into her own. We'd fall asleep dreaming about the magical place over the rainbow where bluebirds flew.
However you choose to celebrate Easter, I pray it will be a day filled with family, friends, and many blessings.