COUNTRY RAMBLIN’Sby Tamara Hillman
April is here, and I’m aghast at how fast the months are flyin’ by.
For you folks still wading in snow everyday, as my favorite impeached president would say, “I feel your pain.” Yes, I understand. Many a spring when an April Easter came to the Methow Valley where I grew up, we were still leapin’ snow banks to hunt those merrily colored eggs.
Mom would let us dye two-dozen hard-boiled eggs, and my cousins would bring another couple dozen to our house on Easter Sunday after church. Such fun we had scurrying about on brown grass (not yet come to life) hunting those glorious ovals.
When the eggs were all accounted for, Mom would gather them from our baskets and devil them as a side dish at dinnertime. Mmmmmmmm! They were good!
Now, I must tell you some funny tales of Easter I recall:
When we kids had found all the eggs, then, we’d hide them for the adults, (including grandparents) and it was even more crazy watching them race each other with Easter baskets swinging as they rushed to an egg two or more may have spotted at the same time. How I wish we had taken home-movies of that spectacle, but it’s still clear in my mind’s eye, and I laugh about it with family members who were there as we often reminisce this time of year.
I always wore my older (by fifteen months) cousin’s hand-me-down dress from the Easter before, never having a new dress and shoes because my folks just couldn’t afford it. I don’t remember ever feeling begrudged about it though because I understood my cousin’s family lived in town, and her Mom worked outside the home so they had more money than us out on the farm. The funny part was; she was a much bigger girl than I so her dresses wrapped around my skinny frame about three times, and were way too long besides. It was a scream to see me in her clothes, but I wore ‘em, you can bet, and was glad to have ‘em too. Shoes were polished but not bought new because again, no money for frivolities. We wore our school shoes all year, and learned to take care of them or go bare foot like in the summer.
My Dad was not a church-goer in those days, but Mom scrubbed us kids up and forced us to go every Sunday, (not just Easter & Christmas) even when we were bored to death by the preacher. We were in a log church so to entertain ourselves, we’d sit in the back and chip off chinks of cement plaster between the logs. It’s a wonder the church didn’t fall down, but someone must have done repairs when they saw (for some mysterious reason) the cement disintegrating. I’m glad now my Mom drug us along in spite of our loud protests at time.
I remember one family who had many, many children they always lined up like chicks in a row on one long pew in our church. The mother sat at one end, (near the aisle) the father at the other to keep them entrapped should one try to escape.
One cold Easter morning, our family, including my aunt, sat right behind them, and the cutest little boy about two years old, stood up, spun around to face us, and decided to play peek-a-boo with his stocking cap. Neither parent had long enough arms to get at the little imp and somehow, I think he knew it. Everyone on our pew got the giggles, and we could see the minister staring us down from the pulpit. Never mind, we could not stop laughin’ if our life depended on it…
Another thing (not funny, but a wonderful memory) I remember so clearly is Mom’s cottage cheese and fruit salad. We all loved it, and Easter time was when she always served it.
It consisted of first laying a lettuce leaf on each individual salad plate, putting a couple of scoops of cottage cheese on the lettuce, topping the cottage cheese with a pear half, (dyed green with food coloring when Mom canned them) then adding a dollop of mayo salad dressing, (it was called Tang Mayonnaise in those days) and last but not least, sprinkling grated cheddar cheese over the whole thing. Yum! I still get hungry for that salad. Maybe I’ll make it this Easter!
Yes, early this month we will celebrate Easter. Need I remind my readers it’s not about that “wascally wabbit,” (as Elmer Fudd called him) distributing eggs in the grass for children? Nope! I relish celebrating Easter as much as Christmas because to me it means the continuing story of Christ’s ‘salvation message’ to us all.
The prophets told of the SINLESS ONE, the Son of God born of a virgin who would sacrifice His life for OUR sins, descend into the fires of Hell for three days, rise again from the dead, then, after forty days, ascended into Heaven to be with the Father for all eternity. That is Easter in a nutshell……….Christ ascending into Heaven three days after His crucifixion! And He reigns there today as the ONLY interceptor of our prayers to the Father.
It’s so simple to believe, and yet there are doubters. Faith is not easy to explain—But I must say, if the Holy Spirit lives within your soul, He makes it easy to understand.
Have a wonderful Easter, and please don’t leave Christ out of your celebrations! And tell the children what we REALLY CELEBRATE each spring at Easter time.
An Easter poem I wrote that fits my memories…
Were Easter eggs, and bunnies too,
a bad thing to be taught,
as long as we were sent to church
to learn of what God sought?
His Son died on a cross so cruel
to save us from our sin,
and rose to join the Father—
A victory to win.
We learned this from our parents—
we learned this from our preachers,
and back when we could pray in school—
we learned it from our teachers.
But, I must admit to something—
for I was not ashamed
to welcome that old bunny,
and colored eggs we’d claim.
The family would come over
after church let out—
We kids would gather in the yard
with baskets strewn about.
Then Dad would shout, “The hunt is on!”
and away we all would run,
gathering every egg we found
until the count was done.
Mom would take the eggs then,
and make them deviled—yum!
She gave us chocolate bunnies,
marshmallow chicks, and gum.
The day was filled with joy and fun,
but when the meal was served—
blessings and thanks were rendered—
Christ’s sacrifice undeserved.
This Easter keep your family close,
and let Christ be a part
for He is your Lord and Savior—
He lives within your heart.
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