Friday, 29 March 2013
Friday thoughts . . .
Easter has come as a bit of a surprise to me this year . . . I think it is a bit earlier than it normally is, and in all honesty it is not a bit like Easter should be weather-wise, which is probably the main reason it seems to be somewhat of a surprise. White Christmas's are special . . . White Easter's not so much. We don't have a lot of snow still hanging around here in Blacon . . . there is just a tiny bit down the end of the back garden, but we didn't really have an awful lot to begin with, not much more than a few inches, not the several feet like they got everywhere else. I think its because we are in somewhat of a basin here and protected in a way.
Easter was such a special time when I was a child. It marked the time in the calendar year when we would be allowed to take off our winter leotard stockings and break out the knee socks. I can remember my legs feeling cold, but not minding . . . because I hated wearing leotards. Mine were always nubby and itchy. Knee socks were so much better.
This is a picture of me on Easter Sunday when I was four and a half years old. It was taken in the drive next to my Grandparent's house in Lawrencetown Nova Scotia. My little coat is navy blue with white trim and the dress I am wearing underneath is white with navy polka dots on it. I remember that dress very well. Navy socks and new white sandals, and a little white straw hat complete the ensemble. I am holding the little white leather bible my father gave me for Easter that year. I had that little white bible the whole of my life, but it mysteriously disappeared in my divorce, which still breaks my heart . . . but never mind, you can't change what you can't change.
Easter always meant church when I was growing up. I can't say that my parents were ever really regular church goers. They went through periods of time when they would go regularly, but they always pretty much went at Easter and Christmas. Sometimes it would just be my father . . . but he would always take me with him. I have many happy memories of being with my father at church at those special times.
We didn't get spoiled at Easter like some of the other children did . . . we got some jelly beans, a chocolate bunny, a few small chocolate eggs, some marshmallow filled coloured candy eggs, and real eggs which my mother would have painstakingly coloured with crayons after we had gone to bed the night before. My favourite ones would always be the ones which she had used all the crayon colours on . . . wax scribbles in beautifully colourful streaked lines all up and down the egg's surface all the way around. If we were lucky we might get a bag of marbles or a tub of bubbles . . . but I remember being most excited about the eggs my mother had coloured.
She would use her darning needle and pierce little holes into them at the top and the bottom. They were never hard boiled, always raw . . . and then we would take turns blowing the insides out into a bowl. Oh how my cheeks used to ache at the effort. There would be a good dozen eggs to blow, four for each of us three children. Once they were all blown my mother would scramble them for our breakfast and the empty egg shells would be strung onto lengths of yarn, three of them, in a sort of Easter Egg necklace and we would wear them throughout the day, vying to keep them from breaking. Whoever ended up at the end of the day with the most unbroken egg shells was the winner. There was no prize . . . just pride at being the winner with the most egg shells intact. I wonder do my younger sister and brother have the same memories? I don't know . . . I shall have to ask them.
Easter dinner was always a baked ham when I was growing up. I think, next to New Years Day, it was the only other time of the year we would have baked ham. It always tasted so good . . . salty and smoky . . . with mustard at the table for those who wanted it. My mom would make mashed potatoes to go with it, and we'd have carrots and homemade rolls. I can't remember there ever being any special desserts for Easter . . . I just remember the ham, carrots and mashed potatoes. Some years my Aunt Thelma would make us special Easter breads, that would be full of dried fruit and glazed with icing and decorated with cherries. She was such a dear to do that for us. She didn't have much herself, and I can see now in my adulthood what a gift they truly were.
Hot Cross buns . . . one a penny, two a penny . . . hot cross buns. We always had hot cross buns at Easter. We ONLY had them at Easter. Sweet and soft, fruity and spiced. The hot cross buns of my childhood had crossed made with white icing on them. Here in the UK, they are made of a flour paste, and you can get all kinds of flavours and they are in the shops pretty much all the year through . . . but I like to save them for Easter because that makes them more special, and I only buy the richly fruited ones . . . not the apple or cranberry or other weird flavours. Hot cross buns to my way of thinking must be filled with currants and raisins and candied peel and nothing else. We like to cut them in half, toast them under the grill, and then slather them with cold butter. Nothing else tastes as good as those special hot cross buns saved for just this time of the year . . .
We knew what the cross's meant when we were children . . . this wasn't just an Easter bun . . . this was a symbol to us of what the Saviour had done. They had meaning and we ate them, our hearts being filled with a sense of gratitude . . . I wonder do many children think of the Savior when they eat them today? I like to think that some do . . . there was a lot of excitement when I was a child because of the Easter Bunny coming and leaving us treats . . . but that was always overshadowed by the excitement of the knowledge of the resurrected Christ. The miracle of the resurrection was the most important part of Easter and we were very, VERY cognizant of that . . .
I love that I had a childhood which was filled with symbolism . . . and traditions . . . and a love for my Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ. Because I had parents who loved and cared for me, and my sister and brother, in a special and meaningful way . . . I was able to understand and know the love of my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and the meaning of this special sacrifice, this special gift . . . I will ever be grateful for it all.
A thought to carry with you through today . . .
"What makes the lamb love Mary so?" the eager children cried. "Why Mary loves the lamb, you know." the teacher then replied.
Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Meatball Sub Pizza. Delicious!