I've not had a true Easter in several years. Because Easter isn't a federal holiday, I've been behind the computer screen, preparing the Monday edition of the Lake Sun the past few Easters. Before that, I missed Easter with the family for a variety of reason. I was busy, I had to stay at school, I was traveling and the like.
I’ve not had a true Easter in several years. Because Easter isn’t a federal holiday, I’ve been behind the computer screen, preparing the Monday edition of the Lake Sun the past few Easters. Before that, I missed Easter with the family for a variety of reason. I was busy, I had to stay at school, I was traveling and the like.
It wasn’t always like that.
As a child, Easter was one of the few holidays that gathered the entire family together. And it was one of my favorites, everyone in their Easter finest for church and usually in a cheery, familial spirit.
We would congregate at my grandparent’s two-bedroom home south of St. Louis — a small place to host all my cousins, aunts and uncles and anyone else who showed up.
After church, we would gather around the dining room table, grandpa saying a prayer before digging in. My cousins snatched up the usual ham and headed to the basement, no more room at the dining table for us. There, we would laugh and joke and make bets on the typical family easter egg hunt.
Back then, there weren’t really many small children, so the adults did the hunt. And we did it big. Eggs in the gutters of the detached garage was a normality.
One year, the family searched for what seemed like hours for one missing egg, only to find that it had been buried in the hole of the post for the swingset.
It wasn’t uncommon to climb to the top of the small peach tree in the backyard before it was removed. But the peach tree is gone.
Now, the swingset is gone too. So is the old picnic table. Everything has been removed from the old garage, including the car.
We haven’t held Easter at my grandparents home in years — at least since my grandpa died in 2005. We’ve added several children and in-laws to the clan, necessitating a much larger host for the holiday.
Those who live out of town don’t always make the trip to St. Louis anymore. And my grandmother — who was always bustling about Easter Sunday, preparing food, seeing that everyone’s needs were taken care of — rarely leaves her house anymore. She’ll be 91 this year and with bad knees and eyesight that’s worse than ever, an Easter trip to one of her grandchild’s home is a lofty undertaking.
If you’ve ever read my column before, a common theme has been change and the passage of time and how one handles those things. It’s uncomfortable and sad for many people to relive happy times in his/her life, especially when those happy times are gone.
Reflecting on Easters past reminds me of how I ache for the time when my cousins and I would eat our ham and rye bread and potato salad in the wood-paneled basement of my grandparents house. Or how excited I would get over the competitive egg hunt, my cousins blocking the way down the backyard stairs as they scoped out the yard for their prizes. Or my grandmother’s ability to move nimbly around the house as the caretaker of the family.
But times change, my cousins all have families and homes of their own. Grandma requires more care than she’s able to give others and I haven’t been to an Easter holiday in years.