As a child growing up I always looked forward to Easter.
We were raised in a religious home. Attended church every Sunday.
The week before Easter my Grandmother took me and usually my sister who was usually staying with us, to town and we got our Easter outfit. New dress and shoes. And back in those days we wore Easter bonnets too.
You see back then we had Sunday church clothes. School clothes and just plain older play or work clothes. And don't let Grandma catch us playing in our Sunday church clothes, we might get more than yelled at. Spanking in those days was common , no one complained that the kids were being abused. We even got spanked or paddled at school by the teachers.
By the time Good Friday arrived we were looking forward to Easter so it didn't matter that we had to go to church service and spend most of the day reflecting on our sins and why Jesus died on the cross for us.
When Saturday morning came, we would run out to the hen house and gather the eggs. Today was the day we got to dye Easter eggs.
There was no fancy egg dye kits. We used food coloring, with a little vinegar in each dish to set the color on the eggs. Used a wax candle to make decorations or write on the egg. Then dip it in the dye and later use heat to remove the wax and lo and behold you had beautiful Easter eggs.
My sister did sort of plain eggs, very little decorations. But the artist in me was already showing and I created elaborate multi colored eggs.. I did help my sister make more decorated ones too. I wasn't a complete meanie.
On Easter Gramps, would hide the eggs in our large front yard and we, plus the neighbor kids would hunt for them.
Grandma would watch and cautions us not to break off her flowers.
They had counted the eggs and in the end if all the eggs had been found the one with the most got a prize. Usually a chocolate store bought Easter rabbit.
If there were some eggs missing we would go back out and hunt for them and who every found them would get a nickel. You have to realize back in those days a nickel was real money, would buy a soda pop. And you could get 2 cents back on the bottle.
But before the Easter eggs hunt the Easter dinner had to be prepared
Gramps would usually kill 2 or 3 of chickens, Won't go into that. It always bothered me. But I had to help Grandma pluck the feathers and get them ready.
Gramps would go to the smoke house or cellar and bring in a ham, usually a day or two ahead. For it had to soak to remove the salt that had cured it.
Later that ham would roast in the oven with a sweet honey glaze and those chickens would be either fried crisp and golden or baked with a herb dressing.
There was bread to make, and always hot cross buns. There was always a pasta dish, usually macaroni and cheese. To this day I can't make my Grandma mac and cheese. I have tried. probably gained 40 lbs tying and testing before I gave up. I make a good one, but it's not Grandma's.
On Sunday morning before church, I would help peel the potatoes. Put them to soak in water for cooking later. Run down to the cellar to get some canned beans or some vegetable. If the new asparagus was in we would have that.
Grandma always made her 6 layer coconut cake. And there was lemon pie.
We always had a big Easter breakfast too, for Easter dinner would be later in the afternoon about 2:00.
I was never much of a breakfast eater during the week, got so tired of oatmeal or cream of wheat. But weeks ends were ham, bacon, sausage, eggs, maybe waffles or pancakes. Fried potatoes and always biscuits or muffins. Fresh churned butter and homemade jams or jellies. When you live on a working farm you have a lot of the food raised or grown right there and you certainly know how to eat.
After breakfast we would get in our new Easter clothes and head off to church.
When we got home it was change clothes, put on some play clothes, and have the Egg hunt.
Grandma usually invited the neighbor family to join us for dinner. They were a big family and didn't have much. I remember they had 5 boys and 1 girl.
As I write this I can picture the yard with all the kids running around trying to find the most eggs. Gramps gave each of the neighbor kids a nickel even if they didn't find the last eggs.
When we came in with our eggs, if they weren't broke Grandma would use some for deviled eggs. That was OK with me, how many hard boiled eggs can you eat anyway? It's not like candy. You don't save them for days. But I remember taking hard boiled eggs to school for the next couple of days.
We did get some store bought candy. Little eggs or marshmallow treats. Of course my Grandmother made fudge and peanut brittle for all the kids.
Later I followed the tradition of the Easter egg hunt with my children and always included the neighbor kids too. Sometimes having 30 kids running around our yard.
The dinners got scaled back. Usually a ham. I did make my Grams coconut layer cake.
But no one in the family cared for lemon pie so don't make that . Sometimes I get hungry for a piece and get one at the pie shop. I usually make Key Lime pie at Easter.
This year my extended family is eating out. There will be about 35 or so. The family has grown so much, there is hardly room for all at anyone's house. My daughter can accommodate a large crowd, but only if she uses the back patio area. And it too cool for that.
I will still fix a Easter ham, and some mac and cheese, key lime pie . My family will be hungry later in the evening . That was one of the benefits of having a large dinner, having left overs for Sunday supper
I want to wish those who celebrate Passover, which starts tonight at dusk a very joyous and happy one.
May the Easter celebration be a joyous and fun time with your friends and family.
Thought for today: "The child within me has a thoughtful side, just as the adult I am knows how to play. I'll strive to maintain them in harmony."
Peace and Love,