Here & there: An Easter not like before

The 30th Annual Cedar City Easter Egg Hunt at Main Street Park, 200 N. Main Street, Cedar City, Utah, April 15, 2017 | Photo by Tracie Sullivan, St. George News / Cedar City News

FEATURE — When I was five, Easter was about wearing hot-off-the-sewing machine matching pastel dresses with my sisters, “made with love by mom” tags expertly sewn into each of the collar backs. 

Cedar City’s annual Easter Egg Hunt at Main Street Park, Cedar City, Utah, March 31, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

And also, about not brushing my hair in spite of the family picture I knew was coming right after the Sunday service. 

When I was 10, Easter was about finding the one and only five-dollar egg my dad hid in the backyard that year. 

Or maybe the one from the year before because he could never quite remember where he’d hidden the prize egg among the dozens of others filled with M&Ms and Starbursts. 

When I was 13, Easter was about waking up early with my mom for a sunrise service in the beachside rotunda of Fess Parker’s Red Lion Inn – and then going to our regular church after for good measure, yawning and smelling slightly of seaweed. 

When I was 18, Easter was about eating three helpings of my mom’s cheesy potatoes and more of her gooey orange rolls after nine months of subsisting mostly on dorm food and late-night runs to Taco Bell with my roommate. 

And then sitting on the counter in the corner above the lazy Susan visiting with my mom as she hand washed the good silverware and fancy serving dishes.   

When I was 25, Easter was about learning from my new in-laws – new family dynamics and new cuisine and new rules for Easter egg hunts. 

They didn’t consider the hunt a true success until one of the children cried. And someone always did. (The current record was 15 seconds.)  

When I was thirty-two, Easter was about finding a pediatric dentist who’d do an emergency x-ray of my toddler’s impacted front tooth after he’d taken a header into a rock in Grandma’s garden during one of these infamous Easter egg hunts. 

Top photo shows a town fountain decorated with Easter eggs in Rothenburg ob Der Tauber, Germany, April 2017; bottom photo shows locals in the mountain town of Apaneca, El Salvador creating tapetes de aserrín to celebrate Easter. April 2011; right photo shows a procession during Seville’s Semana Santa, Seville, Spain, date not specified | Photos (Germany, Spain) by Kat Dayton, photo (El Salvador) courtesy of Erynn Montgomery of Tropic of Candycorn; composite by St. George News

And then to pick up an unmixed antibiotic we could take on the plane with us in the morning if the tooth abscessed while we were in El Salvador. 

When I was 40, with both of my in-laws gone and my parents too far away, Easter was about making new traditions with my own little family. 

Sometimes that meant visiting the blue-roofed church attached to our boys’ old preschool and once that meant my middle boy “accidentally” drinking the sacrament wine.  But it always included a guest or two at our small table who didn’t have anywhere else to go.

This Easter, I am 42 and I can’t say for certain what today will be about. 

But I know it won’t be about any of the things it was before. 

Not the matching dresses. Not the Easter egg hunts – for cash or for sport. Not the cheesy potatoes or the gooey orange rolls.  Not the sermon at the blue-roofed church or our regular one down the street. 

We are in the middle of a pandemic. Nothing is quite as it was before.

All over the world, people are sick and dying. Markets and commerce are slowing to a snails’ pace. Jobs are disappearing. 

We can’t go where we want, do what we want or see who we want. 

People are scared and lonely and uncertain.  

Brian Morgan’s yard is a collection of holiday inflatables to bring some joy to his St. George, Utah, neighborhood while people deal with coronavirus self-isolation, March 25, 2020 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

But people are also being beautiful to each other. They are taking care of each other in ways they haven’t for a long time. 

I see it in my own neighborhood. Like strangers going grocery shopping for people who can’t, children surprising elderly neighbors with chalk art on the sidewalk in front of their house and others putting up handmade signs of thanks for the dedicated workers at our local Harmon’s market. 

And I see it in the world. Like the “CAREmongering” Facebook groups – from Canada to India – whose simple purpose it is to connect people in need with people who are willing to help. 

That is cause for some celebration. And that is cause for some hope.

Which then again, is maybe the only thing that Easter really needs to be about after all. 

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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