Hello everybunny, and Happy Easter.
And Happy Passover to all my friends celebrating as well.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a very religious person (this is about as religious as I will ever get); that said, I’ve certainly had the opportunity to celebrate holidays with all my friends of all denominations (that’s not exactly true; in fact, just this morning, I was thinking that this year I must absolutely go to an iftar during Ramadan).
I have had the wonderful opportunity to take part in Passover Seders; I recall one in particular at Judith’s grandmother’s apartment in Brooklyn, where in my 20’s, I learned the traditions that are so important to follow at this time of the year. I learned about the significance of the traditional items served during the meal—from the bitterness of the horseradish to sweetness of the apples and spices to the dry flatness of the matzoh, it’s really interesting to learn about the dishes and their meanings.
And of course, I’ve had my share of Easter celebrations. I know the story of the crucifixion and the resurrection. I know about the last supper and the Stations of the Cross. I know about the traditional Easter dinner…but I’m not sure why the meat choice always seems to be ham or lamb. I know it’s a time for sweet potatoes with those little marshmallows on top and green bean casserole.
And I know all about the Easter Bunny and egg hunts (but why is a rabbit getting us to look for chicken eggs?) and chocolate and little marshmallow Peeps (yay!), but I don’t really know where that all comes from. Anyone who can shed some light on the traditional commercial aspects of this holiday, please let me know.
If you ask my son about it, he’ll tell you I set up some pretty kick-ass egg hunts when he was young (he used to ask for them), but I guarantee you he can’t tell you why we did it either.
I just finished reading a book. Actually I’ve been at it for the last six months. I got it from my friend Dave when I visited him on Salt Spring Island last fall. He loaned it to me—thought I might enjoy it. It’s called Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. Essentially, it tells the story of Jesus (called Joshua, or Josh) in the years the Bible misses–between the ages of about five and 30. It’s irreverent and it’s hilarious at times, and it had me, on occasion, wishing I knew more about the Good Book, so I could follow along with what was happening.
I intentionally decided to finish it on Good Friday, well, because I kinda knew how it was going to end. But I was still surprised at how it wrapped up.
In an afterward, author Christopher Moore explains how he put it together—and talks about the fact that he was concerned about how it might be received by the public—both believers and non-believers alike, particularly since it came out in early 2002 (shortly after 9-11). He said he was surprised at the letters he received—that they were nearly all positive and that people found his story fun, funny, and refreshing. I recommend it for everyone.
As far as Easter is concerned for me, I can only recall a few of them. I have vague recollections of going to church with the grandparents in Florida (I only remember this because I think there is a photo of me somewhere in a lavender dress-definitely not Christmas attire); I recall both Palm and Easter Sundays from my junior high days at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church when I sang in the choir; I remember those elaborate and lengthy hunts I pulled together for Andy; and I know that I spent at least two of the last few Easters in New York—the first was with Andy, when we went to the auto show, the Fifth Avenue Easter Bonnet Parade (although I can’t find any of my own photos of the parade, I do have one or two from the car show, but they’re all in a box somewhere)—they close down Fifth Avenue and there’s a huge promenading of fancy hats—then we went to see the Harlem Gospel Choir at BB King’s House of Blues for brunch.
I was there last year too, after a very emotional and reaffirming week on Long Island with family and friends. My spirits were high on Easter morning as I headed downtown, and everything seemed alive with possibility (pretty good head space, considering the year I was having). Here’s what I wrote that day:
Olfactory: NYC smells: roasting/burning chestnuts (with pretzels resting on top); the subway; street steam; all kinds of perfume; and peed-on/peed-in doorways. A hyacinth.
Auditory: horns and sirens, and a crane (not the bird kind), yelling, laughing, accents from everywhere, but mostly here.
Tactile: my fingers on the back brick wall of the Trinity Church on Easter Sunday….touching the names on the South Tower Memorial…not touching the handrails in the subway, but petting the dog that just got on with the busker.
Visual: a bus ride down Second Ave, Chinatown, Wall Street; new buildings next to old; neon at 9 am, sun. Spying the old 18th street subway station through the darkened tunnel as the 6 train passes by; old homes. The East River at sunrise.
Taste: one of those hot/cold food places: Strong, black coffee, pancakes (I haven’t been able to get them off my mind since earlier in the week). And sausage.
Me: ten feet tall.
Happy Easter everyone, and Happy Passover too—hope you find your happy place.