It would be remiss of me not to post this scene from Gilmore Girls when they have to find missing Easter eggs that are rotting and smelling up the town, and Kirk reenacts the infamous “Howard Dean scream” to motivate the crowd. Kills me every time.
We had the special privilege of growing up next door to my grandmother. She had a beech tree in her front yard that I used to love to climb, but every Easter she would have someone (as I’m typing this I have no idea who) hang colorful Easter eggs from the tree. I thought it was the greatest thing.
But even better than an egg tree are the Easter dresses that my sisters and I wore. Are you collar blind after viewing this? Because I’m collar blind.
I have a ridiculous memory. I remember so many things from my childhood vividly. This is one of those moments. I’m pretty sure I was five years old, and I’m basing this on the fact that I had bangs. Anyone else measure time using their hair?
Anyway, we were going to the egg hunt at church. My mother told me that she heard a “special guest” would be making an appearance. Well, I grew up in a southern Baptist church. What is Easter about? It’s about the miracle of Jesus’s resurrection after being in a tomb for three days. In my five year old heart, I knew that Jesus was coming to my egg hunt. WHO ELSE WOULD BE A “SPECIAL GUEST”?
I vividly remember my mom pointing across the lawn, and I remember being notably underwhelmed by the giant white rabbit making its way toward me. The special guest was my mother’s hairdresser dressed as the Easter bunny. *Insert Debbie Downer sound effect here.
I’m not sure how this tradition started but the night before Easter my mom would let me decorate an Easter scene on a sheet cake. Now, when I put my mind to something, I don’t do it halfheartedly. I would spend hours at our table turning marshmallows into bunnies and dying coconut green for grass. I would go to church Easter Sunday with green stained hands, but what. a. masterpiece.
In hindsight the bunnies look like they are from an episode of 48 Hours, but God bless my mother for encouraging my creativity. I’m certain that out of the seven people who were at Easter lunch, my mom and I were the only ones who would eat this “edible” Jackson Pollock.
The town we grew up in, Crawfordville, is basically Stars Hollow mixed with Mayberry sprinkled with Pawnee, Indiana. The county, Taliaferro, pronounced “Toliver” (I know. I don’t get it either.) is the least populous county in Georgia, second least populous county east of the Mississippi River thank you very much. There were so many things that happened throughout my childhood that I considered to be “normal”, but since moving away, I have come to realize that they are simply quintessential “small southern town”. Apparently going Christmas caroling through town on a wagon that is being pulled by two mules named Laverne and Shirley isn’t the norm. But I’m glad it was my norm.
One year Crawfordville hosted its first and only “Easter Bonnet Contest and Parade”. You were to make or buy an Easter bonnet and don it in a parade that went around the courthouse. The hats would be judged in two categories-funniest and prettiest and a winner would be crowned. As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m competitive, and I’m a creative spirit. So when those two elements are combined, I’m in. I’m all in. Similar to the amount of time that I spent on my Easter sheet cake, I worked on this hat for an inordinate amount of time. I wanted to win the “funniest” category. I put Easter grass around the brim of the hat, hot glued plastic eggs. I made a sign that hung off the back of the hat that said, “Happy Easter!” Pretty sure I added shelled pecans to the brim too because why the heck not?! I was ready. The day of the parade came. My best friend (still to this day) Whitney also entered the contest. Her hat was hot pink and had glass eggs all over the brim. I can see it clear as day in my mind. Well, we strutted around the courthouse like we were on America’s Next Top Model. And I WON! I’m not saying that I won partially because my grandmother was one of the judges, I won because my hat was magnificent (and also because my grandmother was a judge).
I’m a southern woman raised by a southern woman. If those statements are true of you as well, then you know the treasure that is the movie “Steel Magnolias.” From it we learned “there’s no such thing as natural beauty” and old southern women are supposed to “wear funny hats and ugly clothes and dig in the dirt.” See exhibit A above.
This movie starts at Easter and ends at Easter and is a roller coaster of emotions in between. But I love the picture that it paints. No matter what, life goes on. It might not look the way you pictured it, but it goes on.
One year while we were having an egg hunt for my nephews after Easter lunch, I started playing the theme music from Steel Magnolias. It brought my mom to tears. Paula, you old softie, but it’s one of my favorite Easter memories. Watching those little boys run around the yard looking for colorful plastic eggs with that music playing is something that I’ll never forget. Also, watching Shirley Maclaine cut off the backside of the armadillo cake is something that I’ll never forget either.
Your Easter weekend probably looks different than years past. Perhaps some traditions that you hold dear are not going to happen this year, but that leaves room for something new. At the heart of it all, we serve a mighty risen Savior who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.
So put on your Easter Bonnet and strut across your socially distant living room to Bing Crosby. Make a cake that ends up being more of a mess than a dessert. String some plastic eggs on branches outside because honestly, there are few things better.
Happy Easter to all!