Published in the Rains County Leader on March 29, 2016:
Above all else, Easter is the time when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Beyond that, it is a time of tradition. When I was growing up, Easter was, among other things, a time for new clothes, big family dinners, and pictures. This year involved two out of three, but in a rather non-traditional way.
My birthday is in mid-April, so my Easter outfit was always a big part of my birthday present. Once I outgrew the ruffles and lace Mom chose for me, I usually favored something more tailored with matching shoes and purse. As an adult, I continued buying a new spring outfit each year, but as I’ve become less of a city girl, not so much. Being a writer and a home gardener doesn’t require much in the way of wardrobe, and since shopping has never been a passion of mine, my Easter outfits for the last several years have looked a lot like any other Sunday.
This year, however, I did a little mail-order shopping, and I approached the weekend with several new tops and two new pairs of shoes to choose from. I settled on the pink top, a pair of not-quite-new gray slacks, and black sandals. As Sunday came closer, though, I began to second guess my choices. It was a little chilly for sandals, and since the other shoes are denim, I ended up wearing jeans. My mother would probably have been horrified at my break from tradition, but I’m okay with it. As I wrote in one of my earlier columns, I’ve learned that country girls have work jeans, every day jeans, and dress jeans.
The tradition of big dinners is one David and I have kept up with. Except for the six years when we were in Florida, we’ve always lived close enough to family to visit for most major holidays. Since David’s mom passed away a couple of years ago, we don’t go to Louisiana very often, but we’re less than twenty-five miles from my Aunt Fay. Her five children and multiple grands and greats, along with an occasional niece or two, always gather at her house. This year, though, because of a recent loss in the family, the big dinner was cancelled.
I decided to go ahead a cook for the two of us, but even the smallest ham would be lots more than we could eat, so I invited our across-the-street neighbors. Until the last few months, Connie and Charles have visited their country home three or four times a year. Recently, though, they have been pursuing their dream of leaving the city in earnest, and they have been spending several days a week using less than traditional methods to unite the various small buildings on their property into a livable whole. Utilities have been hooked up, but amenities don’t yet include a working kitchen, so I asked them to share our dinner. At first she worried that her son would be with them this weekend, but I assured her that we would have plenty of space and lots of food, so she accepted. It was not our traditional gathering, but it was a fun way of continuing the tradition of sharing a holiday meal with those you care about.
The tradition of Easter photographs is not one that has carried through into David’s and my marriage, but this year, Connie wanted to try to take a few shots. She’s the professional photographer who took the pictures that I use for my writer promos. After reading a few of my columns about Kitty, she thought Kitty needed some photos of her own. She broached the subject again after we finished eating, but Kitty would have none of it.
We haven’t had much company since Kitty has come to live with us. We had a friend come over one night to watch one of the presidential debates, and all evening, she watched him suspiciously from the dining room. On Sunday, since we were in the dining room, she retired all the way to the bedroom. As the visit wound down, the men went outside, and I tried to coax the reluctant feline into the living room. Even when I spread a few of her favorite treats on the carpet, she refused to come and visit. Maybe if I develop a new tradition of inviting the neighbors over more often, by this time next year Kitty will have her own by-line and head shot.