Thursday, April 21, 2011


Easter Sunday was a schmear of chocolate rabbits, colored eggs, jelly beans, the resurrection of Christ, speckled malted milk bird-eggs, Cadbury eggs, chocolate eggs--a veritable horn of high-caloric plenty replete with green plastic grass. This overflowing cornucopia would be followed by a sumptuous dinner of baked ham and Mom's raisin sauce, later to be replaced by Dad's plum sauce, and a long train of side-dishes, baked beans and roasted potatoes and candied yams and maybe even an Italian specialty or two. It was a lot of food, and other than that brief resurrection and getting frog-marched to 11:45 mass (this was a "holy day of obligation," perhaps the holiest), the day required an appetite. Before dinner, the kids would have an Easter egg hunt (kids only, along with a few meddling adults intent on teaching the merits of cheating) while the rest of us gradually entered a sugar coma by late morning or early afternoon. Easter required stamina, and if you made it to dinner--and a refill of healthy protein and carbohydrates--you would probably be able to slide right into an evening of two-fisted drinking and competitive pie-eating. Amateurs--generally the current boyfriends of cousins--would be left by the wayside as the serious eaters tore into pies the size of manhole covers. In case the pies were slow to be presented, there were cookies and candies placed within arm's reach--a good thing, since by this time nobody was capable of moving very far. By now, we'd assumed the shape and proportion of Easter Eggs. Belts might be loosened, ballasts shifted, and there might even be a couple unexpected expulsions of wind. By this time tempers would grow testy and Mom might wheel out the good stuff--an aged cognac, say, or some special whiskey not distilled in Hood River--the good stuff, and we would respectfully raise our glasses and enjoy a toast to Jesus and his Merry Men. The jokes would be getting funnier by now, and the jibes would be zinging, and the thin-skinned might bristle, but it would nearly be time for a midnight snack. At midnight, Mom would finally take a break from the kitchen and the rest of the roly-poly celebrants would have one more treat before heading off to bed (or to the roll-out couch/bed in the back room) for a night of deep, deep holiday sleep and perhaps dreams of pagan spring festivities and symbols of rebirth. Ah, Easter!

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