It was always my favorite holiday, even now, at least aesthetically. Though I don’t attend mass anymore there are many things I still miss…like getting dressed up Easter Sunday in navy and white, kitten heels mewing up those church steps…lilies, candles, priests drenched in gold and white while trumpets blare from the balcony. It truly is a happy, majestic Sunday which is why those pews are packed.
My mother was big on Easter clothes and the whimsical side of the day. Baskets filled with chocolate eggs and jellybeans, a stuffed bunny in its center. One year I actually got a stuffed Popeye doll because I gather she shopped late and all the bunnies were sold out.
Then of course you had the ham of God who took away the sins of the world, another Lamottism unabashedly borrowed.
Pineapple rings, twenty different types of mustard served in tiny china bowls with matching spoons. Boiled potatoes the size of baseballs. Prosciutto to start. Yeah I know, that’s a lotta ham…one could say we liked eating our own, so to speak.
Dessert was cantaloupe with lavish scoops of vanilla ice-cream, melted chocolate drizzled over the side… cookies as far as the eye could see.
Did I mention the heaping platter of rigatoni in-between?
Besides Christmas, it was the one day a year we belched as a family.
I don’t miss being told God would strike me dead if I didn’t behave. In other words, clean my plate clearing everyone else’s at the end like a flight attendant. I grew up truly scared of God where now, still a believer, look up to a kinder one who supports my shortcomings instead of shortchanging me simply because I have them.
We’re supposed to have them. We’re just Bozos on the same bus after all, bumping our heads against the collective ceiling.
Parents tend to use religion as a weapon, at least in my house. God was very convenient to punish and browbeat which is the Catholic way.
Nothing is ever enough. For years I tithed ten percent of my income to two different churches. Didn’t matter how much I sent, there would be another envelope in the mail on the heels of every check.
The Catholic church expects you to fork over your money and then some always feeling you should have given more.
I have a problem with this. Giving is a grace regardless of what or who the recipient is. I know when I receive it, I’m on my knees in gratitude.
My mother would make me go into my piggy bank and take coins out to put in the basket on Sundays, an act I greatly resented. It wasn’t as though I were Diamond Jim Brady. It definitely compromised my capitol, even though my grandfather would replace those quarters when no one was looking. He too thought it was a raw deal.
But like him, I now believe in the Church of Grace and Heartfelt Giving, a much nicer one to belong to.
It doesn’t even have to come in dollars and cents. A smile or word of encouragement, I’ve learned, is the greatest currency reaping the highest return.
Many of us, sadly, live in a perpetual Good Friday, so we need to rise up declaring resurrection for ourselves because no one else will do for us.
Till I was forty I was sure I was going to hell.
Now I think it’s more Paris or Palm Beach.
Bet you didn’t know God came with frequent flyer miles 🙂