"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Monday, April 18, 2011

Because I have to

I wasn't going to post anything today, except I posted a very particular Sample Sunday blog yesterday and if I leave it, it will just look old and stale. Who wants stale words?

So I'll give you a quick peek into my family's Easter traditions. Yes, we are Christians, although we mostly worship at the Church of the Comfy Pillow. If I believed in reincarnation, I'd think I was Jewish in a former life - I am constantly drawn to their traditions. Either that, or I may have been a cat.

ANYway, I grew up in the very middle of Illinois, where Easter weather is unpredictable. My new spring dress had about a 75% chance of being hidden under my winter coat, and forget the pretty white sandals. I needed boots to slog through the slushy, dirty snow, or skate across the ice. The year I left Illinois, we had an ice storm on Good Friday that paralyzed the city. Power lines down, roads too slippery to navigate, in April!

The result of all this wacky weather was that we held our Easter egg hunts in the house, instead of the yard. We would hardboil the eggs, then color them and leave them in a basket (plastic eggs had not been invented yet). The Easter bunny would hide them around the living room, and leave chocolates and jelly beans in the basket. It was a good arrangement, until the year we let Duchess stay inside that night.

Duchess was my Samoyed, a breed that is equal parts hard to train and hard to keep at home. She loved to roam the neighborhood and thought it was a huge game when I tried to get her to come to me. I'm not certain why my parents let her stay in the house that night. And I really don't know why they didn't think of the consequences.

She found and ate all of the hardboiled eggs. Two dozen. Shells and all. Then she found the candy. She left the jelly beans, but ate a pound of chocolate. It's not necessarily true that a dog WILL die from eating chocolate. She didn't. She might have wanted to - she was pretty sick. But after a day in the yard, eating any grass that poked up through the frozen tundra, she was back to her old ways of escaping from the fence and visiting the neighbors.

The tradition has kind of morphed for my own family. We leave empty baskets on Saturday night, along with a bag of plastic eggs. The Easter bunny (who doubles as Santa, the Tooth Fairy, etc, wink-wink), fills the baskets with chocolates and jelly beans and usually a small gift, then fills the plastic eggs and hides them around the living room/dining room/foyer area. The eggs used to contain small candies. Now they have quarters.

Here's the fun part: on Easter morning, it's my son AND my husband who hunt for the eggs. It's a contest to see who can amass the most wealth. My job is to keep count of how many eggs they've found. Even though I hide them, the cat often rearranges them during the night. The dog is not allowed near the eggs or the baskets. Unlike my parents, I can guess what might happen.

After the hunt, and the obligatory basket sampling, we usually get dressed and walk down to IHOP for breakfast. That's it. Easter's over and done for the year.

What are some of your traditions?

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