Easter at grandma's was a two day adventure. The day before Easter Sunday started bright and early; boiling eggs, dying the eggs, creating our Easter baskets and picking out our Sunday best dress. Not to go to church, but to go to grandma's house for Easter dinner.
During my childhood we were only allowed to wear our Sunday best on three days out of the year; our birthdays, Christmas, and Easter.
Grandma lived in the country, a place where time had forgotten. Her and grandpa lived in a three room house that was accessed by driving through the woods then opened up to their 13 acre farm. She cooked on a wood burning stove, water came from the cistern that was in the middle of the kitchen floor. Her "faucet" was an old fashioned hand pump mounted on a wooden countertop. They had electricity, but no phone and yep, an outhouse.
To me, it was paradise. I didn't like living in the city and so I was always excited to go to Grandma's but Easter was extra special.
Late in the afternoon, the day before Easter Sunday, mother would pack all four of us kids into her '56 Chevy and off to grandma's we would go.
Our mission; to prepare for the Easter Bunny to visit. Each of us dug a shallow hole in the ground behind grandma's house, lined it with straw and chicken feathers, placed three colored eggs in it, then covered the hole with a flat stone. Then back to the city we went.
I couldn't sleep at all that night wondering what the Easter Bunny would leave in my nest. I was always the first one up on Easter Sunday, waking the entire household to get up, get ready, and go to Grandma's house for Easter!
Walking up to her wooden front porch, I could smell grandma's cooking coming through the screen door; fried chicken, potato salad, and cake. She astounded me how she cooked and baked using a wood burning stove. Everything always tasted so much better when grandma fixed it.
Before dressing in our Sunday best for Easter dinner, we waited as patient as a child could for the adults to "catch up" and do a bit of gossiping, then Mother would smile and that's when we knew it was time to see what the Easter Bunny had left.
We grabbed the baskets we created the day before, jumped off the porch and ran to the back of house. We were always surprised to see the stone had been rolled away, the eggs were gone and treats were left behind for us to enjoy.
So you see even though we never went to Easter service at a church, we didn't know it at the time, but we were being taught the true meaning of Easter, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Jesus' body was placed in a borrowed tomb, the shallow hole we dug. He was wrapped in a cloth, the eggs we place in our nest represented the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. A stone closed the tomb, the flat rock we put on top, and the stone was rolled away, just like our flat rocks had been moved to show our gifts. Jesus gave us the greatest gift of all; everlasting life to those who truly believe in Him.
Later in life I asked my mother, how long had her family been celebrating Easter this way and reply was simple, "Since as far back as I can remember."
Now at 59, I wish I had children and grandchildren to share this "not-your-average" Easter Sunday tradition with, but maybe just maybe someone who's reading this blog post will carry it on and let their children experience the true meaning of Easter.
God bless each and every one of you. Have a happy sunny day!