As a child Easter was just a day that we spent with the family on the farm. My great aunt and uncle owned a farmette in northern Wisconsin unlike any other farmette I have seen before or since. After all don’t all country homes have a three hole golf course and a guest house that is larger than the farm house?
My great uncle was an eccentric person that traveled the world working for large corporations doing work that probably hurt more people than he helped. When he retired they bought the farmette in Wisconsin but somehow still claimed that they lived in Illinois. The old man is still living today and just had his 97 birthday, although I avoid him at all costs these days.
My Great Aunt Fran was the warmest person I had ever meet. She was inspirational in the way she lived and loved us. I assume that she was unable to have children of her own, but adopted two children whom by the time I came into the picture were rarely around.
My sister and I were the only children in a family with lots of childrenless adults. My mom was the only child out of 4 to produce offspring. My aunts and uncles spent a great deal of time turning my sister and I into cultured, well behaved children.
Easter always started with a drive up to the farm. My sister and I, although 3 years apart, dressed in matching outfits and ready to see our great aunt. Fran always had treats waiting for us and some activity that she knew we would love. She played the piano with us and taught us about music. Spending time with our Aunt Fran was a treat for us and rarely happened outside of our Easter visit to the farm.
The table would be set with the finest china and silver. I was taught at a young age how to properly set the table. My great grandmothers southern upbringing often influenced the way in which my family interacted. I think a part of my Grandmother always wanted to be a southern belle and tried desperately to instill those values into us. I don’t think it worked to her satisfaction.
I remember helping in the small kitchen of the original farmhouse where there was barely enough room for a few of us to work at a time. The room was small and sunny and smelled of wonderful baked goods and cooking ham. I remember the early spring plants sprouting from the ground and the grass newly green just starting to grow. The music playing and the chatter of adults talking about the latest news. Within those fours walls I learned to be a hostess, to talk about things other than religion or politics, to act like a lady, to golf, and that the only person who watches golf on TV and enjoys it would be my great uncle.
When I look back on our Easters I never understood there was a religious part of Easter. I always thought it was about eggs, bunnies, and wearing pastel colored dresses. I often wonder why my family celebrate religious holidays that they don’t necessarily believe in. My family found a way to come together for one day and rejoice in a meal that was a blessing on them. Jesus died for their sins as he died for mine and someday I pray that they will come to know him as I have and understand what Easter is truly about.