2018-04-11 / Editorials

Don Lively

CIRCA, EASTER

(Due to a technical glitch Don Lively's Easter column was not run in its entirety.
Here's the complete column.)

Easter.

The most confusing holiday to be included on the Gregorian calendar.

Before we get into this week's Southern scribblings we're going to have a little civics/history/literature lesson.

Hope you don't mind.

The purpose of the lesson is to answer an age-old question.

Why is Easter celebrated as early as late March some years and as late as the end of April in other years?

The simplest way to explain it is this: Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon that occurs on or after the vernal equinox, or the beginning of Spring.

Okay, maybe that's not so simple, but, that's the formula.

History has recorded two Easters that took place on March 22nd, in 1761 and in 1818. Those are the earliest Easters on record.

The latest recorded Easter happened on April 25th, 1943.

Easter has always played a large part in my personal history as well.

I was Mama's Spring baby and, therefore, her Easter baby.

Three times throughout my life my birthday has happened on Easter Day.

I turned two years old on Easter. Obviously, I don't remember it but, thankfully, I can read a bit about the day in Grandma Julia's diary. The family attended church, the very same one that I attend these days, and then had dinner and an Easter egg hunt at The Pond. Can two year olds hunt Easter eggs? I suspect I gave it my best shot.

I also turned 13 on Easter, a milestone birthday. The night before Easter Mama had rented the old Scout Hut and gave me my first real birthday party, with friends from school, not just siblings and cousins. It was the first time in my life that I ever danced with a girl. I'm sure I looked just as ungainly on the dance floor then as I do these days. The next morning we were, as always, at our little country church celebrating the Resurrection.

My 24th birthday was on Easter. I had moved permanently to Colorado a few weeks earlier and spent my first Easter Sunday Out West at a church that did not believe that Easter should be singled out as a "special" Sunday. They strongly believed that we should celebrate the Risen Savior every day, not just once a year. Frankly, I thought that it was a bit extreme to not celebrate Easter, but, to each their own. It was also the only birthday in my life that nobody sang Happy Birthday to me, unless you count Mama singing over the phone.

The first Easter after Y2K was a memorable one.

You remember Y2K, the event that some feared would bring the whole planet to a standstill since all of the world's computers were going to go haywire when 1999 rolled over to 2000. It didn't happen. I came home to Georgia from Denver for a visit a few weeks before Easter that year. Daddy and I talked about the non-event and how it had been so hyped up only to have almost no real impact. It was a great visit and I hadn't planned to be back in the South for a while.

Things don't always turn out as we plan.

We buried Daddy three days before Easter.

My children and I, along with my very supportive former wife, made the long drive across the heartland to be with the family and we stayed through Easter Sunday.

It was not the best Easter we ever had.

Still, most memories of Easters over the years are warm and wistful.

Many Easter Sundays began with a sunrise service around 7am followed by breakfast in the church fellowship hall. Then a few hours later the "real" Easter service began, the one where the church house was busting at the seams with regular attendees and with folks who come once or twice a year.

Preachers love Easter Sundays.

After the services our family always gathers for dinner. Ham, mashed potatoes, butter peas, macaroni and cheese, cornbread and sweet tea. After the meal there are egg hunts for the kids and another for the adult kids.

Easter in our family is very special.

The next time my birthday falls on Easter is when I will turn 86 years old.

I doubt I'll make the sunrise service that day but I'll be at the regular service at my beloved country church singing "Up from the grave He arose" at the top of my lungs.

Hope to see y'all there.

Happy Easter, friends and kin.

Don Lively is a freelance writer and author of two books of Southern Humor, Howlin' At The Dixie Moon, and, South O' Yonder. He lives in Shell Bluff. Email Don at Livelycolo@aol.com.

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