Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Two Easters

Gosh, I guess I wish I were more religious so Easter would mean more to me than chocolate bunnies and fun dinners with my family, but it doesn't.
On Friday, I was watching the local noon news and saw a segment on the annual passion play or whatever they call it, when a local hippy guy dresses like Jesus and carries his very own cross down a major downtown street while a bunch of thugs kick the crap out of him en route to his crucifixion.
A woman holding her 3-year-old daughter in the huge audience said, "I bring my little girl here so she can see Easter is more than Easter egg hunts and chocolate bunnies."
Call me a stuff-shirt, but I fail to see how a toddler witnessing a guy being brutalized for no apparent reason while her mommy and thousands of others watch gleefully without trying to rescue the guy, can have a positive effect on any toddler.
Did it actually happen?
Probably, but back then crucifixion was their version of lethal injection or the electric chair--Jesus was just one of many who pissed off the wrong prosecutors and politicians.
Call me a happy optimist, but I much prefer the yummy holiday dinner and chocolate bunny aspects of Easter.
My mom used to really throw herself into Easter.
My siblings and I all got great Easter baskets filled with huge chocolate bunnies, top-notch foiled chocolates and toys, and she'd make a fancy ham dinner and hide plastic Easter eggs containing quarters, dimes and nickels.
When I was really little, we had to go to Catholic Mass first and Mom would force me into a frilly dress, patent leather mary janes and a little saddle-like cap that would give me massive tension headaches.

Back then, mass was in Latin, so here's what I remember:

Priest: "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitor, sed diam nonumy eirmod..."
"Lorem e pluribus unim, foccacia dumdummm..."
"Sic semper tyrannis santo geico dingdong..."
"Spirituo santo, charlie mingus, ringading o tu eyore..."
(Repeat for 90 minutes)

My poor little vertebrae were pinched, bruised and cramped after all that get up, get down, stand up, sit down business. I just hated it, and having to look at gruesome statues of JC while it was going on didn't help.

By the time I was 10, my brother was going off to college and my sister was a hippie, so we stopped doing the mass thing and just skipped to the fun parts of Easter.
Mom passed away a few years ago, so this year I took the reins and put together spectacular Easter baskets for BigBro and his wife and BigSis and her partner My Sharona.
They regressed to childhood, making sure each basket weighed the same and contained the same amount (and quality) of stuff. When BigSis suspected that BigBro's basket contained one extra Lindt chocolate carrot covered in bright orange foil, she furiously started rifling through hers, looking for parity.
I thought about it on the hour and a half drive home.
If we're decent, honest people and lead lives in which we can feel pride (most of the time), why should we have to watch actors pretend to crucify another actor just because it's Easter?
Nah. Skip the Riz. Show me the bunny.


Lisa said...

Happy hurting bunny butt day! I think you did a good thing by treating your family!

Lulu Maude said...

Show me the bunny!

As Bach fanatics (I'm at least the spouse of one), we listened to the St. Matthew Passion. What an incredible human and divine drama, really. I take the death of Jesus seriously and know that the torture and killing of innocents goes on as I write this.

At work on Friday we found ourselves discussing the latest Christian comestible--chocolate crosses!

It's weird enough to rip into bunny ears, but an instrument of torture and death?

Totally bizarre.