Every Easter Sunday morning, my mother would trick us by insisting we ate our ‘boiled’ eggs before mass. She loved the fun of our discovery that the eggs were those white-on-the-outside and chocolate-on-the inside ones. You know those ones that leave your face slathered in white candy and chocolate and require serious face-washing afterwards, as well as jaw re-alignment.
I’m not sure whether we were just very dim-witted lasses that every year we fell for the same silly hoax, or whether we learned to play along and continued to battle to cut the extra tough ‘shell’ (fake-exclaiming when we found the choccy middle) or whether I have merely remembered the surprise and laughter of one precious moment.
You couldn’t do that now – where would you find such white eggs? I don’t think I have seen one that hue in years. My lot would never fall for it anyway, mainly because… well I’m just not that kind of perky mom who makes eggs in the morning, especially not now – we all dash off to church sans breakfast. (We’re generally not fast enough to ‘break the fast.’)
It wasn’t so when the children were little. They’d be up competing with the squawking pigeons (no musical larks in our neighbourhood) at first light. I passed on the tradition of the faux egg, but there was always someone crying because they ‘didn’t like eggs!’
We’d pile into Le Moto (our Toyota Condor back when it was shiny and before Liam etched his name on the door in response to an outraged Michael who was making him move because his ‘name was not on that seat’) and then we’d wait for Sean…. he was busy hiding the marshmallow eggs, for that wonderful promoter of competitive gluttony and accurate accounting – the Easter Egg Hunt – hopefully where the Labradors would not find them before we returned to hunt for them. I would feign impatience that he was taking so long, which the others bought hook, line and sinker because that was our usual morning routine: us in the car with Caitlin moaning that Michael was touching her, Michael retorting that, ‘Caitlin was breathing!’ Shannon would be kicking the seat in front of her and Liam was no doubt already dozing off; Sean was normally titivating in the bathroom (he had a problematic relationship with his hair in his early teens). On Easter Sunday though, when he finally climbed into the passenger seat and endured my exasperated scolding, it was with a knowing smirk at the gleam in my eyes. (He wouldn’t have dared do that on any other day of course!)
Turns out Sean still does treasure hunts – with clues now – for the beautiful Jordan. There has been much protesting here that they didn’t get clues when they were little. But that’s what being in love does: you become more creative. They all remember how despite some collecting way more than others, all eggs would be put in one place and shared out equally – otherwise Liam and Shannon would have had none! Shannon does recall finding an egg in ‘her’ tree in the July holiday once though and of course indulging secretly – the things that come out around the kitchen table!
It’s weird not to have gone to mass on Easter Sunday this year – first time ever for me except the Sunday after Michael was born and he was in the neonatal unit with meningitis – grounded by another micro-organism – the irony is not lost on me.
And It’s not the same to watch mass on video or live streaming. It makes one realise that the Eucharist is really so much about sharing and community worship. I miss my fellow parishioners and my elderly aunts in their Sunday best, who are always in their same pew. I miss my sister arriving with hot cross buns for breakfast – now those are better than sickly sweet eggs, I believe – toasted and liberally smeared with butter – the real thing, not trumped up (interesting word that when one thinks of a certain unstatesmanlike president) Butro or such substitutes.
But we have done our best: the lamb is done; yummy aromas emanating from the stove. Caitlin decorated the dining-room table beautifully with a white linen cloth, fairy lights and brown paper bunnies (complete with white tails) and cut-out crosses on the table. We had a joint call with Sean and Jordan in Gauteng, and Brigid (who showed off her beachfront view for us poor suburban dwellers). The others all seemed to be sleeping so we couldn’t do a whole-family call. But our table was missing more than just the late Granny Joyce; we were 7 young people and one sister down because of lockdown and distance.
Today is not about the church or dinner table being empty though – it is about The Tomb being empty; and eggs for new life – let us search for that from now on, with the Risen Lord – it is here in our home and we already have the clues.
Have a blessed Easter, everyone.