Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hunting for Easter

I am very grateful this Easter.

My 83-year-old mom took a fall on Good Friday evening. We all got a good scare including her. But she’s a tough old matriarch who survived Nazi occupied Poland as the invasion rolled through her family farm when she was 11.

That’s probably why she refuses to move out of Detroit, even though her Westside neighborhood is pocked with drug deals and abandoned homes, amidst manicured lawns and tidy little bungalows.

Despite her fat lip, bruised hands, nose and eyes, mom managed to stir up some of her classic Polish dishes to celebrate Easter, and her quiet strength and unshaken faith made the day more special. You could see she was proud to have her family around her for support, yet she was courageous enough to pick herself up and keep going.

I’ve been enjoying this traditional meal for five decades and it helps define the holiday for me, due to the spiritual significance of the courses and their religious symbolism.

Easter has become an afterthought for so much of our society. Unlike Christmas that has morphed into consumption heaven, Easter remains a challenge for Madison Avenue. You can only sell so many chocolate bunnies, lilies and hams.

For the past several days, I’ve been searching Comcast’s cable menu for Biblical or spiritually related movies available on demand. The only one I found was “The Muppet’s Christmas Carole.” This was especially shameful when you consider that people are observing both Passover and Easter this weekend. There are some films available on pay-per-view, but it seems like we pay enough for cable to allow Comcast to program an appropriate lineup for Holy Week.

When TV was free, “King of Kings”, “The Ten Commandments” and “The Robe” were routine fare at this time of year. Now Easter Sunday is dominated by baseball, the Masters golf tournament and various NBA games.

When I was a kid, Easter was spent enjoying our new duds and making sure we didn’t get chocolate on them. Mom and dad got us new shoes every spring and those shoes and dress clothes had to last. We wore those dress shoes as part of our parochial school uniform. The represented hard-earned wages stretched to give us the best our parents could afford.

I always take the day off the Monday after Easter so I can get the most out of the holiday.  I love the time with family and a house full of relatives. Because that’s what this day is all about.


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