Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Easter Noneday

I’ve described my dislike for Easter Sunday before.  It has always been the holiday that really drove home the self-pity aspect of being an only child.  Usually mom, but on occasion dad hid eggs for me (they were divorced and I usually spent weekends with mom, but once or twice dad was the organizer of Easter, and a couple times I think I even had two pathetic Easter egg hunts in one day); I was just this hopeful and solitary figure, looking for eggs and candy, and sometimes little vending machine toys – I was always trying to figure out “Am I lucky to have all this parental love and attention to myself?  Is this a fun activity?  Is this a scene that outsiders would consider pitiable?  Are the Cadbury Crème Eggs going to be stale (the ones from the 99 Cents Store were often stale to the point of tasting bad, if you can believe it).  What are my friends doing today?  Am I going to have to watch ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ later today?”

Anyway, Easter is the fucking pits.  Last Easter, I was lucky enough to be visiting my lovely grandma and my ailing, recently deceased grandpa in East Lansing, Michigan, while my son and husband spent a nice old-fashioned Easter with my in-laws.  I’m not being sarcastic -- it really did look like a nice old-fashioned Easter, from the pictures I saw later on.  My son looked amazed and amused carrying around a huge yellow basket, his great grandmother helping him with his payload of goodies.  Meanwhile, I was at a thrift store in Michigan that day, buying some of the coolest things I currently own, all for at least half off, because of an Easter Day 1/2 off sale.  

I like Christmas because it’s a birthday party, and December is a Christmas light-laden and usually crisp and clean-aired month where anything goes.  At work it’s usually like "Meh, let’s not do much until the new year.  Let's just eat cookies and fuck around." And a drive home is a surreal drive through streets where front yards boast huge inflatable penguins or santas and gold and silver garlands threaded through fences.

But what is Easter?  Some morbid celebration of Jesus rising from his grave, after being sacrificed in a cruel predestined plan orchestrated by his dad.

However, the other day when I was browsing at Cost Plus World Market and saw aisles of Easter decorations that reminded me of the charms of the holiday that I genuinely loved as a kid, I had a slight, consumerism-driven change of heart about the whole thing.  

Easter eggs made of sugar with little scenes inside, made of candy

Cardboard Easter egg-shaped boxes

And this children’s story, “The Country Bunny and the little Golden Shoes.”

This story is about a brown bunny, a single mother, being chosen as the Easter bunny responsible for making a treacherous journey to bring a sick and secluded child his sugar Easter egg. 

It’s somewhat of a scandal that the Master Easter Bunny, a white patriarch, chooses her, but he knows she is the best rabbit for the job, because of her evident common sense and dignity.  One reader review on Amazon wrote of this story:  "I first read this as a minority child growing up in a rural community. Now I am a professional in a large city. This book made a difference for me."

I felt something similar when I read this story, which was my most consistent Easter tradition, and of course my favorite one as well,as reading a book is an act intended to be solitary, not like an egg hunt or the accompanying celebration and nice clothes and big familial ham dinners.  

More than that though, more than the relief of escaping into fiction, this particular story, which my mom also loved, was a beautifully illustrated feminist anthem.  I didn’t have the vocabulary yet to express the gender pride and loner pride that was engendered in this book, of course, but, remembering its existence, I’m looking forward to buying it this year and reading it to my son, who I hope will never ever ever believe in Jesus.  Ever. Like, for realsies.

jesus christ superstar film still

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