Editor’s note: The following Cameo was originally published April 12, 2006.
Many years ago our minister stood in the pulpit of the First Baptist Church and looked out over the audience. In a quiet vote he said “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” It was April and in addition it was Easter Sunday. He went on to say that many folks paid an annual trip to church and that would be an Easter Sunday to show off their new Easter outfits. Therefore he knew he would not see them again for a year and so he gave a Christmas Greeting. Sad. The Christmas story of Jesus’ birth is such a sweet story, and the nativity scenes that depict His birth in a manger are so touching, but without the Easter story our plan of salvation is not complete. He was born, He lived, He died for our sins but He rose again and is now in heaven waiting for us to join Him there. This death on the cross for all our sins assures us a place in heaven if we trust Him as our Savior and turn our lives over to Him. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”
Sometimes I medicate on the two mothers that first Easter – Jesus’ mother and the mother of Judas Iscariot. What a contrast on how they must have felt. Both of their sons died on Good Friday, Jesus died for all our sins, past, present and future, and Judas died a suicide, hanging himself when he realized and confessed that he had betrayed innocent blood. The difference was that on Easter Sunday Jesus arose from the dead and later ascended into Heaven.
And so next Sunday, April 16, is Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday!! What memories I have of that holiday, so many Easter Sundays across the 57 years that I have lived in this house.
My mother went on home to be with Jesus just before Easter 1973. But other Easter Sundays are precious memories of happy days when children were small, and later when the grandsons were also small.
Cantatas and Egg Hunts
At our church each Easter there is an Easter Cantata. I sang in the choir from the time I was fourteen until my children were old enough to stay in the worship service and I sat with them.
The first few years when my children were young, I dyed eggs for the Easter Egg hunt. The next day we had saved a few of the boiled eggs but I was afraid for us to eat them. I was not sure if they were safe since the day had been hot. The next Easter I bought plastic eggs and put a little candy in each egg. Later as the children grew older I put a quarter or some dimes in each egg. It was a thrill to them to find an egg with money in it. These plastic eggs were saved to use the next year. I still have the eggs and decorate a basket with them each Easter season. I still have the baskets and the Easter Bunnies that I decorated with and the plastic eggs that I use to decorate for Easter now.
And then there was the traditional Easter dinner at Grandma’s house. I always planned what each child liked to eat. In the last few years my grandson, David, wrote me such a sweet letter and remembered that I always planned what they liked not necessarily what I liked. He said that God gave me a “Servant Heart.” That pleased me so much to think he had noticed that I always catered to the family’s wants and likes. I had watched my mother love people with her cooking and I tried to be like her and love my guests with good food.
Often the whole Agan family would be here for dinner. Almost every holiday and birthdays they came as well as many just weekend visits that included dinner at our house. (We didn’t call the noon meal lunch we called it dinner and still do.) Sometimes we had about twelve or fifteen and on at least one occasion we had 26. I had my wedding china, which was service for eight, but I had accumulated sixteen place settings of Lenox “Eternal.” Later I had started and kept adding place settings until I had about 26 place settings of which I called my “A & P dishes” because you could buy certain pieces each week with your regular grocery shopping. I remember on one occasion when we had a large number that Suzanne came to the door and asked if I wanted her to set the table with the “A & P dishes” and I was embarrassed. I told her I’d be along and we would decide. I used them when I did not want my “real” china to be broken.
I made an Easter Egg tree on the lawn one year and we enjoyed the pretty colors that resembled flowers. So many of our pictures, especially the movies, are Easter Egg hunts. Memories, memories of such happy days.
The kittens are no longer kittens but old cats that will be sixteen years old this september, but still their little feet make the only noise now that the children are grown and gone, and the grandchildren are gone, my daughter is librarian at Minden High School and my son teachers at BPCC.
Now I can no longer prepare a meal for the family, but if Suzanne is at home she will have our Easter dinner. I miss the work because I love to work and it was part of my pleasure to be able to prepare food that the family loved. It is hard not to be resentful that I cannot work as I formerly did, but God has a timetable for each of us and we must accept the changes that old age brings about. (Accepting does not necessarily mean liking it!!!)
Remember that the happy memories make old age less lonely. We can always think of the happy times when our spouse was living, and our parents were, too. So make happy memories now and store them in the quiet places in your heart. You’ll be glad you did.
I think I’ll get my son to bring out my plastic eggs and my baskets and get a start on my Easter decorations. Hope you have a happy Easter, too.
Juanita Agan submitted a weekly column to the Press-Herald for more than 15 years until her death in 2008. She was a resident of Minden since 1935. The Press-Herald is republishing select articles from Mrs. Agan’s Cameos column every Wednesday.