An Easter Tale

An Easter Tale

A Story by Spectral Dust

An Easter Tribute


"I found a nest!"

"I found a basket!"

"I got a Yo yo!"

"I got a model plane!"

Who's doing all the exclaiming? Why, that's my brother and me finding Easter treasures! The day before, our parents craftily hid candy and toys about the house for us to find.


What fun!


After a quick bowl of cereal we would start hunting like two hungry cheetahs in pajamas. Hidden about the house were imitation bird's nests made of fake grass, filled with chocolate eggs of the delectable kind, wrapped in colorful foil. But the mother lode was the wicker basket overflowing with toys, candy, and hard boiled eggs we'd decorated for the occasion. It was agreed, that if one of us kids found both baskets the hiding place would not be revealed, so as to not ruin the fun for brother;  I'm fairly certain that's a rule from the bible. Maybe not. Anyway, after about an hour we'd be sitting on the floor like candy psychopaths, surrounded by ten pounds of teeth-rotting joy and dime store toys.

But we couldn't play or eat candy just yet, for our Roman Catholic family had to attend mass. When I was young, people actually dressed up for church; nowadays it's common to see parishioners in jeans with holes. So we dressed in our finest duds and polished shoes, and off we went, to Saint Raphael's, in Crystal, Minnesota. It's difficult to recall my thoughts about church from my childhood. But one memory that stands out is the solemn atmosphere of that holy sanctuary. Seeing that bloodied man hanging on that big cross was a clear message, this was not the place for hijinks. And look at those dramatic bas reliefs hanging on the wall with scenes from Christ's passion. Clearly, saving humanity from sin is serious business! The sun shining through the beautiful stained glass windows helped mitigate the austere mood that permeated the place. On Easter morning the news was good:


I did not quite understand what that meant, or why that should be important to me, and I'll be honest, I still don't. Still, I knew that somehow, someway, that empty tomb was important and worthy of celebration. How amazing! that god could cause a body to disappear from a tomb! God can do anything! I was told that Jesus had died for my sins, and that's why I could be forgiven for my mistakes. That's a lesson I have never forgotten, even if the details of the story seem less convincing now that I am a "learned" adult. Me and my brother would start to fidget half way through the mass we did not understand, until, after a million years, it was time for communion, the ritualistic eating of the flesh and blood of Christ. Before the age of thirteen me and my brother could not partake of this holy ceremony. We first had to be catechized in the faith and confess our sins to a priest; then--and only then--could we partake of the Eucharistic meal. I never questioned the symbolic eating of flesh and drinking of blood. The ritual was performed with such reverence, such solemnity, that to doubt its efficacy to unite one with Christ and heal the soul was inconceivable. One by one, the celebrants would file before the priest and accept the wafer of unleavened bread (the body) and the wine (the blood) and they would be consumed on the trip back to the pew. Communion was the liturgical hump that signified pending freedom. Soon we would be home stuffing our mouths with belly-bursting candy and playing with our new toys.

"May the Lord be with you"

"And with you."

"Go in peace"


Back home, Mom would start cooking the big Easter dinner. Grandma and perhaps Aunt Shirley, too, would be visiting, hopefully with more candy and toys. Sadly, we knew in advance what Aunt Shirley would bring for us kids: A pencil holder. You heard me right, a pencil holder. We never were able to grasp how anyone could work such a silly item into every holiday tradition, but she did. We finally decided she must have hit a big sale on pencil holders and thought having a safe place for pencils was far more enjoyable to a kid than candy or toys. Many years later I had to attend aversion therapy to overcome my addiction to pencil holders. No, I'm kidding; but you might agree, that is kinda weird.

We would eat our candy, me and my bro, while our parents constantly admonished us, "Don't stuff yourself with candy! You'll ruin dinner."

"Okay, Mom, we won't." Then we would sneak off like two ravenous pigs and gorge ourselves with candy and hard-boiled eggs. We always found perverse pleasure in biting the ears off the largest chocolate bunny, and then showing mom:

Bite--Crunch, crunch, crunch.

"Mom, Look!"

"Oh, that's horrible!"

"Why? it's not a real rabbit, Mom!"

The toys were a blast; most had a built-in adult agitator. One comes to mind: The Paddle Ball. Now for those of you who are not familiar, that's a hand-held paddle with a rubber ball attached with a long rubber band. You hit the ball and it flies outward and then returns, and you are supposed to keep hitting it, again, and again...and again. We'd all take turns to see how many things we could almost break around the house with that rubber ball. And if you weren't careful, that round rubber bullet would come back and smack you right in the mouth, or some other sensitive area. Every time the ball hit the paddle there would be a sharp sounding "thunk!"


"Let me try!"



"Mom, he won't let me try."

"Gary, let your brother try."


"No, it's my turn."

"Careful, you're going to break the lamp!"


"Ouch! it hit me in the face!"

"Ah haaaaa!"

Then company would come, the dog would bark, and we boys would instantly turn into two little rag dolls made for squeezing and kissing.

"Grandma! thanks for the candy!"

"Aunt Shirley! thanks for the pencil holder!"

Then came dinner time: "We thank you, God, for this food, and the many blessings you give. We praise you in Jesus name. Amen."

Look at all that tasty food! Turkey and dressing, cranberries, sweet buns, mashed potatoes with gravy, vegetables, and for desert, some delicious homemade pie. Fifteen minutes later we would all be groaning, "Oh, I'm so full!"

At this point, I would like to relate a bizarre, but short-lived Easter tradition that you might find amusing. Every year my father would try to perform an amazing trick for all to see. He would take one of our decorated Easter eggs, and then poke a tiny hole at each end. Then he would announce with a great deal of confidence that he could blow in one end, and force that hard-boiled chicken out the other, without so much as a crack in that shell! Is dad for real? Then he blew, and blew, and blew...and blew, until he was blue in the face, but that egg never so much as peeked out that hole. After a few years, that tradition was replaced by a new one: "Hey dad, are you going to blow the egg this year? Hahaha!"

After dinner we'd play a game or two, whatever happened to be popular at the time. We would laugh, scream, get angry, and accuse our way through every game. If it's one thing I can say with confidence about our family, it's that we are competitive. We hate losing, and when we win, we love to rub it in the loser's face to remind them of our intellectual and/or physical superiority.

As evening came up, there would be adult talk mixed with injections aimed at us kids:

"The boys are growing so fast!" (Oh, please!)

"Don't forget to practice that piano, Jerry!" (barf!)

"It won't be long and you'll get married and have kids of your own." (I hate girls!)

The sun would go down, things would grow calm, and then it was time for company to leave. We would hug each other goodbye and promise to see each other again, soon.

Whew! what a day!

It would be late by then, and so it was bedtime for us kids.

"Thanks, Mom!"

"Thanks, Dad!"

"We love you."


Kiss. Kiss.

It's been a long time since those days, but those memories have never left me. They are like colorful postcards from the past that remind me of how lucky I was to have parents that loved me enough to create those happy moments. It's a pain for me to think that there are children in the world that never experience the joy that comes from that magic, born of faith and love.

In Roman Catholicism there is a creed known as the Apostle's Creed. That ancient doctrine states that Christ was crucified, died and buried. That he descended to the dead, and, on the third day he rose again. Then he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

Is that true?


I can't say with complete certainty whether god did or did not raise Christ from the grave that first Easter morning--I doubt anyone can do such a thing. All I know is, that for me and my brother, Easter was about fun, love, and praising god. And if that's the Easter message, then I'm a believer, with no doubts, whatsoever.


© 2012 Spectral Dust

Author's Note

Spectral Dust
It's getting close to Easter, so I thought it might garner a read or two.

Photo is public domain, by sookietex

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Added on February 29, 2012
Last Updated on March 9, 2012
Tags: Easter, Christian, religious