“Easter is never deserved.” – Jan Karon
“There is a fragrance in the air, a certain passage of a song, an old photograph falling out from the pages of a book, the sound of somebody’s voice in the hall that makes your heart leap and fills your eyes with tears. Who can say when or how it will be that something easters up out of the dimness to remind us of a time before we were born and after we will die?” – Frederick Buechner
In the months after our mother’s death in 2011, my sister and I helped Dad go through Mom’s things.
We boxed up most of her clothes and donated them to Sanctuary Village Shoppe.
From a work standpoint, it was a fairly easy task. Until we got to the boxes and boxes of newspaper clippings and photographs she’d kept through the years.
Oh, she’d bought photo albums multiple times and had great plans to spend time one day placing the hundreds of photos in the albums.
That day never came for our mother.
And when we tried to tackle the job in her absence, it seemed just as overwhelming to us as it must have to our mother.
Just last year we spent some time separating the photos into some semblance of order and putting them into file boxes.
Having done that, let me just say there is something I like about digging through a huge box of photos, some in sepia tones, some in living color, some in black and white. Taken by all manner and age of pre-digital cameras, from Kodak Instamatics to Polaroids to 35mms.
It’s like a treasure trove for the eyes. And the heart. Each photo plucked from the pile prompts a memory or two from days long gone.
There’s the Criss family Easter series comprised of the annual pre- or post-church photo of my sister and me in our Easter frocks and shoes, posing in front of our azaleas –bright pink and red – and squinting into the sun.
Some years Mom, in a new Easter hat and gloves, was in the photo with Beth and me. My sister and I, in earlier photos, wore round tatted head covers made by our maternal grandmother bobby pinned to our heads because women covered their heads in the Episcopal church back in the day. Dad always took the picture.
There’s another favorite of my sister and me sitting side by side, cross-legged in the spring green grass outside All Saints Episcopal Church in Grenada.
Once again, it’s Easter, and we’ve both been dressed in our Sunday best. I was probably about 7 which would make Beth 3.
There are several things even a stranger might be able to tell from the photo.
We’ve just finished taking part in the annual egg hunt. Our baskets sit before us in the photo.
My basket runneth over; Beth’s contained only one or two colored eggs. She is reaching for my eggs and I am staring at this baby sister of mine with utter disdain.
Clearly, the Easter message of sacrifice had been lost on me then.
If we hunted eggs today, I’d happily put all my eggs in my sister’s basket.
Happy Easter, everybody.