Jelly Beans, Easter Bonnets and Givin’ it up for Lent
Did you give up something for Lent? That used to be a big deal, didn’t it? I don’t think people do it so much, now. Oh, I’d like to say I gave up candy, ice cream, bacon and booze for Lent, but I give those up for Weight Watchers, so it’d be cheating.
Seems the older I get, the harder it is to come up with something to abstain from during Lent. It’s not that I’m so pure. It’s that I’m so boring. All the food stuff I can think of, I shouldn’t be eating anyway. And things like snapping at my husband, cursin’ and being so judgmental, well, I should be watchin’ out for those all year long. And givin’ up sex? Well, that’s a little extreme, don’t you think? Look, me and my husband are middle-aged. We gotta grab those opportunities when they arise, if you know what I’m saying!
When we were little, my sister Irene and me would give up candy, of course. But in our family there was a loop hole. Sundays during Lent didn’t count. So we’d save up our stash all week, then pig out on the Lord’s day.
I remember this one Lenten Sunday in particular. (This is back in the days where you couldn’t eat before mass if you wanted to receive communion.) Well, during mass, right after communion, I popped a Mary Jane candy into my mouth. Before the priest said, “Go forth in peace to love and serve the Lord,” that candy had popped a filling out of a back tooth. I just knew that God was punishing me, and that I deserved it.
As a kid, Easter was all about Easter bunnies and basket’s brimming with candy. Meaning, it was like every other Sunday during Lent, only more so. Oh, and there was baked ham involved, too.
Plus, Irene and me each got a new outfit. I’m talking soup to nuts: new dress, white patent leather shoes, socks and underwear. And a new Easter coat, white straw hat with matching pocketbook and white gloves. Let me tell you, I was beyond disappointed if it snowed Easter morning. See, I just loved getting all gussied up. Still do! And snow boots did not go with my outfit. Period!
I was going to wax all nostalgic about Easter bonnets, how it’s too bad folks don’t wear ‘em any more. Then I found this photo. That’s Irene and me with our mom and grandmother on either side. I’m the kid on the right. I remember, my coat was pink, Irene’s blue. That less than flattering chapeau on our mother’s teased hair was light pink, I believe. And Grammy looks like she could give the present day Queen Elizabeth a run for her. Mon Dieu!
Don’t I look proud of my outfit, with my little leg cocked, like a model? Or maybe I’m just on a sugar high from all the jelly beans, malted milk ball eggs and chocolate bunnies I’d been inhaling all morning! Looks like the photo might have been taken before mass, but I’m pretty sure this was pre-first communion, so fasting ‘til church wasn’t an issue.
This picture makes me smile, but it also makes me miss my mother and grandmother, and the little kids Irene and me once were. It makes me miss how simple life was; makes me want to protect all of us from the bumps I know lie in the road ahead. It’s a sweet moment, frozen in time, bad hats and all.
I hope you made it through Lent, and that your Easter, or Passover, or whatever was filled with family, food and fun. ‘Cause that, along with all the questionable fashions, is the stuff memories are made of.
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side! Listen to Ida's podcast.