Commentary by Ward Degler
This was the 38th year we have done this. Easter at our home.
Head count this year was 58.
We’ve had more, but seldom, if ever, less. Family members of all ages, from infants to the solidly mature, show up.
And, everybody brings food. Lots of food. A ham, green bean casserole, corn bread, chili, multiple salads and desserts beyond number. I scour the countryside for the biggest turkey I can find, and grill it on my ancient Weber kettle. This year’s bird tipped the scales at 22 pounds. I also make a brown sugar sauerkraut that has become increasingly popular through the years.
Somebody always brings jelly beans, of course, and it wouldn’t be Easter without marshmallow Peeps. Pure sugar, but oh, so good.
Prayers first, in solemn thanksgiving for our lives, our health and our salvation. Then everybody digs in. I’ve never seen so much food disappear so fast except during bivouac in the Army. We’d been marching all day and were famished. Twenty minutes after mess call there wasn’t a crumb to be found. Yeah, Easter at our house is like that.
The highlight of the day is the egg hunt. Our kids have got it down to a science, and it goes like this: Our son and his wife bring bags of small toys – inexpensive gadgets and gizmos. Each toy is given a number, and each plastic Easter egg contains a slip of paper, also with a number. As the toddlers and tykes find the eggs strewn about the front yard, they redeem the slip of paper for a prize.
We’ve used the plastic eggs for many years. We started with real eggs, but it sometimes got messy. Plus, there was always at least one egg that didn’t get found until I hit it with the lawn mower a couple months later. After all these years, I still can’t find the word to describe that smell.
We do a lot of catching up with family, of course, and everyone has a story to tell. Someone brings a guitar, and there are songs to sing. There are marriages to celebrate, infants cradled in their mother’s arms, recent graduations, engagements and the launch of new careers.
As the day winds down, folks pack up and get in their cars for the return home. Everyone’s tired but happy, flooded with the awareness that this is the way Easter is supposed to be celebrated – with family, the ones we love the most.